ArticleLiterature Review

Some Thoughts on the Neurobiology of Stalking

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Abstract

The authors examine the crime of stalking, including the cognitive traits, emotional reactions, attachment pathology, violence patterns and sex differences of samples of stalking offenders. They focus on two common types of stalkers: 1) those who sustain pursuit of a former sexual intimate who has rejected them; and 2) those who pursue a stranger or acquaintance who has failed to return the stalker's romantic overtures. The authors discuss data from neuroimaging (fMRI) studies of romantic love which suggest that these forms of stalking may be associated with heightened activity of subcortical dopaminergic pathways of the "Reward System" of the brain, perhaps in combination with low activity of central serotonin. The authors propose that this set of neural correlates may contribute to the stalker's focused attention, increased energy, following behaviors, obsessive thinking about and impulsivity directed toward the victim. To further explore the neural systems associated with stalking behavior, they also discuss several biopsychological phenomena associated with romantic rejection, including the "protest response," "frustration attraction," "abandonment rage" and "mate guarding." They illustrate the parallels between stalking and addiction. They conclude that stalking may be associated with a specific set of biological components and they offer suggestions for further research into this pathological emotional/motivational state.

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... Stalking or tracking a person's movements or location (Meloy and Fisher 2005) Blocking an exit through physical presence or threat of violence (LaViolette and Armstrong et al. 2006) Isolation of individual or group away from friends or acquaintances (Humphrey and Kahn 2000;LaViolette and Barnett 2000;Armstrong et al. 2006) Embarrassing an individual (or group) or an attack on his/ her self-esteem through disparaging remarks (Armstrong et al. 2006). Insulting or objectifying an individual or group (LaViolette and Armstrong et al. 2006) Emphasis of power and control themes, reduction of individual or group choices, and infantilizing behavior (LaViolette and Teranishi-Martinez 2014) Grooming behaviors may also be seen in the social settings created by high-risk fraternities as documented in a study by Boswell and Spade (1996). ...
... Stalking behaviors typically fall into an upward trajectory from initial, exploratory behaviors to more intensive and invasive techniques, including hyperintimacy, proximity/ surveillance, invasion, proxy pursuit, intimidation and harassment, coercion, and constraint and aggression (Meloy and Fisher 2005). Following a target to her classes may initially be enough for the frustrated ex-boyfriend, but as his obsession deepens, he may purchase a magnetics GPS device to attach to her car in order to follow her more closely. ...
... An example would be a student who remains obsessive with someone he had dated in the past or recently met at a party despite clear messages from the woman that she does not want the attention or pursuit. Meloy and Fisher (2005) write, ''An addiction model may also shed light on the neurobiology of stalking. This is hypothesized because normal men and women who are in love show all of the basic symptoms of addiction, including tolerance, dependency/craving, withdrawal and relapse . . ...
Article
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Institutions of higher education have an opportunity through prevention programs, education, and early intervention to reduce the occurrence of sexual violence within their student population. This article outlines grooming and targeting behaviors used in sexual predation in an effort to better inform those working in student conduct, the student affairs department, law enforcement, prevention education, and counseling/health services.
... Prior to this endeavor, we discuss the traditional mechanisms thought to underpin the association between LRHR and antisocial behavior, including fearlessness theory and stimulation-seeking theory. We also consider the work of Meloy and Fisher (2005) on the neurobiology of stalking as it pertains to the potential link between heart rate and stalking behaviors. After a discussion of the biological processes and traits that may account for the influence of heart rate on stalking, we offer an initial assessment of the relationship between LRHR and stalking behavior. ...
... Elevated dopamine activity can lead to increased energy, focused attention, and goaloriented behaviors (Wise & Rompré, 1989). Meloy and Fisher (2005) further suggest that stalkers may experience a negative feedback loop whereby an increase in dopamine activity serves to suppress serotonin activity (Meston & Frohlich, 2000). Low levels of serotonin have been linked to impulsivity and obsessive-compulsive disorder (Hollander et al., 1988;Marazziti, Akiskal, Rossi, & Cassano, 1999), which may further explain the stalker's obsessive thinking about and/or following of the victim. ...
... Low levels of serotonin have been linked to impulsivity and obsessive-compulsive disorder (Hollander et al., 1988;Marazziti, Akiskal, Rossi, & Cassano, 1999), which may further explain the stalker's obsessive thinking about and/or following of the victim. Meloy and Fisher's (2005) discussion of the neurobiology of stalking provides an additional theoretical framework to assess whether LRHR is associated with stalking perpetration. It is possible that individuals with low arousal levels will be less fearful and seek out stimulation through stalking, which would then activate the dopaminergic reward system resulting in greater feelings of arousal. ...
Article
There is consistent evidence to suggest that individuals with low resting heart rate are more likely to engage in a variety of antisocial behaviors. The present study examines whether this finding can be extended to stalking perpetration. Drawing from fearlessness theory and stimulation-seeking theory, as well as conceptual work of Meloy and Fisher, we find that individuals with low resting heart rates had significantly greater odds of engaging in stalking behavior, net of controls for sex, age, race, self-control, parental affection, delinquent peers, attitudes/beliefs toward crime, and aggression. When disaggregated by sex, the heart rate–stalking relationship was found to be significant for males, but not for females. The implications of these findings are discussed from a biosocial perspective.
... Men and women in the early stage of intense passionate romantic love express many of the basic traits associated with all addiction (Tennov, 1979;Liebowitz, 1983;Hatfield and Sprecher, 1986;Harris, 1995;Lewis et al., 2000;Meloy and Fisher, 2005;American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Like all addicts, they focus on their beloved (salience); and they yearn for the beloved (craving). ...
... If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lover experiences the common signs of drug withdrawal, too, including protest, crying spells, lethargy, anxiety, insomnia, or hypersomnia, loss of appetite or binge eating, irritability and chronic loneliness. Like most addicts, rejected lovers also often go to extremes, even sometimes doing degrading or physically dangerous things to win back the beloved (Meloy, 1998;Lewis et al., 2000;Meloy and Fisher, 2005). Romantic partners are willing to sacrifice, even die for the other. ...
... Most characteristic, the lover thinks obsessively about the beloved (intrusive thinking). Besotted lovers may also compulsively follow, incessantly call, write or unexpectedly appear, all in an effort to be with their beloved day and night (Tennov, 1979;Lewis et al., 2000;Meloy and Fisher, 2005). Paramount to this experience is intense motivation to win him or her. ...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals in the early stage of intense romantic love show many symptoms of substance and non-substance or behavioral addictions, including euphoria, craving, tolerance, emotional and physical dependence, withdrawal and relapse. We have proposed that romantic love is a natural (and often positive) addiction that evolved from mammalian antecedents by four million years ago as a survival mechanism to encourage hominin pair-bonding and reproduction, seen cross-culturally today in Homo sapiens. Brain scanning studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) support this view: feelings of intense romantic love engage regions of the brain’s “reward system,” specifically dopamine-rich regions, including the ventral tegmental area, also activated during drug and/or behavioral addiction. Thus, because the experience of romantic love shares reward pathways with a range of substance and behavioral addictions, it may influence the drug and/or behavioral addiction response. Indeed, a study of overnight abstinent smokers has shown that feelings of intense romantic love attenuate brain activity associated with cigarette cue-reactivity. Could socially rewarding experiences be therapeutic for drug and/or behavioral addictions? We suggest that “self expanding” experiences like romance and expanding one’s knowledge, experience and self-perception, may also affect drug and/or behavioral addiction behaviors. Further, because feelings of romantic love can progress into feelings of calm attachment, and because attachment engages more plastic forebrain regions, there is a rationale for therapies that may help substance and/or behavioral addiction by promoting activation of these forebrain systems through long-term, calm, positive attachments to others, including group therapies. Addiction is considered a negative (harmful) disorder that appears in a population subset; while romantic love is often a positive (as well as negative) state experienced by almost all humans. Thus, researchers have not categorized romantic love as a chemical or behavioral addiction. But by embracing data on romantic love, it’s classification as an evolved, natural, often positive but also powerfully negative addiction, and its neural similarity to many substance and non-substance addictive states, clinicians may develop more effective therapeutic approaches to alleviate a range of the addictions, including heartbreak--an almost universal human experience that can trigger stalking, clinical depression, suicide, homicide and other crimes of passion.
... Stalking or tracking a person's movements or location (Meloy and Fisher 2005) Blocking an exit through physical presence or threat of violence (LaViolette and Armstrong et al. 2006) Isolation of individual or group away from friends or acquaintances (Humphrey and Kahn 2000;LaViolette and Barnett 2000;Armstrong et al. 2006) Embarrassing an individual (or group) or an attack on his/ her self-esteem through disparaging remarks (Armstrong et al. 2006). Insulting or objectifying an individual or group (LaViolette and Armstrong et al. 2006) Emphasis of power and control themes, reduction of individual or group choices, and infantilizing behavior (LaViolette and Teranishi-Martinez 2014) Grooming behaviors may also be seen in the social settings created by high-risk fraternities as documented in a study by Boswell and Spade (1996). ...
... Stalking behaviors typically fall into an upward trajectory from initial, exploratory behaviors to more intensive and invasive techniques, including hyperintimacy, proximity/ surveillance, invasion, proxy pursuit, intimidation and harassment, coercion, and constraint and aggression (Meloy and Fisher 2005). Following a target to her classes may initially be enough for the frustrated ex-boyfriend, but as his obsession deepens, he may purchase a magnetics GPS device to attach to her car in order to follow her more closely. ...
... An example would be a student who remains obsessive with someone he had dated in the past or recently met at a party despite clear messages from the woman that she does not want the attention or pursuit. Meloy and Fisher (2005) write, ''An addiction model may also shed light on the neurobiology of stalking. This is hypothesized because normal men and women who are in love show all of the basic symptoms of addiction, including tolerance, dependency/craving, withdrawal and relapse . . ...
Article
Full-text available
National conversations have focused recently on the need for colleges and universities to better address the dilemma of sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence on U.S. college campuses. Administrators, counselors, law enforcement, prevention advocates, and conduct officers struggle with efforts to prevent and intervene on these cases. A recent federal mandate requires campuses to actively implement comprehensive strategies and programs to address this epidemic of sexual violence. This includes targeted prevention programming to address sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, more commonly referred to as intimate partner violence, and stalking behavior. In the wake of this recent attention, university faculty and staff are faced with the dilemma of better understanding the motivations and risk factors associated with individuals and groups committing these types of attacks. Understanding these risk factors provides administrators, conduct officers, law enforcement, prevention advocates, and counselors with insight into preventative education and better informed policy and procedures to reduce sexual assault in the university setting.
... Stalking affects one fifth of all women and an unknown number of men-and the end result may be violence and bloodshed. Stalking is a very old behavior but a relatively new crime (Meloy 1999), and is recognized as a crime in North America, some European countries, Australia, and New Zealand (Meloy and Fisher 2005). Stalkers are criminals, a simple truth often ignored or not understood by mental health clinicians, law enforcement agencies, and the media. ...
... The associated loneliness, isolation, and disordered attachment patterns predispose them to very dysfunctional attempts to connect with others. Meloy and Fisher (2005) found that research on the attachment patterns among stalkers suggests that their bonding is insecure . . ., inferring that their attachment biochemistry varies from that of normal individuals with secure attachments. ...
