Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Inside the Mind of Joran van der Sloot

A Textbook Case

Whatever makes van der Sloot do what he does will undoubtedly remain a source of debate for some time to come, and will involve more discussions of his parents, upbringing, and the genesis of antisocial psychological traits. Meanwhile, according to former FBI profiler Clint van Zandt, van der Sloot's behavior is par for the course for someone afflicted with an uncommon, yet familiar personality disorder. Van der Sloot, van Zandt told truTV, is a specimen of the two to four percent segment of any population who have a sociopathic, psychopathic, or antisocial personalities. "[Joran] is a pathological liar, and I think the only time he will tell the truth about anything is when he believes it is in his best self interest at the exclusion of anyone else on the planet," said van Zandt.

Dr. Steven Diamond
Dr. Steven Diamond

While Van der Sloot seems to many to suffer from a personality disorder of some sort, it is still impossible to pinpoint what motivates him constantly to lie and capitalize on the pain and misfortunes of others with little or no remorse. He may meet the criteria for antisocial personality disorder, although "it is inappropriate to make such a serious and stigmatic diagnosis at a distance, without ever having evaluated the defendant in person," Dr. Stephen Diamond, a psychologist specialized in forensics, told truTV. "Van der Sloot also seems to manifest many of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, or at least exhibits narcissistic traits including grandiosity, arrogance, a sense of entitlement, interpersonal exploitation, lack of empathy, and severe narcissistic rage," Diamond said. "This is why I see defendants such as this as suffering from 'psychopathic narcissism.'"

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