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Psychological Analysis of Dick Hickock & Perry Smith

Our hypotheses and diagnoses of the two criminals charged with murder in the Clutter Family Slaying.

Nina Rizos

on 27 April 2010

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Transcript of Psychological Analysis of Dick Hickock & Perry Smith

Psychoanalysis of
Dick Hickock & Perry Smith Introduction: We did a psychological analysis of Dick and Perry because we believe that each showed signs of mental disorders. We came up with hypotheses towards the end of section 3, before we learned of Dr. Jones thoughts after he evaluated them. We took quotes from the book and used them as evidence towards our own diagnoses for the the two criminals.
Dick's Analysis Perry's Analysis Bibliography Hypothesis: Dick’s mental health is affected by his constant feeling of disappointment to his parents. He also probably feels isolated and rejected by his peers because of the trouble he causes and his pathological lying. He lies constantly and with ease. Also he might suffer from a severe depression due to his complicated life: jail, infidelity, he’s still in love with his first wife, and debt. The overwhelming stress causes him to take drastic measures including killing a family of four in order to get whatever money he encounters at the Clutter household. Dick’s intellect is what helps him to devise intricate lies and short-term solutions to complex problems. He also uses women as his distraction to his problems and represses events to find peace. Dick may be a psychopath because he can act as though he has normal emotions and acts very charming but then can turn around and commit vicious crimes without feeling any empathy.
Symptoms of Severe Depression Repression Psychopathic & Sociopathic Symptoms Dr. Jones' Verdict Hypothesis: Perry suffers from anxiety disorder because of his constant worrying and reflection on past events and their potential effects. He also might have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the murders because he recalls specific events sporadically. Bipolar disorder may be another diagnosis due to the constant pursuit of grandeur and quick mood swings into fury. Perry often feels he cannot ever meet his father’s standards and feels resentment and the need for attention toward his family for being the only one not able to finish school. This built up anger may be what causes him to feel that there is no other way out but to commit crimes. Perry may suffer from a histrionic personality disorder because he: “expresses strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and is easily influenced by others, longs for appreciation, feelings are easily hurt, and has persistent manipulative behavior to meet his own needs.“ We feel that both Dick and Perry suffer from conduct disorder because they don’t care if they “violate the rights of others or the norms of society. “ (“Mental Disorder”)
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Histrionic Personality Disorder Dr. Jones' Verdict Worrying, stress, nervousness that can become an everyday battle or strike during a personal crisis
Uncontrollable and keeps coming back
Interferes with everyday life, your mood, and thinking
Can occur with just the slightest trigger
Irrational anxiety Can come about after a traumatic experience that trigger vivid emotions of "horror and helplessness to your loved ones"
Remember specific events of the incident that bother you
The person may experience physically stimulated when the anxiety occurs
Experience extremely high and low mood swings
Experience manic states of depression which is when the person seeks fame, fortune, power and grandeur. Some people can only experience this state which is refered to as Manic Depression
The person makes delusional and unrealistic plans
Significant weight loss or gain
Various/often aches and pains
Negative and pessimistic thoughts on everything
Turning away from other people
Suicidal thoughts and guilt
Can't make decisions
No energy Last Thoughts: Although we were wrong with our diagnoses, we still believe that had the criminals been taken to Larned, Kansas, where they have qualified specialists, a more approximate diagnosis may have been made and further research could have better confirmed their mental states.
"Unconscious forgetting"
When you unconsciously push back thoughts or feelings that cause anxiety to the unconscious
Things such as traumatic events and failures can be repressed
It is the most basic defense mechanism Attention-seeking
Strong emotions
Emotionally vulnerable
Manipulates for own, personal gain

Violate the rights of others and don't feel bad or guilty
Don't see their acts as being wrong, no matter what they do
Appear to be normal
Manipulate people
"Promiscuous sexual behavior" ("Mental Disorder")
Pathological lying

Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. Print.

Hockenbury, Don H., and Sandra E. Hockenbury. Discovering
Psychology. 2nd ed. New York: Worth Publishers, 2001. Print.

“Mental Disorder.” Wikipedia.com. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 18 Apr.
2010. Web. 22 Apr. 2010.

Mrs. Daquila and her Psychology notes. Dr. Jones was able to testify that he believes Dick Hickock was able to distinguish right from wrong and considered him sane but this is what he would have added if he could:

Pg. 294 "He has never had the medical tests which would definitely prove or disprove the existance of residual brain damage."
"He does shwo signs of emotional abnormality. That he knew what he was doing and still went ahead with it is possibly the most clear-cut demonstration of this fact."

Pg. 295 "He is a person who is impulsive in action, likely to do things without others. He does not seem to be capabel of learnign from experience, and he shows an unusual pattern of intermittent periods of productive activity followed by patently irresponisble actions. he cannot tolerate feelings of frustration as a more normal person can, and he is poorly able to rid himself of those feeligns except through antisocial activity....His self-esteem is very low, and he secretly feels inferior to others and sexually inadequeate."
"In summary, he shows fairly typical characteristics of what would psychiatrically be called a severe character disorder." Dr. Jones could not give an answer on whether or not Perry Smith knew right from wrong at the time the crime was committed. Had he been allowed to elaborate this is what he would have added:

Pg. 296 "Perry Smith shows definite signs of severe mental illness."