... Forensic psychologist J. Reid Meloy has used attachment and object relations theory to provide a lens through which we can understand bizarre kinds of violence such as stalking and serial killing (Meloy, 1992(Meloy, , 1998Meloy & Fisher 2005;Farber 2000Farber , 2002. ...
Article
Success in psychotherapy is correlated with the "fit" between patient and therapist, a factor related to attachment. For psychotherapists of any orientation, empathy and building the bond of attachment is our stock-in-trade. When empathy builds the bond of attachment with someone starved for connection, a therapist may inadvertently set himor herself up to become a victim of a stalker. Because individuals who stalk others suffer from severe attachment disorders, their hunger for attachment motivates them to shadow psychotherapists, which makes being stalked a very real occupational hazard for psychotherapists. This was a painful discovery for me. I was stalked for 11 months, leaving me with post-traumatic stress disorder. After recovering, I deconstructed the experience to understand how and why it happened, and discovered that it was my empathy and compassion that contributed to and maintained the stalking. What I learned from the forensic literature provided the knowledge and confidence needed to end the stalking. In this paper recommendations are made about how to prevent stalking and to halt it if it does happens.
... Given the close association of love with addiction, moreover, the severe mental distress associated with the experience of rejection by one partner should become less surprising (Fisher et al., 2010). Some have also suggested that behaviors analogous to stalking may arise as an attempt to retain a mate when the addiction circuits of the brain become active (Meloy & Fisher, 2005). This would not be entirely anathema to an addict seeking out another dose of their favored substance. ...
... First, they suggest that similar regions of the brain (the VTA specifically) are implicated in romantic attraction, regardless of whether the attraction is ongoing or whether it is occurring while the individual is being rejected (Fisher et al., 2010). Second, many of the neural systems overlap with reward or pleasure and addiction systems in the brain, which suggests a mechanism for persistent mate retention activity (i.e., stalking; Meloy & Fisher, 2005). Ultimately, trying to move on from a former mate (secondary ejection) may be similar in some ways to an attempt at breaking a drug habit (Fisher et al., 2010). ...
... Once an individual has been ejected, regions of the prefrontal cortex (as well as other areas) begin the process of "learning" to move past their previous mate. Pursuing a mate who has lost interest may be analogous to drawing cards consistently from the wrong deck: a strategy that is costly in the long run (aside from the fact that it will reach a point where it becomes illegal; Meloy & Fisher, 2005). If the rest of the life course were occupied with attempting to retain the affections of someone who wants nothing to do with you-as opposed to pursuing someone who might-then the odds of genetic death (e.g., lack of offspring) could go up. ...
Article
Full-text available
As a species, humans are generally serial monogamists; in some cases mating with the same partner for years or even decades. Nonetheless, humans often mate with more than one partner over the life course, meaning that romantic pair bonds often come to an end. Prior research has tentatively suggested that a mental mechanism might exist that facilitates severing the romantic bond between mates. Put differently, because romantic love is a species-typical trait, all members of the human species may come equipped with the mental hardware for both falling in love as well as for ending a relationship. Currently, the evolutionary, cognitive, neurobiological, and genetic underpinnings of human mate ejection have yet to be fully elucidated. We examine each of these factors to illuminate the possible mechanisms that may underpin the human tendency to fall out of love.
... Given the close association of love with addiction, moreover, the severe mental distress associated with the experience of rejection by one partner should become less surprising (Fisher et al., 2010). Some have also suggested that behaviors analogous to stalking may arise as an attempt to retain a mate when the addiction circuits of the brain become active (Meloy & Fisher, 2005). This would not be entirely anathema to an addict seeking out another dose of their favored substance. ...
... First, they suggest that similar regions of the brain (the VTA specifically) are implicated in romantic attraction, regardless of whether the attraction is ongoing or whether it is occurring while the individual is being rejected (Fisher et al., 2010). Second, many of the neural systems overlap with reward or pleasure and addiction systems in the brain, which suggests a mechanism for persistent mate retention activity (i.e., stalking; Meloy & Fisher, 2005). Ultimately, trying to move on from a former mate (secondary ejection) may be similar in some ways to an attempt at breaking a drug habit (Fisher et al., 2010). ...
... Once an individual has been ejected, regions of the prefrontal cortex (as well as other areas) begin the process of "learning" to move past their previous mate. Pursuing a mate who has lost interest may be analogous to drawing cards consistently from the wrong deck: a strategy that is costly in the long run (aside from the fact that it will reach a point where it becomes illegal; Meloy & Fisher, 2005). If the rest of the life course were occupied with attempting to retain the affections of someone who wants nothing to do with you-as opposed to pursuing someone who might-then the odds of genetic death (e.g., lack of offspring) could go up. ...
Article
Full-text available
As a species, humans are generally serial monogamists; in some cases mating with the same partner for years or even decades. Nonetheless, humans often mate with more than one partner over the life course, meaning that romantic pair bonds often come to an end. Prior research has tentatively suggested that a mental mechanism might exist that facilitates severing the romantic bond between mates. Put differently, because romantic love is a species-typical trait, all members of the human species may come equipped with the mental hardware for both falling in love as well as for ending a relationship. Currently, the evolutionary, cognitive, neurobiological, and genetic underpinnings of human mate ejection have yet to be fully elucidated. We examine each of these factors to illuminate the possible mechanisms that may underpin the human tendency to fall out of love.
... Romantic love plays a role in several mental disorders, including sexual dysfunctions, paraphilic disorders, and erotomanic and jealous delusional disorders [12], as well as in suicidal behaviors [13]. Finally, romantic love is associated with various forms of criminal behavior, including stalking, domestic violence, and homicide [14][15][16][17]. It is clear that the high prevalence of romantic love combined with its positive and negative impact on individuals and society cause a critical demand for fundamental and applied scientific research on romantic love. ...
... The enhanced attention for the beloved also resembles the attention biases associated with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety [68,69], which raises questions about the adaptiveness of the enhanced attention for the beloved. While paying attention to the beloved may often be adaptive, it may become maladaptive when it leads to insufficient attention to other things (e.g., (home)work, family, friendships) or when the love is unreciprocated (e.g., after a break-up or resulting in stalking) [16,70,71]. Future research could focus on how to increase adaptive attention to the beloved and decrease maladaptive attention to the beloved. ...
Article
Full-text available
Science is starting to unravel the neural basis of romantic love. The goal of this literature review was to identify and interpret the electrophysiological correlates of romantic love. Electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) studies with a design that elicits romantic love feelings were included. The methods of previous EEG studies are too heterogeneous to draw conclusions. Multiple ERP studies, however, have shown that beloved stimuli elicit an enhanced late positive potential (LPP/P3/P300), which is not due to familiarity, positive valence, or objective beauty. This effect occurs in Western and Eastern cultures and for pictorial and verbal information, and results from bottom-up rather than top-down factors. Studies have also shown that beloved stimuli elicit an early posterior negativity (EPN), which also does not seem to be due to familiarity or positive valence. Data on earlier ERP components (P1, N1, P2, N170/VPP, N2) is scarce and mixed. Of course, the enhanced LPP and EPN are not specific to romantic love. Instead, they suggest that the beloved captures early attention, within 200-300 ms after stimulus onset that is relatively resource-independent, and subsequently receives sustained motivated attention. Future research would benefit from employing cognitive tasks and testing participants who are in love regardless of relationship status.
... The obsessive aspect of extreme love is also exemplified in cognitions of stalkers (Meloy, 1998;Meloy & Fisher, 2005;Meloy et al., 2000). The latter typically idealize or devalue the victims; they are either angry with them and/or love them immensely. ...
... The latter typically idealize or devalue the victims; they are either angry with them and/or love them immensely. Such intense preoccupation enables stalkers to neglect social and legal constraints against their maladaptive actions (Meloy & Fisher, 2005; see also Meloy, 1998). ...
Article
We present a psychological model of extremism based on the concept of motivational imbalance whereby a given need gains dominance and overrides other basic concerns. In contrast, moderation results from a motivational balance wherein individuals’ different needs are equitably attended to. Importantly, under moderation the different needs constrain individuals’ behaviors in prohibiting actions that serve some needs yet undermine others. Those constraints are relaxed under motivational imbalance where the dominant need crowds out alternative needs. As a consequence, the constraints that the latter needs exercise upon behavior are relaxed, permitting previously avoided activities to take place. Because enactment of these behaviors sacrifices common concerns, most people avoid them, hence their designation as extreme. The state of need imbalance has motivational, cognitive, behavioral, affective and social consequences. These pertain to a variety of different extremisms that share the same psychological core: extreme diets, extreme sports, extreme infatuations, diverse addictions, as well as violent extremism. Evidence for the present model cuts across different domains of psychological phenomena, levels of behavioral analysis and phylogeny. We consider the model’s implications for further research and explore the tradeoffs between extremism and moderation.
... The Acb also receives afferents from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) that provide information about the cues and environment [41], as well as from dopaminergic neurons located in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain [40]. Thus, exposure to relevant UCS (see Table 1) may result in more dopamine release in the Acb [6,36,37] and in the medial amygdala (MeA) [42], which is strongly associated to appetitive behaviors, attention, and motivation [41,43,44]. In addition to dopamine, oxytocin (OT) activity is also needed in areas like the shell portion of the nucleus accumbens (AcbSh), PFC, and MeA to mediate learning of sexual preferences. ...
... Specifically, decrease of activity in the BLA enhances neural activity in the AcbSh [47]. Thus, under natural circumstances, OT is enhanced by social encounters [46] or orgasm [48] facilitating social recognition in AcbSh, PFC, and MeA, whereas dopamine from the VTA and released into the AcbSh [45] modulating the expectation of sexual reward [41,43,44]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose of Review The aim of this review is to provide current evidence on the biological and psychological mechanisms that underlie sexual partner preferences (SPP) in humans and animals. Recent Findings SPP depend mainly on prenatal (adaptive) organization of the brain, but can be drastically modified via learning under enhanced dopaminergic (DA) and oxytocinergic (OT) activity. Summary SPP can be categorized as in those directed towards partners who display indicators of biological fitness (IBF) or towards partners who do not show those indicators. The IBF function as unconditioned stimuli that presumably activate prenatally organized brain areas that mediate the salience of those stimuli. However, we discuss some evidence indicating that SPP not directed towards IBF (i.e., paraphilias) might be consequence of a learning process that occurs under enhanced DA or OT activity, resulting in new powerful learning with additional brain areas involved.
... More specifically, the aggressive and obsessive nature of stalking has been hypothetically linked to abnormally increased dopaminergic activity combined with abnormally low serotonergic activity in the brain (Meloy & Fisher, 2005). Stimulant drugs, as noted above, are one method of exogenously heightening dopaminergic activity, and many stalkers use these substances. ...
... Fortunately, in this case, the symptoms were successfully treated with antipsychotic medication. Thus, Huntington's disease may act as a neurological analogue to more common occurrences of disordered neurophysiology in stalking (Meloy & Fisher, 2005), and obsessional-aggressive behavior more generally. ...
