Case Analysis 1
Week 3 Movie - Case Analysis
Heat is an action movie made in 1995, written and directed by Michael Mann. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer are the stars of the movie. In the movie, Robert De Niro plays in the role of Neil McCauley, age of around 50, who is an experienced bank robber. He organizes a criminal crew and manages them through a bank robbery in the downtown. Neil McCauley is a criminal who had many criminal activities in past. Because he is getting old for crime business, he decided to do one more robbery as a last one and he plans to run different country to retire after this criminal operation. In his last shot, he plans to steal great amount of money from a bank in downtown and he gather some other criminals for this purpose. In the movie, he finds old friends and motivates them into crime, organizes to find guns, rifles, bombs, masks, and through out the movie he doesnt hesitate to kill people, damage properties, leave their friends and run away. End of the movie he got killed by the detective (Al Pacino). He gives up his life to achieve his purpose. Some links provided in attachment to get more information about the movie and important scenes at the end of this paper.
Some criminals diagnosed by Antisocial Personality Disorder. In the movie, some degree, Neil McCauley can be categorized with this disorder. He is superficial, arrogant, he seems to lack any social conscience. He has little worries about negative outcomes, and does not think what he can cause to himself and others.
Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) used to call psychopath in past. Some of characteristics of McCauley suitable to Hervey Cleckleys description of psychopaths. In 1976, Hervey Cleckley popularized and standardized the term psychopath to describe a person who lacks all conscience. A key characteristic of psychopath, said Cleckley, is an inability to feel normal emotion. Psychopaths are incapable not only of remorse but also of fear of punishment and of shame, guilt, and empathy for the misery they cause others. Because they lack emotional connections to others, they often behave cruelly and irresponsible usually more for the thrill than for personal gain. (Carole, & Tavris, 2008, pg. 385)
If caught in a lie or a crime, psychopaths may seem sincerely sorry and promise to make amends, but it is all an act. They can be utterly charming, but they use their charm to manipulate deceive others. Some psychopaths are violent an sadistic, able kill a pet, a child or a random adult without a twinge of regret, but others direct their energies into con games or career advancement, abusing other people emotionally or economically rather than physically. (Carole, & Tavris, 2008, pg. 385)
Mercier (11) sets forth the theory that crime is the product of two factors, opportunity and temperament, proclivity and temptation, heredity and stress, the inner and the outer aspects of conduct, the environmental factor and the inherent. Every person is a potential criminal; every person has his possible breaking point; the more powerful the one factor is, the less of the other is necessary to reach this point of yielding to crime. The difference between a criminal and a law-abiding man is not one of absolute qualities, but a difference in combinations of degrees of similar qualities. (Kellogg, A. L., 1920).
In the 1990s, the clinicians who were revising the DSM decided to replace the term psychopathy with antisocial personality disorder (APD), which applies to people who show a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of their rights of others. People with APD repeatedly break the law they impulsive and seek quick thrills, they show reckless disregard for their own safety or that of others they often get into psychics fight of assault other sand they are irresponsible to hold jobs or meet abolitions. (Carole, & Tavris, 2008, pg. 386)
Some researches suggest that APDs causes from a disorder in central nervous system. To prove, they state Normally, when a person is anticipating danger, pain, or punishment, the electrical conductance of the skin changes, a classically conditioned response that indicates anxiety or fear. But psychopaths are slow to develop such responses, which suggests that they are unable to feel the anxiety necessary for learning that their actions will have unpleasant consequences. The lack of empathy for other who is suffering also seems to have a physiological basis. When psychopaths are shown pictures of people crying and distress, their skin conductance barely shifts, in contrast to that of non-psychopaths, which shoots up. (Carole, & Tavris, 2008, pg. 387)
Freuds theory may describe and threat APD. I choose Freuds theory because I believe Antisocial Personality Disorder is a very difficult mental disorder which other therapies such as REBT, Adlerian, or Behavioral therapies may not be capable to deal with it. Because, APD people tend to role-play as a good person or becoming better in front of officers and therapists. However, their hidden purpose is continuing to crime and violation. Freudian theory goes deep to root of the problem and seek for what may have cause the problem rather than trying to change APD person cognitive structure. Unconscious factors plays big role in this case. Criminals without conscience, guilt, shame, fear clearly live according to their ID side. With transference, the APD person may realize his or her behaviors or thinking patterns roots.
According to Sigmund Freud, criminals suffer from enormous guilt, and perform criminal acts in order to get punished, which will temporarily relieve them of their guilt feelings. Freud thought criminal behavior is representative of an ID that operates unchecked by the ego and the super-ego. The conflicts are generally among sexual and hostile-aggressive wishes, guilt and shame, and reality factors. The conflicts may be conscious or unconscious, but create anxiety, depressive affect, and anger. When individuals are prevented from achieving their goals (prosperity, success, education) through legitimate paths, they turn to illegal methods of reaching these goals. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Enstitude, 2008)
The ego orients the individual toward the external world and serves as a mediator between ones external and internal worlds. The id represents the toranzation of the instinctual pressures on the mind, basically sexual and aggressive impulses. The superego is a split-off portion of the ego, a residue of the arly history of the individuals moral training and a precipitate of the most important childhood identifications and ideal aspirations. (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, pg. 26).
Some studies suggest that APD people have some genes to cause this disorder. However other studies suggest that childhood experiences plays role in criminal behaviors in later in life. In a longitudinal of boys had been physically abused in childhood, those who had a deficiency in a crucial gene later had more arrests for violent crimes than did abused boys who had a normal gene. Although only 12 percent of the abused boys had this genetic deficiency, they accounted for nearly half of all later convicitons for vilent crimes. However, boys who had the deficient gene but who were not maltreated did not grow up to be violent. (Carole, & Tavris, 2008, pg. 387). A third characteristic shared by psychoanalytical oriented clinicians is a belief that childhood experiences influence personality development, current relationships, and emotional vulnerabilities. (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, pg. 21). APD people traumatic events can be pulled from unconscious and they may see their unconscious wishes.
If Freud would examine an APD case, he would probably say something like this: The id, ego, and superego determine our behaviors. People with Antisocial Personality Disorders are in stuck with anal stages. They are lock of ability to control their behavior. They are driven by ID. They have little or no superego function. Their ego cannot repress ID demands to unconcious. ID driven people cannot control their impulses. When they act according to ID demands, they have no conscience because they want to get whatever they want in all cost. In McCauley case, he does not even care breaking laws, people he hurts or kills, damage to properties and even their crew members life.
However as we know ID seeks pleasure and avoid pain, APD people seems do not care the consequences of pain. This may contradict with Freud theory.
Overall, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic approach is only way to treat these kind of patients. Their defense mechanism such as repression, projection, denial, avoidance seems do not work properly to send ID instinctual desires to unconscious or outside objects. Dream interpretation, transference, and somehow Jungian style of therapy may help APD people. They may eliminate negative factors in childhood and make patients be aware of their behaviors roots and control their ID impulses consciously. Therapy may also be useful to develop superego function to work more effectively in APD person.
Carole, W., Tavris, C. (2008). Invitation to Psychology (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Corsini, R. J., Wedding, D., (2011). Current Psychotherapies (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cangage Learning.
Kellogg, A. L. (1920). Crime and Social Psychology. Psychological Bulletin. 17.3 (Mar 1920): 103-106.
Unkown author, Rensselaer Polytechnic Enstitude. (2008). Retrieved from http://homepages.rpi.edu/~verwyc/lawchap5.htm)
More information about movie can be read at
Some of scenes can be watched at
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