Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stockholm syndrome

In psychology, the Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. While uncommon, the FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome. The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term "Stockholm Syndrome" was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast. It was originally defined by psychiatrist Frank Ochberg to aid the management of hostage situations.

While there is still disagreement as to what factors characterize incidents that contribute to the development of Stockholm syndrome, research has suggested that hostages may exhibit the condition in situations that feature captors who do not abuse the victim, a long duration before resolution, continued contact between the perpetrator and hostage, and a high level of emotion. In fact, experts have concluded that the intensity, not the length of the incident, combined with a lack of physical abuse more likely will create favorable conditions for the development of Stockholm syndrome.
The following are viewed as the conditions necessary for the Stockholm syndrome to occur.
a) Hostages who develop Stockholm syndrome often view the perpetrator as giving life by simply not taking it. In this sense, the captor becomes the person in control of the captive’s basic needs for survival and the victim’s life itself.
b) The hostage endures isolation from other people and has only the captor’s perspective available. Perpetrators routinely keep information about the outside world’s response to their actions from captives to keep them totally dependent.
c) The hostage taker threatens to kill the victim and gives the perception of having the capability to do so. The captive judges it safer to align with the perpetrator, endure the hardship of captivity, and comply with the captor than to resist and face murder.
d) The captive sees the perpetrator as showing some degree of kindness. Kindness serves as the cornerstone of Stockholm syndrome; the condition will not develop unless the captor exhibits it in some form toward the hostage. However, captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence. If the captor is purely evil and abusive, the hostage will respond with hatred. But, if perpetrators show some kindness, victims will submerge the anger they feel in response to the terror and concentrate on the captors’ “good side” to protect themselves
In cases where Stockholm syndrome has occurred, the captive is in a situation where the captor has stripped nearly all forms of independence and gained control of the victim’s life, as well as basic needs for survival. Some experts say that the hostage regresses to, perhaps, a state of infancy; the captive must cry for food, remain silent, and exist in an extreme state of dependence. In contrast, the perpetrator serves as a mother figure protecting her child from a threatening outside world, including law enforcement’s deadly weapons. The victim then begins a struggle for survival, both relying on and identifying with the captor. Possibly, hostages’ motivation to live outweighs their impulse to hate the person who created their dilemma.

Historically explanations
Historically raptio (e.g., Rape of the Sabine women) and bride kidnapping have been (and still are in some places) very common practices. Women who were kidnapped and consistently fought back were likely to be killed or imprisoned and thus not have children. But women who bonded with and submitted to their captors were more likely to have children and their children were more likely to receive the genes that made their mothers more passive and bonding towards their captors. And over several generations, this made the population of humans more genetically prone to submission and bonding when kidnapped.
In many cases, capture may also involve the killing (or threat of killing) of the captive's relatives, thereby isolating the captive. The captive is subjected to isolation and so sees even a small act, such as providing amenities, as a great favour. Such captives may side with their captors while believing their captors have conferred on them great importance and love. Furthermore, captives who perceive themselves as the only members of their group not to have been killed may believe that they have been shown a special interest.

Psychoanalytic explanations
The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological shift that occurs in captives when they are threatened gravely but are shown acts of kindness by their captors. Captives who exhibit the syndrome tend to sympathize with and think highly of their captors, at times believing that the captors are showing them favor stemming from inherent kindness. Such captives fail to recognize that their captors' choices are essentially self-serving. When subjected to prolonged captivity, these captives can develop a strong bond with their captors, in some cases including a sexual interest.
Psychiatrist Frank Ochberg, widely credited with Stockholm Syndrome's psychiatric definition, describes it as "a primitive gratitude for the gift of life," not unlike that felt by an infant.
According to the psychoanalytic view of the syndrome, this tendency might be the result of employing the strategy evolved by newborn babies to form an emotional attachment to the nearest powerful adult in order to maximize the probability that this adult will enable—at the very least—the survival of the child, if not also prove to be a good parental figure. This syndrome is considered a prime example for the defense mechanism of identification.
Google SEO sponsored by Red Dragon Electric Cigarette Products