Article
Full-text available
Stalking is generally defined as an intentional pattern of repeated intrusive and intimidating behaviors toward a specific person that causes the target to feel harassed, threatened, and fearful, or that a reasonable person would regard as being so. Motivations for stalking include a delusional belief in romantic destiny, a desire to reclaim a prior relationship, a sadistic urge to torment the victim, or a psychotic overidentification with the victim and the desire to replace him or her. Stalkers may carry a variety of diagnostic labels, including psychotic disorders, delusional disorders, or cluster-B personality disorders, and are generally refractive to conventional psychological treatments. Risk factors for violence in a stalking scenario include a prior intimate relationship, the stalker's feeling of being rejected or humiliated, and generic risk factors for violence such as low educational level and substance abuse. Cyberstalking can be as distressing, if not more so, to victims as physical stalking due to the concealment and anonymity afforded by electronic communication. Victims may adopt varying strategies for dealing with stalkers, such as avoiding, confronting, seeking third party assistance, and accessing the legal system. Threat management specialists have offered certain recommendations that can make it easier for a victim to deter and discourage a stalker.
... I did not include a search under the term "codependency," which is debatable as to whether or not it is closely related to love addiction, a personality disorder, or a means of adjustment to maladaptive relationships (Haaken, 1993;Peele & Brodsky, 1992;Wright & Wright, 1991). Also, I did not include a search under the term "stalking," which appears more closely associated with bullying, retaliation, or sexual predation (i.e., violence) rather than indicating a longing for another person (Meloy & Fisher, 2005;Purcell, Moller, Flower, & Mullen, 2009), although female stalkers (who constitute perhaps 20% of stalkers) may be relatively likely to engage in this behavior to establish intimacy (Mullen, Pathe, Purcell, & Stuart, 1999;Purcell, Pathe, & Mullen, 2001). ...
... Regarding entering dangerous situations, one may, for example, travel to unfamiliar places to visit the object of a telephone or Internet love addiction (Weiss & Schneider, 2006). Regarding legal consequences, for example, one may embezzle money to pay for the love addictive relationship which may result in legal action (APA, 2000;Meloy & Fisher, 2005;Purcell, Pathe, & Mullen, 2001;Wolfe, 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, I review the definition, etiology, prevention and treatment of love addiction. First, I provide an introduction to the concept and information on a literature search I conducted. Using seven search terms and three search engines, I was able to locate only 40 data-based articles on love addiction. Next I provide a description of this concept, particularly its negative consequences. Then, I provide a review of its etiology, considering neurobiological, developmental, and social/cultural factors. Next, I provide information on its assessment, prevention and treatment. I conclude by suggesting that love addiction likely is manifested by the time one reaches adolescence, and that it functions similarly to substance abuse disorders. I argue that much more empirical research is needed.
... Lastly, all of the subthemes under social motives were analysed in just one article, with mate-seeking in short term relationships being the only motivation to be associated with cyberstalking (March et al., 2021). While there are some studies on these motives in traditional stalking such as Meloy and Fisher's (2005) study on neurobiology and the potential role of "mate guarding", it can be implied that either social motives are a lesser factor in stalking motivation or that this perspective needs more exploring. These findings will now be expanded on and compared with traditional stalking literature. ...
Research
The primary aim of this study was to investigate the motivation of cyberstalking and how this compared to traditional (offline) stalking. The occurrence of violence and the characteristics of cyber stalkers and victims were also explored as secondary objectives. The findings were examined alongside traditional stalking literature to determine whether these features were distinct or followed trends in offline stalking. To achieve this, a systematic review was carried out using journal articles from Scopus and Google Scholar. Specific criteria for the articles included studies producing primary data, being published before August 2021 and discussing cyberstalking motivation. In total, seventeen articles were collected for data analysis. Analysis was performed using qualitative content analysis wherein codes were informed by previous research and data from the articles. The findings indicated a wide range of motivations for cyberstalking, many of which were related to intimate relationship dynamics, an association also observed in traditional stalking. Nonetheless, results suggested that there were motives specific to cyberstalking, particularly in causing distress to the victim. Furthermore, the findings indicated that incidences of violence were more infrequent for cyberstalking than traditional stalking although the types of violence involved were similar, ranging from minor to serious harm. The characteristics of cyber stalkers and victims were mostly consistent with traditional stalking except for gender and relationship to the victim. Overall, cyberstalking motivation, violence and the characteristics of cyber stalkers and victims were found to be mostly similar to traditional stalking excluding some key differences. This study highlights the variation in cyberstalking motivation and characteristics from traditional stalking, helping to better predict cyberstalking perpetration and victimisation. Lastly, the findings demonstrate that cyberstalking can involve violence, stressing the physical risks to victims despite being based on the internet.
... Such beliefs can, in turn, drive the impulse to a blood sacrifice of the self and/or others in a cause or for a purpose that is bereft of any critical analysis or judgment (Gibson, 1994;Meloy, 2018;Strozier, Terman & Jones, 2010). The neurobiology of such a cognitive-affective driver may be similar to that found in stalking (Fisher & Meloy, 2005;Meloy, 1989), but needs empirical investigation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Pathological fixation – preoccupation with a person or a cause that is accompanied by deterioration in social and occupational functioning – has been found to precede most cases of targeted violence. It is clinically observed and theorized to have three different cognitive‐affective drivers: delusion, obsession, or extreme overvalued belief. Each driver is explained, and case examples are provided in the context of threat assessment. Extreme overvalued belief as a new concept is discussed in detail, both its historical provenance and its demarcation from delusions and obsessions. Threat management for each separate cognitive‐affective driver is briefly summarized, based upon current clinical findings and research. Emphasis is placed upon understanding both the categorical and dimensional nature (intensity) of these cognitive‐affective drivers, and suggested guidelines are offered for the assessment of such in a clinical examination by a forensic psychiatrist or psychologist.
... Currently, there has been no clinical research exploring the neurobiology of stalking. However, oxytocin aberrancy has been suspected to be related to the insecure attachment bonding pattern in those who stalk (18). ...
Article
Full-text available
Romantic relationships are an essential element of healthy living. Although difficulties in love are encountered often, it seems that three kinds of behaviors in a romantic relationship are more susceptible to physical or psychiatric disorders: playing (sexually transmitted disease), suffering (major depressive disorder or suicide), and stalking (violence or homicide). Oxytocin plays an important role in pair-bonding. Elevated plasma oxytocin concentrations have been observed in new lovers when compared with singles. It is hypothesized that those who display these dangerous behaviors in a romantic relationship might possess specific oxytocin receptor gene aberrancy and the resultant deviant pair-bonding pattern is likely to recur in successive relationships. It is postulated that a blunted oxytocin surge might be observed in playing, whereas exaggerated oxytocin surge might be observed in suffering and stalking. The distinction between suffering and stalking might stem from the difference in their aggression tendencies. Those who suffer displays aggression toward self, while those who stalk displays aggression toward others. The exaggerated oxytocin concentrations in people who suffer and people who stalk might not be suppressed by the discouraging attitudes of their partners and might be maintained by rumination. Considering the whole-body influence of oxytocin, intranasal oxytocin application or gene therapy should be used exclusively for those who display these dangerous behaviors and not for the general population. Future research is warranted to confirm this hypothesis with analysis of modifiers such as gender.
... There are neither specific hypotheses to fully explain stalking (Meloy & Fisher, 2005), nor any consensus on associated psychopathology (see Nijdam-Jones et al., 2018;Purcell & McEwan, 2018). Attachment Theory (Bartholomew, 1990) has largely been promoted in understanding the psychopathological predisposition for stalking (MacKenzie et al., 2008;Tassy & Winstead, 2014), conceptualising stalking as behavioural demonstrations of attachment pathology (Marazziti et al., 2015;Meloy, 2007). ...
Article
Background A systematic review of the bespoke psychopathology features of men who stalk was necessary for informing clinical practice. The absence of such served to perpetuate conjectured links between psychopathology and stalking. Aim To systematically review and narratively synthesise published empirical work exploring the psychopathology of men who stalk. Method The PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparator and Outcome) model was utilised to determine the scope of the review. Key inclusion criteria were studies with men who had committed stalking offences, drawn from forensic or clinical settings, employing a non-stalking comparator group that explored psychopathology features. The PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) process guided this systematic review, followed by a narrative synthesis of study findings. Results The systematic review resulted in seven studies, all containing mixed gender samples (typically comprising 90% male) of individuals who had stalked. There were no published men-only comparative studies investigating psychopathology amongst those who stalk. The narrative synthesis highlighted prominent features amongst those who stalk, which were having an insecure (preoccupied) attachment style, and a Personality Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. Previous assumptions about stalkers having higher intelligence levels than other offenders, and higher prevalence of mental disorders, were challenged. Tentative conclusions were made regarding other psychopathology features. Conclusions The links between psychopathology and stalking remain empirically inconclusive. There were few confidently distinct and common psychopathology features amongst stalker samples, unsurprising given study and stalker sample heterogeneity. This systematic review recommended that with the heterogeneity of stalkers as a client group, a case formulation approach to understanding their behaviours is crucial in clinical practice. This is to avoid reliance on limited empirical findings and conjecture surrounding the psychopathology of stalkers as a group. Typology specific, evidence-based literature should underpin clinical and forensic decision-making. Further reviews may benefit from synthesising empirical evidence based on separate typologies, and differentiate between the psychopathology features of males and females who stalk.
... Certains auteurs ont suggéré l'existence d'une hyper-activation du système dopaminergique au niveau des circuits de la récompense associée à une baisse de la neurotransmission sérotoninergique. Mais ces éléments restent très peu étayés et validés sur le plan scientifique [21]. ...
... Predators use coercion and grooming behaviors to lower the defenses of the target and increase their vulnerability to sexual violence (Armstrong et al. 2006;Humphrey and Kahn 2000;LaViolette and Barnett 2000;Meloy and Fisher 2005;Sokolow et al. 2015). Predators seek to lessen a victim's ability to advocate for personal safety and disempower them from bringing concerns forward to authorities (LaViolette and Barnett 2000;Teranishi-Martinez 2014). ...
... Certains auteurs ont suggéré l'existence d'une hyper-activation du sys- tème dopaminergique au niveau des circuits de la récompense associée à une baisse de la neurotransmission sérotoninergique. Mais ces éléments restent très peu étayés et validés sur le plan scientifique [21]. ...
Article
Deriving from the English verb "to stalk", stalking denotes an unwelcome, repetitive, and intrusive harassing and/or threatening behavior directed toward a specific individual, and can result in physical and/or sexual offending - even leading to homicide. French harassment legislation has evolved over the years, and the last law closest to the international anti-stalking laws had been promulgated in 2014. According to a review, up to 16% of women and 7% of men are stalked in their life, and 80% of the stalkers are known to their victims. Stalkers are a heterogeneous population, either seeking an intimate relationship with someone the stalker knows or with a celebrity, or being revenge-motivated, or tracking their victims with the aim of offending them. Stalkers threat their victims in about half of the cases, and physically offend them in a third of the cases, violence being more often directed against ex-intimates. Sexual offending would be the consequence of harassment behavior for some stalkers, and would be the initial aim of the stalking for others.
... [2][3][4][5][6] The ending of romantic relationships is associated with severe distress for some young people. [7][8][9][10] Research on support derived by young people affected by breakup on Internet-mediated forums is lacking despite the number of young people increasingly seeking advice on romantic relationship issues through online platforms. 11,12 The past two decades have seen widespread use and benefits such as peer support associated with Internet-mediated support groups for individuals coping with difficult life events. ...
