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Psychology Project - Mary Bell
Transcript of Psychology Project - Mary Bell
Works as a prostitute
Frequently absent from family
Specializes in whips and Bondages
Was 17 years old when pregnant with Mary
Alcoholic Background Background Habitual Criminal
Married Betty some time after Mary was born
Absent for most of Mary Bell's life 1959 2 years old Refuses to bond with others
Lashes out violently Multiple attempts to kill Mary by her very own mother, Betty.
Make it look accidental 1961 4 years old Attempted Murder Pushed a 3-year-old boy off an air raid shelter
Victim was severely injured Squeezed the throat of 3 6yo girl, one after another
Till each went purple Convicted Murder Squeezing the throat of a four-year-old boy, Martin Brown, until he was dead.
No marks were found on his throat
assumed he had died of eating pills. The two young killers break into a local nursery after Martin’s death and leave macabre messages about the murder. We murder, watch out.
I murder so that I may come back Two months later,
Bell strangled three-year-old Brian Howe on some waste ground. She then slashed his legs and belly with a razor and scissors
Engraved a letter "M" onto his stomach Used a pair of scissors:
Cut off some of Howe's hair,
Scratch his legs,
Mutilate his penis. 1961 - 1968 1968 Accomplice Met Norma Bell (no relation)
Couple of years older
Has learning difficulties
Easily led by the younger girl. 11 years old December 5th,
1968 Mary Bell and Norma Bell were brought to trial for the murder of Martin Brown and Brian Howe December 17th,
1968 Mary Bell found guilty of double killing
She was sentenced to life in detention after being found guilty Subjected to Sexual Abuse Psychological Theories Freud’s Psychosexual Theory Social learning theory Used as sex props by Betty
Sold off to Betty's clients Victims Observational
Punishment 1) Attention 2) Retention 3) Reproduction 4) Motivation The Modeling Process In order to learn, you need to be paying attention. 2 weeks old: Starts paying attention to a face
6 weeks old: Begin to recognise a person Memory starts at an early stage.
6 weeks old: Imitation of facial expressions!
6 months old: Begin to learn problem-solving strategies
2-3 years old: Autobiographical memory (scripts and eyewitness memory) sets in At the age of 4, which is way past the age at which attention and memory had already begun, Mary witnessed and remembered:
Sexual behavior between her mother and her clients during which her mother used whips and lashes (a dominating act)
Her mother attempting to kill Mary via strangling and drug overdose Once you have paid attention to the model and retained the information, it is time to actually perform the behavior you observed.
Highly dominant and manipulative, regularly flew into tantrums to insist her own way
Abuses younger and weaker victims, often using the method of strangling (which her mum had used on her). Most of Mary’s victims suffered from serious injuries.
Eventually, she killed two young boys when she was 10-11 years old, also by strangling. In order for observational learning to be successful,
you have to be motivated to imitate the behavior that has been modeled.
Reinforcement and punishment play an important role in motivation. Thrill of getting scot-free
Pleasure and excitement of killing
Sense of control (Targets young boys and can decide who lives and who dies) Consequence Most of human behaviors are motivated or driven by instincts or needs from the Id
Human behavior is primarily driven by the sex drive in the id.
This motivation begins in the child. Freud’s Theory Phallic Stage Oedipus Complex Electra Complex A young girl of 3-7 years of age is initially attached to her mother
Upon discovering she has no penis, she begins to get attached to her father – forming a penis envy
She begins to resent her mother for the apparent ‘castration’ and desires her father as a love object
Girl is competing with her mother for her father’s affection
She then realises that her father is unavailable to her as a love-object as he belongs to her mother
She displaces her feelings for him onto other boys
Girl starts to fear losing her mother’s love
She begins to identify with her mother – to become a woman like her
This is also to be able to be the woman her mother was, to attract the man her father is-> which is what she desires to find
A sexual identity is established What happened to Mary Bell? Mutilated Brian Howe’s penis after the murder
Was violent and unpredictable throughout her childhood
Strangled her victims to death, or in the attempts of murder
During 1st few years of life, Mary’s mother had tried to kill her on a few accounts and make it look accidental
Mother often rejected her
Mary was subjected to repeated sexual abuse, her mother forcing her from the age of four to engage in sex acts with men.
Mary was her mother’s sexual prop. Mother’s specialty was whips and bondage. Psychosocial Changes Mary was fixated in the phallic stage
As a child, Mary experienced Penis Envy in the phallic stage and had begun to resent her mother for her ‘castration’.
Resentment intensified with mother’s abuse of her
Sexually abused by men
Used as a sexual prop
Attempts to kill her
Mary starts to imitate her mother in the id desire to replace her
Violence in school, towards uncle
Strangling of young children in her neighbourhood and school
Stubbed out a cigarette on young girl’s cheek
Strangling and suffocating girls with sand Psychosocial / Cognitive Changes Because she cannot move on from her resentment and desire to replace her mother
Phallic-stage fixation strive to dominate men
Normal female development : penis envy transforms into the wish for a man and or a baby.
Unresolved Oedipal Conflict : Women in whom penis envy remained intense as the vindictive types
Seek revenge on the male through humiliation or deprivation (removing the penis from the man) - penis mutilation. Cognitive Changes Mechanism of displacement due to neurotic anxiety
Neurotic anxiety: the unconscious worry that she would lose control of her id (Vindicative tendency or sexual impulses), resulting in punishment.
Defence mechanisms helped shield her ego from the conflicts created by her id, superego, and reality.
Shift the object of her vengeance (Id) to something less dangerous than her abusers – helpless little boys "I like hurting little things that can't fight back." “I murder so that I may come back…” Conclusion Nurture? Nature or Continuous Stable Change? or Discontinuous? Universal or Contextual Mother was violent
Father was a habitual criminal
Genetical basis for Mary’s violent behaviors Subjected to repeated violence & sexual abuse since a young age
Led to believe violence is not wrong
Influenced by observation of her environment
Poor relationship with mother
Environment she grew up in Petty crime environment
STABLE and CONTINUOUS
Highly dominant, manipulative, threw tantrums to get her way
Was violent through her childhood, but violence was not addressed with adequate discipline
More violent towards boys
Led small boys to secluded areas where she claimed their lives
Less violent towards girls
Strangled them but let them go
Stem from hatred for men due to sexual abuse under her mother’s regime
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