Social Influences on Behavior Essay

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Life Span Development and Personality Paper

PSY/300

May 23, 2011

Life Span Development and Personality Paper

Albert Fish was a 20th century serial killer, child rapist, sadomasochist, and cannibal. This paper is a brief description focused on the forces that impacted his life from the viewpoint of developmental psychology. The author made an effort to distinguish between the influences of hereditary and environment on psychological development. He also explains what family issues and social support systems may have influenced Albert Fish’s developmental growth and adjustment. Two different theories of personality selected by the author was applied to Fish, which includes a discussion of how each theory differs in
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He strangled her, cut her up into little pieces, and devoured her. Fish said that he got the idea of cannibalism from his uncle in 1894, which was never verified. His uncle, Captain John Daus, sailed to China during the time of a famine. Children were sold to be butchered. They were brought out in parts to be cut to one’s choosing and sold as veal. The captain told his nephew human meat did taste of veal, and the behind was the sweetest part. The captain stole two children to bring home with him. He beat their behinds for days, while they were still alive, to make it nice and tender. Albert Fish decided he had to try it. Not only did the environment in which he grew up shape Albert Fish, it is believed that his genetic influences may have had a huge impact as well. “His family had a history of mental illness: his uncle suffered from religious mania, a brother was confined in the state mental hospital, another brother had died of hydrocephalus and his sister had a "mental affliction". Three other close relatives suffered from severe mental illnesses and his mother was believed to suffer frequent aural and/or visual hallucinations” (Farlex, 2011). Albert Fish seems to fall in the postconventional moral development area of psychological development. Postconventional morality is how “people reason using abstract, self-defined moral principles that may not match conventional moral beliefs” (Kowalski & Western, 2009). Fish
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