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The aim of the current study was to use qualitative analysis to examine the ways in which young people with experience of romantic relationship breakup interact with each other on an internet-mediated discussion forum and to ascertain the function of the interactions.Participants were 31 registered forum users and 10 forum moderators. Findings were based on content analysis of 238 messages posted across 28 distinct discussion threads over 12 consecutive months. Nine different types of interaction were identified. In each case the function of the interaction was identified (e.g., to relay personal experiences or solicit opinions of others) and illustrated using quotations from the data set. Online discussion forums that are facilitated by trained moderators offer a safe space for young people to disclose personal information and express their emotions in respect of romantic relationship breakup. Online interactions are rich in empathy and peer support is evident among visitors to such forums.
... Keywords: romantic love, social cognition system, drug addiction, oxytocin, resting-state functional connectivity, drug addiction treatment INTRODUCTION Some researchers regard romantic love as a type of behavioral addiction (Burkett and Young, 2012;Fisher et al., 2016). People who are in the early stage of romantic love express many similar traits with addicts (Liebowitz, 1983;Hatfield and Sprecher, 1986;Meloy and Fisher, 2005;Association, 2013). They focus on their beloved (salience); they yearn for the beloved (craving); they feel a "rush" of exhilaration when seeing or thinking about their beloved (euphoria/intoxication). ...
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Drug addiction is a complex neurological dysfunction induced by recurring drug intoxication. Strategies to prevent and treat drug addiction constitute a topic of research interest. Early-stage romantic love is characterized by some characteristics of addiction, which gradually disappear as the love relationship progresses. Therefore, comparison of the concordance and discordance between romantic love and drug addiction may elucidate potential treatments for addiction. This focused review uses the evidences from our recent studies to compare the neural alterations between romantic love and drug addiction, moreover we also compare the behavioral and neurochemical alterations between romantic love and drug addiction. From the behavioral comparisons we find that there are many similarities between the early stage of romantic love and drug addiction, and this stage romantic love is considered as a behavioral addiction, while significant differences exist between the later stage of romantic love and drug addiction, and this stage of romantic love eventually developed into a prosocial behavior. The neuroimaging comparisons suggest that romantic love and drug addiction both display the functional enhancement in reward and emotion regulation network. Except the similar neural changes, romantic love display special function enhancement in social cognition network, while drug addiction display special dysfunction in cognitive control network. The neurochemical comparisons show that there are many similarities in the dopamine (DA) system, while significant differences in oxytocin (OT) system for romantic love and drug addiction. These findings indicate that the functional alterations in reward and emotion regulation network and the DA system may be the neurophysiological basis of romantic love as a behavioral addiction, and the functional alterations in social cognition network and the OT system may be the neurophysiological basis of romantic love as a prosocial behavior. It seems that the OT system is a critical factor for the development of addiction. So we then discuss strategies to treat drug addiction with OT, and suggest that future research should further investigate OT system interventions aiming to improve cognitive control and/or social cognition functions, in order to develop strategies designed to more effectively treat drug addiction.
... La agresión se ha tipificado en varias ocasiones. Por ejemplo, Moyer [2] categorizó la agresión en 1) depredadora, 2) intersexual, 3) por irritación, 4) territorial, 5) maternal e 6) instrumentalizada. Años después, Brain [3] la clasificó en 1) ataque depredador, 2) conducta de autodefensa, 3) conducta de defensa parental y 4) conflictos sociales. ...
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... Predators use coercion and grooming behaviors to lower the defenses of the target and increase their vulnerability to sexual violence (Armstrong et al. 2006;Humphrey and Kahn 2000;LaViolette and Barnett 2000;Meloy and Fisher 2005;Sokolow et al. 2015). Predators seek to lessen a victim's ability to advocate for personal safety and disempower them from bringing concerns forward to authorities (LaViolette and Barnett 2000;Teranishi-Martinez 2014). ...
... If passionately in love individuals are indeed irrational, as argued above, this could provide an explanation for the aforementioned analogy between love and some forms of psychopathology. Furthermore, viewing irrationality as a vulnerability factor in the diathesis-stress model could help explain why in interaction with negative life events, such as rejection, passionately in love individuals tend to experience depression or anxiety (Meloy & Fisher, 2005;Fisher et al, 2010). However, we do not suggest that passionately in love individuals go through a mental health crisis. ...
Article
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Though passionate love has been scientifically investigated for about three decades, current definitions raise concerns about this concept as they cluster cognitions, emotions, and behaviors under the label of emotional state. This is in clear contradiction to the cognitive-behavioral framework. Therefore, the current study attempted to provide a cognitive-behavioral understanding of passionate love, arguing that the core feature of passionate love is an irrational way of thinking. We investigated the relationship between passionate love and irrationality, assuming a positive association between these concepts. Exploratory, we analyzed the relationship between irrationality and the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components of passionate love. Also, we looked at the relationship between passionate love and rationality. For the aims of this cross-sectional study, we recruited 139 volunteers who had been in love in the past or currently in love. They filled in the Passionate Love Scale and the short form of the General Attitude and Beliefs Scale. Results supported our hypothesis in that overall irrationality was positively associated to overall passionate love (r (137) = .311, p < .001), as well as with its cognitive (r (137) = .355, p < .001), emotional (r (137) = .280, p < .001), and behavioral components (r (137) = .246). Passionate love was not associated to rationality levels. Based on the positive association to irrationality, a vulnerability factor to psychopathology and on the lack of an association to rationality, passionate love is most probably unhealthy. However, it remains to be seen in what respect it is unhealthy. One possibility is that passionate love could be a vulnerability factor for subsequent general distress/romantic distress. Additional venues of research are discussed.
... According to Fisher (2004), adversity heightens the passion in love and when normal, well-adjusted lovers encounter barriers to their attractions and romantic feelings, they may love and desire even more intensely. Discussing the biological basis of frustration attraction, Meloy and Fisher (2005) note that when a reward is delayed in coming, neurons of the brain's reward system sustain their activation which leads to an increase in the activity of central dopamine that is the main neurotransmitter associated with sexual desire and romantic love (Fisher, 2004). ...
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This paper seeks to shed light on an extraordinary therapeutic approach that I refer to as “exotic sex therapy” or “sexotic therapy”. This approach originated out of my fascination with the irrational aspects of the “living and loving” experience, developed through my understandings of the scientific and non-scientific literature (particularly Persian love poetry) in this regard, and established through my clinical work. Central to sexotic therapy is a conceptual framework that acknowledges and celebrates the erotic life as a complex, ambiguous, exotic and paradoxical journey. It recognises the inherent challenges and paradoxes of maintaining a balanced passionate and intimate long-term relationship and invites embracing obstacles as potentially constructive and excitement enhancing. In this paper, I start with sharing my experiences and understandings of the relevant literature in Part One, proceed with some clinical discussions in Part Two, and finish by illustrating sexotic therapy with a case study in Part Three.
... Dissolution of a relationship is often not mutual (Davis, Ace, & Andra, 2002;Hill, Rubin, & Peplau, 1976). In contrast to those who leave a dating partner, those who are committed to a deteriorating relationship continue to invest in the relationship, find the relationship satisfying, devalue alternative relationships, stalk, and profess commitment after the relationship dissolves (Meloy & Fisher, 2005;Rusbult, 1983). Because there once was a relationship, there was a rather high level of interdependence, including familiarity with and knowledge of the love object. ...
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Unrequited love (UL) is unreciprocated love that causes yearning for more complete love. Five types of UL are delineated and conceptualized on a continuum from lower to greater levels of interdependence: crush on someone unavailable, crush on someone nearby, pursuing a love object, longing for a past lover, and an unequal love relationship. Study 1a found all types of UL relationships to be less emotionally intense than equal love and 4 times more frequent than equal love during a 2-year period. Study 1b found little evidence for limerent qualities of UL. Study 2 found all types of UL to be less intense than equal love on passion, sacrifice, dependency, commitment, and practical love, but more intense than equal love on turmoil. These results suggest that UL is not a good simulation of true romantic love, but an inferior approximation of that ideal.
... 7. Baumeister, Wotman, and Stillwell (1993) reported that 93% of males and females have been previously rejected by an object of passionate love and that 95% rejected someone who had such feelings for them. Romantic rejection has several negative mental health consequences: it sometimes results in homicide and suicide (e.g., Meloy and Fisher 2005; Wilson and Daly 1992) and regularly leads to clinically diagnosable depression (Mearns 1991). 8. Erotomania " is a rare disorder in which an individual has a delusional belief that a person of higher social status falls in love and makes amorous advances towards him/her " (Kennedy et al. 2002, 1). ...
Article
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"Love hurts"-as the saying goes-and a certain amount of pain and difficulty in intimate relationships is unavoidable. Sometimes it may even be beneficial, since adversity can lead to personal growth, self-discovery, and a range of other components of a life well-lived. But other times, love can be downright dangerous. It may bind a spouse to her domestic abuser, draw an unscrupulous adult toward sexual involvement with a child, put someone under the insidious spell of a cult leader, and even inspire jealousy-fueled homicide. How might these perilous devotions be diminished? The ancients thought that treatments such as phlebotomy, exercise, or bloodletting could "cure" an individual of love. But modern neuroscience and emerging developments in psychopharmacology open up a range of possible interventions that might actually work. These developments raise profound moral questions about the potential uses-and misuses-of such anti-love biotechnology. In this article, we describe a number of prospective love-diminishing interventions, and offer a preliminary ethical framework for dealing with them responsibly should they arise.
... The contrast of Phillip's (Case 1) Conduct Disorder and Dahmer's multiple DSM diagnoses illustrates another paradox about the DSM classification and vice: We have disorders that exhaustively describe criminal behavior patterns (e.g., Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder) and vice-laden behavior patterns that have eluded straightforward DSM diagnosis, as with Dahmer's case (e.g., arson [Dolan, Millington, and Park 2002;Geller 1992;Lindberg et al. 2005;Ritchie and Huff 1999;Yesavage et al. 1983], serial rape [Bowie et al. 1990;Eccles, Marshall, and Barbaree 1994;Fernandez and Marshall 2003;Yarvis 1995], serial and sexual homicide [Fox and Levin 1998;Malmquist 2006;Warren, Hazelwood, and Dietz 1996], stalking [Kurt 1995;Lewis et al. 2001;Meloy and Boyd 2003;Meloy and Fisher 2005;Rosenfeld 2003]). I refer to this contrast between leaving-in and leaving-out vice in categories as omissions and commissions. ...
Article
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This main article for a Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology philosophical case conference is intended to raise philosophical, psychiatric, and public policy issues concerning the relationship between concepts of criminality, mental disorder, and the classification of mental disorders. After introducing the basic problem of the confounding of “vice” and mental disorder concepts in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition—Text Revision, the author summarizes three different cases from the literature that illustrate the problem of the vice–mental disorder relationship. Four general aspects of the conceptual issues are presented to frame the discussion, and general questions in a range of domains are posed for commentators.
... Given that romantic love is usually not particularly associated with aggressive behavior or impulsivity, this suggests that the prefrontal 4 serotonergic projection may be unaffected by romantic love. Nevertheless, romantic love is sometimes accompanied by stalking behavior that can involve impulsivity and aggression directed towards the stalker's victim (Meloy & Fisher, 2005). So, the serotonergic projection from the raphe nuclei to the prefrontal cortex may actually play a role in stalking behavior. ...
