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Extreme Offenders: Psychological Insights

The names: infamous. The crimes: extreme. The insights into the darkest corners of behavioral psychology and the disturbing ways serial killers think and act: illuminating.
Extreme Offenders: Psychological Insights is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 17.
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Rated 1 out of 5 by from Extreme Offenders Although the subject (extreme criminals) is fascinating, the instructor is not. She reads from a teleprompter and does not read it well. I just finished a course about Hitler's rise to power with a Professor Childers. He too, has no props yet his delivery, his speaking acumen made it a wonderful class and I will take more courses from him. Perhaps a presentation of Criminal Offenders where the instructor talks from the heart a few notes might be interesting. I cannot recommend taking one from this instructor.
Date published: 2022-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Collection of Crazies I hope those who devote their lives to helping prevent these atrocities benefit from this detailed analysis.
Date published: 2022-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting I really enjoyed this series. The speaker was very good! At the beginning of each lesson there is a warning that the contact is graphic. Please take this seriously as this course is not for children.
Date published: 2021-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very detailed accounts of some "?????" people. VERY detailed account of the lives of some serial killers (spree killers, mass murders). Some notables John Gacy, Ted Bundy, Jeff D, and some not so widley known. It showed that it's difficult to profile or categorize murders/rapists based on the events in their childhoods or the way they chose to live their lives. Why someone becomes an extreme offender and others don't (even under similiar circumstances) is unknown and shows that there is NO single bucket to which you can say whether one person will become a monster of humanity. I was hoping there would be much, much more extreme offenders discussed - even at a minimum - so some common 'things' in these peoples' lives can be seen. Dr Ramsland also shows respect to the victims by showing NO gory crime scene photos or images of any victim at all, but you will want to take the disclamer at the beginning of each lesson seriously.
Date published: 2021-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I had expected This is mostly case summaries, using the cases to expound on various theories. At first, I really didn't think I was getting much from it but, as the course went on, I found it better and better. I enjoyed Dr. Ramsland's delivery, and the course flew by. It wasn't life changing, and I don't feel like an expert in forensic psychology, but I definitely know more than I did.
Date published: 2021-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gruesome truth Hard to watch at times, the series discusses some of the most horrific murders ever committed. As a bonus, it offers a psychological analysis of the perpetrators' motives.
Date published: 2021-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great topics! I have bought several DVD's over the past year. I am always extremely satisfied with the quality and content. One time I called for assistance and the person was very courteous and helpful. Love the sales!
Date published: 2021-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect for the Halloween Season! I debated whether to buy this course, because I've already read and watched so much on the topic of forensic science, but in retrospect, I am so glad I "took the plunge." She covers individuals I've never heard of, and her vignettes remind me of man's and woman's capacity for evil, and just how depraved the human being can be: You can never really know what's going on inside a person's head, until they act on it! So yes, I do recommend it, even if you're a person who's already read up on the subject! Great course!
Date published: 2021-10-15
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Professor of Forensic Psychology Katherine Ramsland distills her years of experience studying extreme offenders into 12 fascinating episodes that plunge you inside the troubled minds and infamous crimes of serial killers, spree killers, and mass murderers, including Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.


Katherine Ramsland
Katherine Ramsland

Using penetrating insights from psychology, we’ll deconstruct the “whats” and “whys” of some of the most notorious killers of all time.


DeSales University

Katherine Ramsland is a Professor of Forensic Psychology and the Assistant Provost for Special Programs at DeSales University. She holds graduate degrees in Forensic Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Philosophy. She has been honored as a distinguished alumna by Northern Arizona University and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The author of more than 1,000 articles and 68 books, Katherine spent five years working with Dennis Rader on his autobiography Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer. Among her other books are How to Catch a Killer, The Psychology of Death Investigations, The Mind of a Murderer, Beating the Devil’s Game, and The Devil’s Dozen: 12 Notorious Serial Killers Caught by Cutting-Edge Forensics. Her background positioned her to assist former FBI profiler John Douglas on his book The Cases That Haunt Us and to cowrite books with former FBI profilers Gregg McCrary and Mark Safarik. She also coauthored The Real World of a Forensic Scientist with Elaine M. Pagliaro and renowned forensic criminalist Henry C. Lee. She blogs regularly for Psychology Today.

