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Personality Disorder: Charles Manson Research Paper

Charles Manson is an infamous serial killer that was born in the State of Ohio in 1934. He is mostly known for his brutal assault of Sharon Tate, but the major problem with this personality lies in the fact that he was never found guilty of his killings. Nonetheless, the majority of American society that is acquainted with Manson’s dealings believes that he is the personification of pure evil (Forbes, 2016). Charles Manson and his followers (also known as the Manson Family) had committed more than 30 homicides together.

It is interesting, however, that they were merely tried in court due to the absence of adequate evidence or their existing life sentence. Charles Manson applied for parole twelve times, and he was denied parole at all times he attempted it (Guinn, 2014). This happened because he was perceived by forensic specialists as an unstable personality that is highly influenced by rejection and a developing psychic trauma. Manson believed that he deserved love and was keen on reaching some kind of status in society (Kessler et al., 2012). Several law enforcement agents described him as a person that has to be under interrupted surveillance due to Manson’s major unpredictability.

Throughout the history of his wrongdoings, Manson was accused of pimping, smuggling cash checks, and numerous other crimes that were various in their nature and cause. While he was in prison, Manson learned to play guitar and developed his artistic talents (Prehn et al., 2012). The most interesting part about Manson was that he believed in Armageddon and perceived himself as the new Messiah who would be saved (together with his supporters) from a nuclear attack. Manson’s visions developed the idea of the victory of blacks in the race war, and he believed that together with his followers he would guide the black community toward successful worldwide domination.

Numerous sources claim that Manson suffered from an antisocial personality disorder (Raine, 2014). This particular psychic ailment can be described by means of other personality disorders as well. On a bigger scale, according to Fox and Levin (2015), and antisocial personality disorder can be outlined as personal distress that is caused by painful personal experience. The latter ultimately translates into a certain type of behavior that relies on the expectations of the individual suffering from this disorder (Shi, Bureau, Easterbrooks, Zhao, & Lyons-Ruth, 2012).

The early signs of antisocial personality disorder can transpire during teenage years or early adulthood. The key characteristic of this disorder is disregarding the rights and freedoms of others and their recurrent violation (Shanafelt & Pino, 2015). Commonly, the individuals that are under 18 are not diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder unless there were certain warning signs that developed before the age of 15. Evidently, the severity of antisocial personality disorder can also vary based on the symptoms that are discovered in the individual (Sundram et al., 2012).

Psychopaths and sociopaths are usually described as dangerous and harmful owing to their vicious behavioral patterns. There is a very thin line between these two concepts. Sociopaths are usually seen as individuals with malfunctioning morality while psychopaths do not have the latter at all (Venables, Hall, & Patrick, 2013). The problems that are usually associated with this personality disorder are alcoholism and drug abuse. As can be seen from Manson and other serial killers’ examples, it can also end with subsequent imprisonment.


Forbes, R. (2016). Criminal psychology: Understanding the criminal mind and its nature through criminal profiling. New York, NY: Kimmers Publishing.

Fox, J. A., & Levin, J. (2015). Extreme killing: Understanding serial and mass murder. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Guinn, J. (2014). Manson: The life and times of Charles Manson. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Kessler, F. H., Terra, M. B., Faller, S., Stolf, A. R., Peuker, A. C., Benzano, D., & Pechansky, F. (2012). Crack users show high rates of antisocial personality disorder, engagement in illegal activities and other psychosocial problems. The American Journal on Addictions, 21(4), 370-380. doi:10.1111/j.1521-0391.2012.00245.x.

Prehn, K., Schulze, L., Rossmann, S., Berger, C., Vohs, K., Fleischer, M.,… Herpertz, S. C. (2012). Effects of emotional stimuli on working memory processes in male criminal offenders with borderline and antisocial personality disorder. The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 14(1), 71-78. doi:10.3109/15622975.2011.584906.

Raine, A. (2014). Anatomy of violence – the biological roots of crime. London, UK: Penguin Books.

Shanafelt, R., & Pino, N. (2015). Rethinking serial murder, spree killing and atrocities: Beyond the usual distinctions. London, UK: Routledge.

Shi, Z., Bureau, J., Easterbrooks, M. A., Zhao, X., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2012). Childhood maltreatment and prospectively observed quality of early care as predictors of antisocial personality disorder features. Infant Mental Health Journal, 33(1), 55-69. doi:10.1002/imhj.20295.

Sundram, F., Deeley, Q., Sarkar, S., Daly, E., Latham, R., Craig, M.,… Murphy, D. G. (2012). White matter microstructural abnormalities in the frontal lobe of adults with antisocial personality disorder. Cortex, 48(2), 216-229. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2011.06.005.

Venables, N. C., Hall, J. R., & Patrick, C. J. (2013). Differentiating psychopathy from antisocial personality disorder: A triarchic model perspective. Psychological Medicine, 44(05), 1005-1013. doi:10.1017/s003329171300161x.

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