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Please cite as: Langeslag, S. J. E. (in press). Is the serotonergic system altered in romantic love? A literature review and research suggestions. In E. Cuyler & M. Ackhart (Eds.). Psychology of Relationships (pp. x-x). Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers.
Article
Patologiczna obsesja w relacjach intymnych…-charakterystyka zjawiska uporczywego nękania Streszczenie Stalking w polskiej terminologii określany jest jako "uporczywe nękanie", "obsesyjne podą-żanie", patologia miłości czy rodzaj emocjonalnego i psychicznego prześladowania. Zjawisko to oznacza świadome, celowe i złośliwe prześladowanie drugiej osoby, co niszczy jej poczucie bezpieczeństwa i budzi strach oraz poczucie zagrożenia. Stalker to określenie stosowane dla sprawców prezentujących tego typu zachowania. Zachowania prezentowane przez spraw-ców są zróżnicowane tj. od uznawanych przez postronnego obserwatora jako niegroźne i nie-szkodliwe m.in. dawanie niechcianych prezentów, kwiatów, czy wysyłanie listów, e-maili; po jawne grożenie ofierze, czy akty przemocy. W skrajnych przypadkach zachowania stalkera mogą doprowadzić do gwałtu, czy nawet zabicia ofiary. Eksploracja tego złożonego zjawiska jest szczególnie ważna z uwagi na szereg negatywnych konsekwencji zdrowotnych, psycho-społecznych i ekonomicznych, jakie ma ono dla ofiar. Celem artykułu jest integracja wiedzy teoretycznej i empirycznej dotyczącej problematyki uporczywego nękania. W artykule zapre-zentowano charakterystykę i typologie sprawców tego przestępstwa, teorie wyjaśniające jego przyczyny oraz jego wielowymiarowe konsekwencje dla ofiar obsesyjnego prześladowania. Słowa kluczowe: stakling, stalker, uporczywe nękanie, obsesyjna miłość, obsesyjne podążanie Pathological obsession in close relationships-the characteristic of the stalking phenomenon Abstract Stalking is defined as obsessive harassment, obsessive following, emotional violence, or pathology of love. Stalking is defined as "the wilful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety". A stalker is an individual who stalks or engages in these behaviours. The constellation of behaviours associated with stalking can cover a wide range of activities that may not particularly be threatening to the uninvolved observer, for example: giving unwanted gifts or flowers, sending letters, e-mails. However, it may involve written or implied threats and acts of violence. The most severe stalker behaviours may lead to rape or murder. Exploration of stalking is important because of its serious negative consequences for the victims, such as mental, health, social, and economic problems. The aim of the article is the integration of theoretical and empirical 1 Adres do korespondencji: katarzyna.tomaszek@up.krakow.pl
Article
Résumé Le « Stalking » ou harcèlement est un problème social commun souvent causé par un trouble psychiatrique chez ses auteurs et produisant des dommages psychologiques et sociaux chez leurs victimes. Malheureusement, cela n’est pas formellement reconnu dans les systèmes de classification actuels (DSM-5 et CIM-10). Évaluer et gérer les risques liés au harcèlement est une tâche qui incombe souvent à des psychiatres. Le traitement de ces problèmes de comportement devrait cibler les mécanismes psychopathologiques sous-jacents spécifiques, qui nécessitent une évaluation diagnostique minutieuse. Les harceleurs et les victimes ont un besoin urgent de développer des traitements spécifiques. Ici, les auteurs donnent un aperçu du harcèlement à travers un prisme clinique de psychiatrie générale et médicolégale.
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This study employs a qualitative phenomenological exploration of the "lived" experiences of male intimate partner stalking (IPS) perpetrators serving a custodial sentence in the United Kingdom for an offense related to intimate partner violence (IPV). The purpose of this study is to capture the nature and complexity of the experiences of the pathway to IPS from the perspective of the perpetrator. The study seeks to provide a unique understanding of how IPS perpetrators attribute meaning to their behavior, illuminating the underpinning cognitive characteristics and emotions that play a role in their behavior. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven men with a history of IPS behavior. The resultant transcripts were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Five superordinate themes reflecting participants' experiences were identified: (a) "The quest for attention and affection creating connection,"(b) "Conflicted identity and extremes of self," (c) "My life, a film set," (d) "Gameplaying: One step ahead," and (e) "Severed connections, changing the Gameplay." The findings are presented in relation to the existing literature and theoretical frameworks which seek to explain stalking perpetration. The analysis provides a greater understanding of men who have engaged in IPS behavior, demonstrating how hearing the perspective of the perpetrator has value in informing theory and intervention. The study has provided valuable insight into the cognitive characteristics of this population and a rich understanding of the profiles of men who have engaged in IPS behavior. Implications for forensic practice, policy, and research are outlined, and recommendations for future research and overall limitations are discussed.
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Romantic love is a cross-culturally universal phenomenon that serves as a commitment device for motivating pair bonding in human beings. Women and men may experience different feelings when viewing the same warm, romantic scenes. To determine which brain systems may be involved in romance perception and examine possible sex differences, we scanned 16 women and 16 men who were intensely in love, using functional MRI. Participants were required to rate the romance level of 60 pictures showing romantic events that may frequently occur during romantic relationship formation. The results showed that greater brain activation was found for men in the insula, PCC (posterior cingulate cortex), and prefrontal gyrus compared with women, primarily under the High-romance condition. In addition, enhanced functional connectivity between the brain regions involved in the High-romance condition in contrast to the Low-romance condition was only found for men. These data suggest that men and women differ in the processing of romantic information and that it may be more effortful for men to perceive and evaluate romance degree.
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The aim of the current study was to explore young people’s experiences of and adjustment to romantic relationship breakup by reference to the Dual Processing Model of Coping and Bereavement (DPM; Stroebe & Schut, 1999 Stroebe, M. S., & Schut, H. (1999). The dual process model of coping with bereavement: Rationale and description. Death Studies, 23, 1–28. doi:10.1080/074811899201046[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®] [Google Scholar]). Participants were 31 registered forum users and 10 forum moderators. Findings were based on thematic analyses of messages posted on an internet-mediated discussion forum over a 12-month period. Coping responses include availing of emotional support, self-expression, distraction, and indulgence in substance use or changes in eating behaviours. There appeared to be a re-prioritisation of values and opportunities for personal development and engagement in new and fulfilling relationships. The themes identified in the analysis broadly map onto the main elements of the DPM.
Chapter
Die beeindruckenden Dimensionen von Ursachen und Folgen individueller und kollektiver Aggression und Gewaltanwendung sind allseits ersichtlich. Umso erstaunlicher ist, dass dieses Thema in den psychiatrischen Lehr- und Fachbüchern bislang kaum Beachtung fand, obwohl es naheliegt anzunehmen, dass abnorme Funktionsweisen des Gehirns in erheblichem Maße zu gewalttätigem Verhalten beitragen. Im nachstehenden Kapitel wird ein Überblick über die neurobiologischen Grundlagen aggressiven Verhaltens, über die Genetik, Epidemiologie, Neuropathologie, Pathophysiologie und Psychopathologie von Aggression und Gewalt gegeben. Es folgt eine Darstellung der Gewaltneigung infolge psychischer Störungen, der Ergebnisse von Hirnstruktur- und -funktionsbildgebung und schließlich der pharmakotherapeutischen Optionen zur Behandlung krankhaft aggressiven Verhaltens. Es erscheint notwendig, dass das Themenfeld von Aggression und Gewalt stärker in die psychiatrische Lehre und Forschung integriert wird als bisher.
Chapter
Die beeindruckenden Dimensionen von Ursachen und Folgen individueller und kollektiver Aggression und Gewaltanwendung sind allseits ersichtlich. Umso erstaunlicher ist, dass dieses Thema in den psychiatrischen Lehr- und Fachbüchern bislang kaum Beachtung fand, obwohl es naheliegt anzunehmen, dass abnorme Funktionsweisen des Gehirns in erheblichem Maße zu gewalttätigem Verhalten beitragen. Im nachstehenden Kapitel wird ein Überblick über die neurobiologischen Grundlagen aggressiven Verhaltens einschließlich Genetik, über Epidemiologie, Neuropathologie, Pathophysiologie und Psycho pathologie von Aggression und Gewalt gegeben. Es folgt eine Darstellung von Gewaltneigung infolge psychischer Störungen, der Ergebnisse von Hirnstruktur- und -funktionsbildgebung und schließlich der pharmakotherapeutischen Optionen zur Behandlung krankhaft aggressiven Verhaltens. Es erscheint notwendig, dass das Themenfeld von Aggression und Gewalt stärker in die psychiatrische Lehre und Forschung integriert wird als bisher.
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There are countless books on sex and an endless fascination with the subject. Varieties and vagaries of sexual desire have long been documented, but there has been little engagement with cutting-edge scientific research to uncover the biological and psychological bases of sexual desire. Here, Frederick Toates uses the insights of modern science to show how a wide range of desire-related phenomena - fantasy, novelty-seeking, sexual addiction, sex-drug interactions, fetishes, voyeurism, and sexual violence and killing - start to make sense. For example, the role of the brain’s neurochemical dopamine can now be much better understood in terms of wanting, and a distinction between wanting and liking has been established. Also, an understanding of the layered organization of the brain, sometimes described as hierarchical, can be used to explain temptation and conflict. This is a fascinating book with great social relevance to society and its problems with sexuality.
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Objectives: Scientific literature on stalking behaviors is not sufficiently uniform and shows no clear definition of the theorical construct of stalking. In order to respond to current scientific criteria for defining a psychological and behavioral construct, the definition of "stalking" should be exhaustive and specific at the same time. There must be also a positive consensus by scholars on a definition of a construct, for that definition becoming operationalized and therefore profitably appliable in theory and research. Methods: Exploring the theoretical definitions of stalking that are privileged in current literature, and reviewing the different behavioral markers suggested for identifying the construct, this article analyzes the multifaceted characteristics of stalking behaviors. The review of literature was based on international database of peer-reviewed articles (Psychinfo, ProQuest, Psycharticles) as well as authoritative Italian and international books on the topic, and it allowed to detect specific categories of behaviors enacted by a stalker against his or her victim. These categories include both the most violent acts (such as physical and sexual assaults, threats and harassments), which are ever considered as disturbing, and the less violent, more silent and intrusive, stalking behaviors. Some stalking behaviors are in fact most difficult to detect, and victims often misinterpret such behaviors as a simple search for intimacy by the stalker: this easily leads to "false negatives", in research terms, while practically results in the victim missing the chance to protect him- or herself from the stalker. The article also highlights potential motivation and drives underlying different stalking behaviors, and it explores the specific aims pursued by different typologies of stalkers in relation to their victim. The information on stalking behaviors were ultimately discussed emphasizing the direction of future researches and suggesting the development of appropriate strategies for prevention, intervention and harm reduction related to such disturbing behaviors. Results: This review of the international literature concerning the behaviors of stalkers leads to an operational definition of stalking. "Stalking" consists in an interpersonal behavior characterized by threats or harassment toward a specific victim; it has relational purposes, it is repeated over time and/or it results particularly intense, and it is perceived as disturbing by the victim of such behaviors. This definition seems comprehensive enough to encompass the entire range of stalking behaviors and it is not limited only to the behaviours of romantic stalkers; at the same time, this definition should result detailed enough to be operationalized in theoretical and empirical reasearches on the construct. The discussion of stalkers' typology based on their possible motivation could be further useful for future reasearch, opening the doors toward new promising directions. Conclusions: A review of the national and international literature on stalking behaviors shows that still are present some uncertainties on this topic, and a lack of scientific exactness in relation to the construct, but it allows anyway to develop more exhaustive and at the same time comprehensive definition of "stalking", which are particularly needed for research and theory in this field. The definition proposed in this article could perhaps patch a little such a big hole.