Pg. 297 "Two features in his personality make-up stand out as particularly pathological. the first is his 'paranoid' orientation toward the world. he is suspicious and distrustful of others, tends to feel that others discriminate against him, and feels that others are unfair to him and do not understand him. he is overly sensitive to criticisms that others make of him, and cannot tolerate being made fun of."
"He feels he has great need of friendship and understanding, but he is reluctant to confide in others, and when he does, expects to be misunderstood or even betrayed."
"Both he and his acquaintances have been aware of these rages, which he says 'mount up' in him, and of the poor control he has over them. when turned toward himself his anger has precipitated ideas of suicide."
"This emotional detachment and blandness in certain areas is other evidence of his mental abnormality. More extensive evaluation would be necessary to make an exact psychiatric diagnosis, but his present personality structure is very near that of a paranoid schizophrenic reaction." Pg. 229 "A headache. I get real bastards." Pg. 200 "Dick didn't care to hear Perry get going on that subject." Pg. 110 "Now, just shut up!" - telling Perry to stop talking about if they get caught. Pg. 167 "You couldn't talk to him. The whole world was against Dick Hickock - that's how he figured." Pg. 242 "said he'd been raised an orphan in an orphanage, and how nobody had ever loved him, and his only relativewas a sister who lived with men without marrying them." Pg. 201 "Seducing pubescent girls, as he had done 'eight or nine' times in the last several years." Pg. 54 "Just passing through. On our way to Arizona. We got jobs waiting there. Construction work. Any idea the mileage between here and Tucumcari, New Mexico?” pg. 154 “They were waiting for some solitary traveler in a decent car and with money in his billfold – a stranger to rob, strangle, discard on the desert.” pg. 97 “Dick! Smooth. Smart.
Yes, you had to hand
it to him. Christ, it was incredible
how he could ‘con a guy.’” pg. 221 “His poise, his explicitness, the assured presentation of verifiable detail impressed Nye – though, of course, the boy was lying.” pg. 106 “There were those Dick claimed to love: three sons, a mother, a father, a brother – persons he hadn’t dared confide his plans to, or bid goodbye, though he never expected to see them again not in this life. pg.171 “Of what he’s done. Of how he’s hurt us again. And afraid because he thinks we won’t forgive him. Like we always have.” pg. 214 “The decision involved impersonating an Air Force officer.” pg. 199 “Dick stood up and started performing exercises – headstands, meant to impress the ladies beneath the pink umbrella.” I.Q. of 130 pg. 31 pg. 200 “’Maybe pick up a coupla rich women,’” pg. 218 “But I was nuts about Carol. Still am. There’s a real princess.” not accepted by Carol's dad ->”full –time nobody” pg. 22 Dick says, “I promise you, honey we’ll blast hair all over them walls.” Pg. 239 "The glory of having everybody at his mercy, that’s what excited him.” pg. 37 “Because the plan was Dick’s, and from first footfall to final silence, flawlessly devised.” pg. 256 “We smoked a cigarette, and Dick went on making jokes about what had happened back there.” pg. 110 Perry recalls the voices and objects of the night he helped kill the Clutters, also reflects on the possibility of mental disorders running in his family Pg. 276 ”I had many violent outbursts of anger while I served time in Japan & Korea.” pg. 202 “And was not uncommon when he was thus afflicted, he dwelt upon a possibility that had for him ‘tremendous fascination’: suicide.” pg. 240 “And just then it was like I was outside myself. Watching myself in some nutty movie. It made me sick. I was just disgusted.” pg. 133 “I had this great natural musical ability. Which Dad didn’t recognize. Or care about. I liked to read, too. Improve my vocabulary. Make up songs. And I could draw. But I never got any encouragement – from him or anybody else.” pg. 108 “Perry could be ‘such a kid,’ always wetting his bed and crying in his sleep (‘Dad, I been looking everywhere, where you been, Dad?’), and often Dick had seen him ‘sit for hours just sucking his thumb and poring over them phony damn treasure guides.’” Sings various songs, and always draws portraits pg. 49 “he hated it, as he hated the Texas plains, the Nevada desert; spaces horizontal and sparsely inhabited had always induced in him a depression accompanied by agoraphobic sensations.” Pg. 49 "I was thinking - we could buy a boat in Mexico. Something cheap but sturdy. And we could go to Japan. Sail right across the Pacific. pg. 99 ”We can pay off the checks. Once we’re in Mexico, once we get started down there, we’ll make money. Lots of it.” pg. 268 “announced that neither man suffered from any mental disorder. When told of their diagnosis, Perry Smith said, ‘How would they know? They just wanted to be entertained. Hear all the morbid details from the killer’s own terrible lips. Oh, their eyes were shining.’” pg. 181 “The rights of other people mean nothing to Perry. He has no respect for anyone.” pg. 44 ”’guaranteed treasure’ lurking in Mexican seas, Brazilian jungles.” Knees always hurt, especially when he's nervous like when he was in the bathroom at the gas station before the murder and when he was in the jail cell talking to the detectives. pg. 106 carries a lot of old possessions he can’t part with pg. 108 “I think there must be something wrong with us. To do what we did.” pg. 143 “The only real regret I have – I wish the hell my sister had been in that house.” pg. 185 “Like once when I was walking across a bridge in Japan, and a guy was standing there, I never saw him before, I just picked him up and threw him in the river.”
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