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The amorous infatuation that is known as "romantic love" and characterised by a morbid attachment to one's partner that can even degenerate into criminal acts ("stalking") can be studied from the starting point of the more general framework of dependence ("addiction"). The conditioning of dependence, common in animals, is amplified in man as a result of numerous factors. These include an increase in dopamine reserves, whose impact on reward circuits is capable of inducing a motivational surplus, and a parallel amplification of functions linked to the corticobasal circuit, which is involved in the management of temporal expectations. All this determines a distortion of the dimension of pleasure, creating a hedonic "loop" that, an end unto itself, may be defined as "sine causa naturali" and contrasted with the "natural" circuit of pleasure, such pleasure in satiety, which is centred on the hypothalamic axis. This pleasure, "sine causa naturali", lacking an object (other than itself), is insatiable and generates dependence. Having no means of feeding itself, it feeds on its own deprivation, as explained by Salomon's "opponent processes theory". Since amorous infatuation, when it strikes, has a strong dopaminergic impact on the circuits of "sine causa naturali" pleasure, it tends to generate dependence, triggering a compulsive search for the object that generated the initial emotional state, on the basis of the same logic as the "opponent processes theory" in which the primary emotional state is maintained through the sense of deprivation. In this circumstance, love, which according to Plato is the offspring of "poros" and "penia" (richness and poverty), can easily degenerate and become caught in the compulsive circuits typical of "stalking", and its pathological tendencies become heightened, given that negative influences (persecution, worry, torment and compulsion) are part of the mechanisms of its reproduction.
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The chapter discusses the traits associated with both positive and negative love addiction; it traces the evolution of love addictions to their likely origins; it proposes a theory for the biopsychological foundations of different types of love addiction; and it offers some scientifically based suggestions for treatment of individuals suffering from rejection addiction.
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Considerable data suggest that humans have evolved a dual reproductive strategy: life long and/or serial monogamy in conjunction with clandestine adultery. This paper explores the underlying biochemical and genetic mechanisms likely to contribute to this flexible, yet specific human reproductive system, and explores some of the implications of this dual human reproductive strategy for contemporary partnerships. Critics of evolutionary psychology fail to find the profound value of this budding discipline, yet it yields important insights that could be of use to medical and legal professionals, researchers and therapists.
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Nowadays stalking is becoming a real social emergency, as it may often fuel severe aggressive behaviours. No exhaustive aetiological hypothesis is still available regarding this complex phenomenon. However, the detailed descriptions of some of its peculiar features allow to draw with cautions some general suggestions. Probably stalking may arise from the derangement of those neural networks subserving the so-called social brain and the pair bonding formation, in particular the processes of attachment/separation, attraction/romantic love/reward. In addition, it seems to be modulated by excessive functioning of the dopamine system coupled with decreased serotonin tone. It is believed that the investigation and deepening of its possible neurobiological substrates may be helpful in the prevention of the severe consequences of stalking.
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Nowadays stalking is becoming a real social emergency, as it may often fuel severe aggressive behaviours. No exhaustive aetiological hypothesis is still available regarding this complex phenomenon. However, the detailed descriptions of some of its peculiar features allow to draw with cautions some general suggestions. Probably stalking may arise from the derangement of those neural networks subserving the so-called social brain and the pair bonding formation, in particular the processes of attachment/separation, attraction/romantic love/reward. In addition, it seems to be modulated by excessive functioning of the dopamine system coupled with decreased serotonin tone. It is believed that the investigation and deepening of its possible neurobiological substrates may be helpful in the prevention of the severe consequences of stalking.
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Stalking is a complex behavioral phenomenon that is unique in that it necessarily involves a prolonged dyadic relationship between both a perpetrator and a victim. Since criminalization of stalking behavior in the 1990s, different conceptual typologies have attempted to classify this behavior to assess risk and aid in management decisions. The authors reviewed the current literature regarding the most recent and accepted stalking classification systems. The three predominant stalker typologies currently in use include Zona's stalker-victim types, Mullen's stalker typology, and the RECON stalker typology. Of these, the RECON classification system alone was developed in an attempt to separate stalkers into groups based on previously known risk factors for behaviorally based phenomenon such as propensity for violence. Understanding and simplifying these classification systems may enhance the potential that new research will lead to evidence-based management and treatment strategies in the stalking situation.
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  This case report describes a patient with Huntington’s Disease (HD) who allegedly stalked her therapist. The patient developed recurrent thoughts about her therapist as well as amorous feelings towards her therapist. She engaged in stalking behavior including unwelcome gifts, multiple telephone calls to the therapist’s office and home, and making threats towards the therapist. The patient continued to contact the therapist after the therapist filed a Personal Protection Order. The patient was successfully treated with risperidone and fluvoxamine. Through a focused review of the relevant literature, the authors explore the potential relationship between the patient’s obsessional thoughts, amorous feelings towards her therapist, the basal ganglia dysfunction, and the stalking behavior. The authors posit a hypothesis of stalking as a novel early manifestation of HD in this patient. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of stalking occurring with potentially causal organic lesions.
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We propose that stalking tactics have been shaped by evolutionary processes to help solve mating problems. These include: (1) acquiring new mates, (2) guarding existing mates to prevent defection, (3) fending off mate poachers, (4) poaching someone else’s mate, (5) interfering with intrasexual competitors, (6) reacquiring ex-mates, (7) sexual exploitation and predation, and (8) guarding kin from sexual exploitation. We hypothesize several, gender-differentiated design features of psychological adaptations, including sensitivity to adaptive problems for which stalking was an ancestral solution and cognitive biases that function to motivate and perpetuate stalking behaviors. Although often abhorrent, cost-inflicting, and illegal, stalking sometimes enables successful adaptive solutions to problems of mating and within-gender competition faced by both men and women. KeywordsStalking–Mating–Gender–Evolution
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The purpose of this study was to investigate behavioral differences among nonviolent, unhappily married husbands and violent husbands with different attachment classifications on the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI; Main and Goldwyn, 1994). Twenty-three Domestically Violent (DV) husbands and 13 maritally distressed but non-violent (DNV) husbands were interviewed using the AAI. Violent husbands (74%) were more likely than the distressed/nonviolent husbands (38%) to be classified into one of the insecure categories on the AAI. As predicted, during laboratory arguments with their wives, dismissing husbands were the most controlling and distancing, and preoccupied husbands the least distancing, during marital interactions. Secure husbands were significantly more defensive than the two insecure types. Sequential analyses of reports of violent arguments at home revealed different patterns among different types of batterers. For the preoccupied batterers only, wife withdrawal was a significant predictor of husband violence. For the dismissing batterer only, wife defensiveness was a significant precursor to husband violence. It is theorized that preoccupied batterers' violence and emotional abuse is related to expressive violence in response to abandonment fears; whereas dismissing batterers use instrumental violence to assert their authority and to control their wives. The overlap between this and other typologies of violent men is explored.
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A meta-analysis of 108 samples across 103 studies of stalking related phenomena, representing more than 70,000 participants, reveals an average prevalence across studies of 23.5% for women and 10.5% for men, with an average duration of al- most 2 years. The average proportion of female victims across studies was 75%, and 77% of stalking emerged from some form of prior acquaintance, with 49% originating from romantic relationships. New typologies of stalking behavior, cop- ing responses to stalking, and symptomology due to stalking victimization are re- ported. Across 42 studies, the average physical violence incidence was 33%, and 17 studies produced an average sexual violence incidence of slightly greater than 10%. A summary of 32 studies of restraining orders indicated that they are vio- lated an average of 40% of the time and are perceived as followed by worse events almost 21% of the time.
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A nonrandom sample (N = 59) of “obsessional followers” charged with the crime of stalking and related offenses were studied to determine risk factors for violence. Sixty percent of the sample were physically violent toward person and/or property. Six dichoto-mous variables were selected a priori to determine their relationship, if any, to violence risk based upon previous research: prior sexual intimacy with the victim, major mental disorder, explicit threat toward the victim, personality disorder, chemical abuse/dependency, and prior criminal history. Those who were violent toward person and/or property were significantly more likely to have had a sexually intimate relationship with the victim, to have no major mental disorder, and to have made an explicit threat. A forward stepwise logistic regression found that only one variable-prior sexual intimacy-was necessary to predict violence, with an overall correct classification rate of 90%, sensitivity of 97%, specificity of 78%, positive predictive power of 89%, and negative predictive power of 93%.
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Archival files of 25 forensic subjects whose alleged criminal offenses met a legal definition of stalking behavior were studied for demographic characteristics, -.. ';':.':-. stalking dynamics, psychosocial history, and current psychological variables. Although nearly one-third of all subjects had an Axis I psychotic disorder and were delusional, only one of these subjects had erotomanic delusions. The psychotic subjects' pursuit of victims was associated with other delusions and symptoms of psychosis. Nonpsychotic subjects tended to exhibit an Axis I disorder (usually major depression, adjustment disorder, or substance dependence) as well as a variety of Axis II personality disorders. The nonpsychotic sUbjects' pursuit of victims was influenced by various psychological factors, including anger and hostility, projection of blame, obsession, dependency, minimization and denial, and jealousy. Psychotic subjects visited the victims' homes significantly more often than nonpsychotic subjects. Nonpsychotic sUbjects made more verbal threats and "acted out" violently more often than psychotic subjects. While all subjects exhibited some similarities in stalking behaviors and demographic vari­ ables, including childhood attachment disruptions, no single profile of a "stalker" emerged.
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The purpose of this study was to compare certain demographic and clinical variables in a group of obsessional followers and in a group of offenders with mental disorders. A static group design comprised of a nonrandom group of convenience and a randomly selected comparison group was used. Twenty obsessional followers in custody and 30 offenders with mental disorders in custody were evaluated by psychiatrists and psychologists for court-ordered reasons during their criminal proceedings. Both groups were evaluated during the same period, in the same court diagnostic clinic, and for the same psycholegal reasons. The group of obsessional followers was measured on demographic, clinical, and victim variables. Inferential comparisons that used nonparametric statistics were done between groups on selected demographic and clinical variables. The obsessional followers were significantly older, more intelligent, and better educated than the offenders. There were no significant differences in DSM-III-R axis I diagnoses. Axis II diagnoses showed significant differences, with the obsessional followers more likely to have a personality disorder other than antisocial personality disorder and less likely to have antisocial personality disorder. The likelihood of obsessional followers having a nonantisocial axis II personality disorder (related to attachment pathology) distinguishes them from offenders with mental disorders in general. They are also likely to be older, smarter, and better educated, consistent with their resourcefulness and manipulativeness. Idiographic aspects of the obsessional followers further illuminate their psychological defenses and object relations.
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Stalking has been viewed as an offense primarily related to either domestic violence or sexual predation. This article takes the approach that there are many different motives for stalking, not all of which are sexual. Records of obsessional harassers referred to the Bellevue Hospital Center Forensic Psychiatry Clinic for the New York County Criminal and Supreme Courts between 1987 and 1996 were studied with regard to classifying the relationship between the stalker and the target, the motive far the stalking, and whether violence was documented. The authors conclude that some individuals will harass a target for nonromantic reasons and that romantically motivated stalkers and nonromantically motivated stalkers are equally likely to act out violently. The authors also conclude that the threat of violence from obsessional stalkers should be taken seriously by targets, close associates of targets, and law enforcement personnel.
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Two studies were conducted to compare the attachment patterns, dependency, and jealousy of violent and maritally distressed husbands with that of nonviolent distressed and nonviolent-nondistressed husbands. In Study 1, participants completed the Adult Attachment Scale, Spouse Specific Dependency Scale, and Interpersonal Jealousy Scale. In Study 2, participants completed the Relationship Styles Questionnaire, Rempel Trust Scale, and Adult Attachment Interview. Results were generally consistent with hypotheses that, relative to nonviolent husbands, violent men would evidence more insecure, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment (e.g., anxiety about abandonment, discomfort with closeness, and difficulty in classifying attachment); more dependency on and preoccupation with their wives; and more jealousy and less trust in their marriage. In addition, the findings suggest that researchers need to more carefully compare various measures of attachment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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High frequencies of violence are expected in stalking cases, particularly when the pursuer is a prior sexual intimate. If attacks occur against private individuals, the victim is unlikely to be seriously injured, because the violence is affective and usually does not involve a weapon. The violent stalking of public figures, however, is a predatory mode of violence. A firearm is often used, and no threat is communicated directly beforehand. Violence toward prior sexual intimates in stalking cases is predicted by the intimacy itself, a history of criminal convictions, drug or alcohol abuse, threats, and the absence of a major mental disorder. Although violence frequencies are disturbingly high, risk of homicide is very low and occurs in only one out of 400 cases.
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J.R. Meloy, The Psychology of Stalking. R. Saunders, The Legal Perspective on Stalking. K.K. Kienlen, Developmental and Social Antecedents of Stalking. M. Zona, R.E. Palarea, and J.C. Lane, Jr., Psychiatric Diagnosis and the Victim-Offender Typology of Stalking. G. Skoler, The Archetypes and Psychodynamics of Stalking. D.M. Hall, The Victims of Stalking. L.E. Walker and J.R. Meloy, Stalking and Domestic Violence. J.R. Lion and J.A. Herschler, The Stalking of Clinicians by their Patients. R.A. Fein and B. Vossekuil, Preventing Attacks on Public Officials and Public Figures: A Secret Service Perspective. R. Lloyd-Goldstein, De Clerambault On-Line: A Survey of Erotomania and Stalking from the Old World to the World Wide Web. J. Meyers, Cultural Factors in Erotomania and Obsessional Following. K. Mohandie, C. Hatcher, and D. Raymond, False Victimization Syndromes in Stalking. G.S. Lipson and M.J. Mills, Stalking, Erotomania, and the Tarasoff Cases. D. Westrup, Applying Functional Analysis to Stalking Behavior. S.G. White and J.S. Cawood, Threat Management of Stalking Cases. Index.
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The prairie vole ( Microtus ochrogaster ), a monogamous rodent that forms long-lasting pair bonds, has proven useful for the neurobiological study of social attachment. In the laboratory, pair bonds can be assessed by testing for a partner preference, a choice test in which pair-bonded voles regularly prefer their partner to a conspecific stranger. Studies reported here investigate the role of dopamine D2-like receptors (i.e., D2, D3, and D4 receptors) in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) for the formation of a partner preference in female voles. Mating facilitated partner preference formation and associated with an approximately 50% increase in extracellular dopamine in the NAcc. Microinjection of the D2 antagonist eticlopride into the NAcc (but not the prelimbic cortex) blocked the formation of a partner preference in mating voles, whereas the D2 agonist quinpirole facilitated formation of a partner preference in the absence of mating. Taken together, these results suggest that D2-like receptors in the NAcc are important for the mediation of social attachments in female voles. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In this startling and complex investigation, Dr. Meloy begins with a simple, but profound question: why does most human violence occur between those who are emotionally involved, or more technically, within an attachment paradigm? He finds answers by applying attachment theory in the tradition of Bowlby and Ainsworth, and object relations theory in the tradition of Klein, Jacobson, Mahler, and Kernberg, to case studies of bizarre and unusual homicides. These idiographic portraits illustrate erotomanic delusional disorder, chronic catathymia, the psychopath as love object, and assassination as a form of pathological attachment. He elucidates the ways in which certain psychodynamics that inexorably move toward murder can only exist within a fixated or regressed preoedipal personality structure. Such individuals are organized at a borderline or psychotic level, and most often utilize defenses of projection, projective identification, and omnipotent control. This book is written for psychotherapists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and social workers in clinical and forensic practice. Biological foci include concepts about the deep limbic structures of the brain and the biochemistry that inhibits or disinhibits such violence. Psychological patterns include both psychoanalytic constructs and the specific psychological test data from the case studies that support such constructs. Social factors include the behavior of the victim and, in the case of assassination, the political acts that contribute to predatory violence. Dr. Meloy emphasizes the crucial need for mental health professionals to go beyond descriptive diagnoses and find the motivation and meaning of such acts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This . . . book is the first to present a unified theory of human mating behavior. [It] is based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide. If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question, we must look into our evolutionary past, according to David M. Buss. The book discusses casual sex and long-term relationships, sexual conflict, the elusive quest for harmony between the sexes, and much more. Buss's research leads to a radical shift from the standard view of men's and women's sexual psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Robert John Bardo confessed to his sister just before he murdered actress Rebecca Schaeffer that he had an obsession with the unattainable and he had to eliminate what he couldn't attain. The California legislature passed the first antistalking law in 1990. Stalking is a continuous crime, and all stalking statutes require at least two or more incidents to constitute the crime. California's stalking law required that a stalker make a “credible threat of death or great bodily injury” towards the victim, placing the victim in reasonable fear of the same. As a direct result of a particular case, California's stalking law was amended in 1994. The new law states that “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, is guilty of the crime of stalking.” Stalkers' continued actions can, and in some cases do, lead to murder or serious injury. Strong state stalking laws, if properly utilized, could prevent tragedies from occurring.
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Suggests that some forms of love are actually forms of addiction, and that these may be potentially more destructive and prevalent than widely recognized opiates. The psychological nature of addiction is outlined, emphasizing how a seemingly idyllic love affair can actually mask a retreat from the world. Case histories are presented, and the effects of social forces (e.g., the nuclear family, schools, jobs, and the medical and psychiatric establishments) on the individual's sense of adequacy are examined. (6 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Knowing that a cornerstone of the art and science of clinical psychiatry is adjustment of the treatment to the needs of the particular patient, chapter authors were told to include all major modalities applicable to the disorder for which they were responsible. In keeping with the rapidly expanding empirical database on psychiatric treatment, there is a major emphasis in the text on the results of randomized controlled trials when available. However, treatments that have not been subjected to such trials but that reflect accumulated clinical wisdom in the field are also included. Moreover, some authors have, when appropriate, provided highly sophisticated integrative models of treatment that help the clinician pick and choose among the available modalities and combine them in a rational conceptual framework that maximizes the effectiveness of the overall treatment plan. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Two studies were conducted to compare the attachment patterns, dependency, and jealousy of violent and maritally distressed husbands with that of nonviolent distressed and nonviolent-nondistressed husbands. In Study 1, participants completed the Adult Attachment Scale, Spouse Specific Dependency Scale, and Interpersonal Jealousy Scale. In Study 2, participants completed the Relationship Styles Questionnaire, Rempel Trust Scale, and Adult Attachment Interview. Results were generally consistent with hypotheses that, relative to nonviolent husbands, violent men would evidence more insecure, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment (e.g., anxiety about abandonment, discomfort with closeness, and difficulty in classifying attachment); more dependency on and preoccupation with their wives; and more jealousy and less trust in their marriage. In addition, the findings suggest that researchers need to more carefully compare various measures of attachment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Although oxytocin (OT) and dopamine (DA) have been implicated in pair bond formation in monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), the nature of potential interactions between these two neurochemical systems and the brain circuits important for such interactions in the regulation of pair bonding have not been explored. Here, we demonstrated that access to both OT and DA D2-type receptors is necessary for pair bond formation, as blockade of either type of receptor prevented partner preferences induced by OT or a D2-type agonist. We also demonstrated that the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) is a brain area important for such OT-DA interactions. In NAcc, blockade of OT receptors prevented partner preferences induced by a D2-type agonist whereas blockade of D2-type, but not D1-type, DA receptors blocked OT-induced partner preferences. Together, our data suggest that concurrent activation of OT and DA D2-type receptors in NAcc is essential for pair bond formation in female prairie voles.
Article
He [a psychiatrist] asked me if I was suicidal, and I reluctantly told him yes. I did not particularize—since there seemed no need to—did not tell him that in truth many of the arti-facts of my house had become poten-tial devices for my own destruction: the attic rafters (and an outside ma-ple or two) a means to hang myself, the garage a place to inhale carbon monoxide, the bathtub a vessel to re-ceive the flow from my opened arter-ies. The kitchen knives in their draw-ers had but one purpose for me. Death by heart attack seemed particularly inviting, absolving me as it would of active responsibility, and I had toyed with the idea of self-induced pneumo-nia—a long frigid, shirt-sleeved hike through the rainy woods. Nor had I overlooked an ostensible accident, à la Randall Jarrell, by walking in front of a truck on the highway nearby.... Such hideous fantasies, which cause well people to shudder, are to the deeply depressed mind what lascivi-ous daydreams are to persons of ro-bust sexuality. As this passage demonstrates, clinical depression is quite different from the blues everyone feels at one time or an-other and even from the grief of bereave-ment. It is more debilitating and dan-gerous, and the overwhelming sadness combines with a number of other symp-toms. In addition to becoming preoccu-pied with suicide, many people are plagued by guilt and a sense of worth-lessness. They often have difficulty think-ing clearly, remembering, or taking plea-sure in anything. They may feel anxious and sapped of energy and have trouble eating and sleeping or may, instead, want to eat and sleep excessively. Psychologists and neurobiologists sometimes debate whether ego-damag-ing experiences and self-deprecating thoughts or biological processes cause depression. The mind, however, does not exist without the brain. Considerable evidence indicates that regardless of the initial triggers, the final common path-ways to depression involve biochemical changes in the brain. It is these changes that ultimately give rise to deep sadness and the other salient characteristics of depression. The full extent of those al-terations is still being explored, but in the past few decades—and especially in the past several years—efforts to identi-fy them have progressed rapidly. At the moment, those of us teasing out the neurobiology of depression some-what resemble blind searchers feeling different parts of a large, mysterious creature and trying to figure out how their deductions fit together. In fact, it may turn out that not all of our findings will intersect: biochemical abnormali-ties that are prominent in some depres-sives may differ from those predomi-nant in others. Still, the extraordinary accumulation of discoveries is fueling optimism that the major biological de-terminants of depression can be under-stood in detail and that those insights will open the way to improved methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing the condition.
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According to attachment theory, the attachment system is activated to manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that stem from potential separation and relational threat. Thus, jealousy provides an important situation in which to examine attachment-style differences. In the present study, 144 individuals currently involved in enduring romantic relationships completed questionnaires regarding their jealousy experience, jealousy expression, and attachment styles. Four major findings emerged. First, those with negative self-models reported experiencing more cognitive jealousy than did those with positive self-models Second, jealous individuals with negative other-models reported feeling fear less intensely, using less relationship-maintaining behavior, and engaging in more avoidance/denial than did those with positive other-models. Third, preoccupieds reported displaying more negative affect and engaging in more surveillance behavior than did those with other attachment styles. Finally, dismissives reported feeling less fear than did secures and preoccupieds, and less sadness than preoccupieds, when experiencing jealousy. Attachment-style dimensions, such as lack of confidence and preoccupation with relationships, were also associated with jealousy experience and expression. These results are interpreted in light of attachment-theory principles.
Article
This study describes the type and extent of intimate partner stalking and threatening behaviors that occurred within 12 months prior to a major assault or attempted or actual partner femicide and specifies which behaviors were associated with an increased risk of potential or actual lethality. The design was a ten-city case–control study of 821 women: 384 abuse victims and 437 attempted or actual femicide informants. Data were derived using a 16-item inventory. Logistic regressions, with adjustments for demographic variables, were used to identify the significant perpetrator behaviors associated with attempted/actual femicide. Women who reported the perpetrator followed or spied on them were more than twice as likely to become attempted/actual femicide victims. Threats by the perpetrator to harm the children if the woman left or did not return to the relationship place the woman at a ninefold increase in the risk of attempted/actual femicide. Conclusions are that certain stalking and threatening behaviors are strong risk factors for lethality, and women must be so advised. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Article
This paper proposes that mammals exhibit three primary emotion categories for mating and reproduction: (1) the sex drive, or lust, characterized by the craving for sexual gratification; (2) attraction, characterized by increased energy and focused attention on one or more potential mates, accompanied in humans by feelings of exhilaration, “intrusive thinking” about a mate, and the craving for emotional union with this mate or potential mate; and (3) attachment, characterized by the maintenance of close social contact in mammals, accompanied in humans by feelings of calm, comfort, and emotional union with a mate. Each emotion category is associated with a discrete constellation of neural correlates, and each evolved to direct a specific aspect of reproduction. The sex drive is associated primarily with the estrogens and androgens; it evolved to motivate individuals to seek sexual union. The attraction system is associated primarily with the catecholamines; it evolved to facilitate mate choice, enabling individuals to focus their mating effort on preferred partners. The attachment system is associated primarily with the peptides, vasopressin, and oxytocin; it evolved to motivate individuals to engage in positive social behaviors and assume species-specific parental duties. During the evolution of the genus Homo, these emotion systems became increasingly independent of one another, a phenomenon that contributes to human mating flexibility and the wide range of contemporary human mating and reproductive strategies.
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The etiology of violent and aggressive behavior has been studied for several decades. Observations in the 1920s of human patients who manifested aggressive behavior after incurring neurological insults led researchers to explore a biological basis for the behavior. Animal research soon followed and provided the foundation for understanding this complex behavior. Efforts to use animal models of adaptive aggressive behavior to explain pathological aggression in a subgroup of the human population has proven to be a daunting task. The research has produced a vast database encompassing several distinct disciplines. Predatory and affective aggression garners support as a classification system from clinical, social, biopsychological and forensic databases. This article draws together this vast research and delivers an argument for a bimodal classification system of aggressive and violent behavior.
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Obsessional following is a “stalking” behavior in which a person engages in an abnormal or long-term pattern of threat or harassment directed toward a specific individual. In a review of preliminary research during the past 20 years, the author find 10 studies, all nonrandom samples of convenience, published between 1978 and 1995 in which obsessional followers charged with criminal behavior or investigated by law enforcement (N = 180) were identified. Aggregate data from these studies suggest that obsessional followers were likely to be males in their mid to late thirties with prior psychiatric and criminal histories. There was often a chronic history of failed heterosexual relationships and unemployment, but on average the subjects were more intelligent than other criminal offenders. Axis I mental disorders and Axis II personality disorders were common and varied. Approximately one-half of obsessional followers threatened the victims, but usually were not physically violent. Frequency of any personal violence, depending on the study, was 3–36%. Incidence of homicide was less than 2%. The author theorizes that obsessional followers, perhaps a subset of stalkers in general, evidence abnormal, “preoccupied” attachement patterns, their pursuit fueled by a distrubance in their narcissistic fantasy linking them to their victims. Such disruption is usually caused by an acute or chronic rejection that stimulates rage as a defense against shame.
Article
The neurohypophyseal hormone oxytocin has been implicated in many aspects of reproduction including sexual behavior. This review considers the hypotheses that oxytocin and/or the neural events surrounding the release of oxytocin may have behavioral effects during sexual arousal, orgasm, sexual satiety and other aspects of sociosexual interactions.
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Three studies assessed the impact of generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation on the severity of depression individuals experience following the end of a romantic relationship. The Negative Mood Regulation Scale (NMR) measured these expectancies. In Study 1 (n = 583), the NMR predicted college students' reports of initial depression in the first week after the relationship ended. Study 2 (n = 114) demonstrated that subjects with higher expectancies used active coping strategies more than those with lower expectancies. Study 3 (n = 78) provided prospective data that showed subjects' NMR scores to predict initial depression in the first week after a relationship ended--when that relationship ended subsequent to their taking the NMR. Results support the importance of expectancies for negative mood regulation as determinants of emotional reactions to distressing events, and they support the validity of the NMR.
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While the evidence is strong that dopamine plays some fundamental and special role in the rewarding effects of brain stimulation, psychomotor stimulants, opiates, and food, the exact nature of that role is not clear. One thing is clear: Dopamine is not the only reward transmitter, and dopaminergic neurons are not the final common path for all rewards. Dopamine antagonists and lesions of the dopamine systems appear to spare the rewarding effects of nucleus accumbens and frontal cortex brain stimulation (Simon et al 1979) and certainly spare the rewarding effects of apomorphine (Roberts & Vickers 1988). It is clear that reward circuitry is multisynaptic, and since dopamine cells do not send axons to each other or receive axons from each other, dopamine can at best serve as but a single link in this circuitry. If dopamine is not a final common path for all rewards, could it be an intermediate common path for most rewards? Some workers have argued against such a view, but at present they must do so on incomplete evidence. For example, Phillips (1984) has argued that there must be multiple reward systems, functionally independent and organized in parallel with one another. His primary evidence, however, is the fact that brain stimulation is rewarding at different levels of the nervous system. As we have seen in the case of midline mesencephalic stimulation, the location of the electrode tip in relation to the dopamine cells and fibers tells us little about the role of dopamine in brain stimulation reward. It seems clear that the ventral tegmental dopamine system plays a critical role in midline mesencephalic reward, despite the distance from the electrode tip to the dopamine cells where morphine causes its dopamine-dependent facilitory effects or to the dopamine terminals where low-dose neuroleptics presumably cause theirs. Until pharmacological challenge has been extended to the cases discussed by Phillips, we can only speculate as to the role of dopamine in each of those cases. In the cases where pharmacological challenge has been examined, only nucleus accumbens and frontal cortex have been found to have dopamine-independent reward sites. It is not consistent with the dopamine hypothesis that dopamine-independent reward sites should exist in these areas, since any reward signals carried to nucleus accumbens or frontal cortex by dopamine fibers would-unless we are to believe that reward "happens" at these sites-have to be carried to the next stage of the circuit by nondopaminergic fibers (there are no dopaminergic cell bodies in any of the dopamine terminal areas).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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The author hypothesizes that erotomania, or de Clérambault's syndrome, occurs in two forms: the clinically accepted delusional erotomania, in which patients believe that another person is in love with them; and borderline erotomania, in which no delusion is present, yet an extreme disorder of attachment is apparent in the pursuit of, and in the potential for violence toward, the unrequited love object. The author reviews the empirical literature concerning erotomania and then develops an object relations understanding of the disorder, focusing on the presence of narcissistic, hysterical, paranoid, and psychopathic traits in the erotomanic individual.
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Six of eight patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder had an exacerbation of symptoms when given m-chlorophenylpiperazine. Fenfluramine and placebo produced mild improvement. Six patients given intravenous clonidine experienced marked reduction in obsessions. Implications for serotonergic and noradrenergic hypotheses of obsessive-compulsive disorder are discussed.
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Theorists such as Farber argue that in adolescence passionate love first appears in all its intensity. Both adolescence and passion are "intense, overwhelming, passionate, consuming, exciting, and confusing". As yet, however, clinicians have been given little guidance as to how to deal with adolescents caught up in their passionate feelings. Nor has there been much research into the nature of passionate love. In Section I of this paper, we define passionate love, explain the necessity of developing a scale to measure this concept, and review evidence as to the nature of passionate love. In Section 2, we report a series of studies conducted in developing the Passionate Love Scale (the PLS). We present evidence as to the PLS's reliability, validity, and relationship to other factors involved in close relationships. We end by describing how we have used this scale in family therapy to open conversations about the nature of passionate love/companionate love/and intimacy... and discussing profitable directions for subsequent research.
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Nineteen children (mean [+/- SD] age, 14.5 +/- 2.3 years) with severe, primary obsessive-compulsive disorder completed a ten-week, double-blind, controlled trial of clomipramine hydrochloride (mean dosage, 141 mg/day) or placebo, each of which was administered for five weeks. Half of the subjects had not responded to previous treatment with other tricyclic antidepressants. There was a significant improvement in observed and self-reported obsessions and compulsions that was independent of the presence of depressive symptoms at baseline. Improvement in obsessive-compulsive symptoms did not correlate significantly with plasma concentrations of the drug or its metabolites. Clomipramine appears to be effective in the treatment of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the treatment seems to be independent of an antidepressant effect.
Article
The criminal behaviors of harassment and menacing are difficult to control, and of increasing concern to the general public and local law enforcement officials. In 1992, the New York State Legislature modified the Penal Law, responding to public fears and concerns that stalking behavior may become violent. Some persons charged with these types of offenses are suffering from psychiatric disorders. Among these disorders are those classified as Delusional Disorders. According to both DSM-III-R (1987-1993) and DSM-IV (1994), there are five specific types of Delusional Disorder: erotomanic, grandiose, jealous, persecutory and somatic. This type of disorder tends to be chronic. Forty eight cases of persons charged with harassment and menacing in the New York County Criminal and Supreme Court and referred for evaluation to the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic between January 1987 and January 1994 are reviewed. When cases of erotomania and other affectionate/amorous complaints were compared with persecutory/angry forms of harassing behavior, there was a great deal of similarity. When all harassers were compared to the Clinic population as a whole, major differences in ethnicity, age, educational level and sex were noted. Findings are presented regarding incidence, other demographic data, recidivism, violence and clinical diagnosis. The researchers conclude that erotomania does exist, however, there are other psychiatric disorders which can also be diagnosed in individuals accused of harassing and menacing behavior. From the point of view of the victim and the criminal justice system, the similarities in behavior patterns are more important than the different diagnoses.