Katherine trains law enforcement professionals and speaks internationally about forensic psychology, investigative psychology, jury dynamics, suicidology, and extreme offenders. She is an executive producer of Murder House Flip and has consulted for CSI, Bones, and The Alienist. She has also appeared on more than 200 documentaries and shows, including 20/20, 48 Hours, and Nightline. She is a go-to consultant regarding perpetrators of the most deviant forms of criminal behavior.

By This Professor

Extreme Offenders: Psychological Insights
Extreme Offenders: Psychological Insights


Rage and the Serial Killer: Joseph Vacher

01: Rage and the Serial Killer: Joseph Vacher

Forensic psychology first got its start in the late 19th century, which is where this series begins. Joseph Vacher’s vicious spate of murders in France, earning him the name “the South-East Ripper,” would make him an instructive subject on compulsive rage, manipulation, and violent sexual domination.

39 min
Cruelty and Lust Murder: Peter Kürten

02: Cruelty and Lust Murder: Peter Kürten

It’s the rare type of criminal who becomes sexually aroused by the sight of their victim’s blood. A classic lust killer, Peter Kürten demonstrates how a lack of remorse, coupled with narcissism and the need for violence as a stimulant, encourages the conditions for paraphilias and serial sexual murder.

35 min
Killing Husbands for Gain: Belle Gunness

03: Killing Husbands for Gain: Belle Gunness

Some extreme offenders are motivated by anger and lust; some just want money. Meet Belle Gunness, the enigmatic “Indiana Ogress” of the early 1900s who drew the attention of some of the world’s most prominent criminologists in search of psychological reasons why a woman could be so bloodthirsty.

35 min
A Life for a Life: Leonarda Cianciulli

04: A Life for a Life: Leonarda Cianciulli

Some extreme offenders operate with a firm sense of purpose while others are simply delusional. Unlike other extreme offenders in this series, Leonarda Cianciulli believed in the supernatural. In fact, her decision to kill was justified as an act of faith, love, and protection—namely, to spare the life of her military-age son, Giuseppe.

35 min
Deceptions of a Fatal Chameleon: Ted Bundy

05: Deceptions of a Fatal Chameleon: Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is practically synonymous with the term “serial killer.” He presents the allure of the attractive, confident narcissist who firmly believes he is untouchable. Take a closer look at how, in the end, Bundy’s distorted perceptions of reality undermined him and proved he was not that special or unique.

35 min
Comorbid with Serial Murder: Rodney Alcala

06: Comorbid with Serial Murder: Rodney Alcala

In this discussion of the serial murderer Rodney Acala (who also appeared on the The Dating Game TV show), take a closer look at the nature of psychopathy. During the time of Acala’s early psychological evaluations, it seems likely that psychopathic traits—impulsivity, grandiosity, lack of empathy, and manipulativeness—were misdiagnosed as other conditions.

33 min
The Path to Psychopath: Edmund Kemper

07: The Path to Psychopath: Edmund Kemper

Co-ed killer Edmund Kemper’s case demonstrates how deviant murderous thoughts that become acts can start while the perpetrator is quite young. There exists, fortunately, a treatment program designed to treat specific personality and behavioral issues, and to help re-socialize persistently aggressive juvenile offenders.

35 min
Need to Harm: Joseph DeAngelo

08: Need to Harm: Joseph DeAngelo

What makes an extreme offender successful? Use Joseph DeAngelo, the Golden State Killer, as a lens through which to study how major categories of predatory rapists (the “gentleman rapist,” the power-assertive rapist, the anger-retaliatory rapist, and the sexual sadist) set goals, identify escape routes, evaluate obstacles, and react to cues.

36 min
The Mask of Insanity: John Wayne Gacy

09: The Mask of Insanity: John Wayne Gacy

Begin looking at claims about mental illness and its impact on aberrant behavior with the case of John Wayne Gacy, who killed at least 33 young men—but who also resided for several years over the decomposing bodies in the crawlspace under his house. Why did his case so confuse a jury?

37 min
Isolation of a Zombie Maker: Jeffrey Dahmer

10: Isolation of a Zombie Maker: Jeffrey Dahmer

Why do homicidal sex offenders report mostly deviant sexual fantasies and tend to mutilate their victims? Get inside the mind of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who exemplifies how predatory homicidal offenders can often show a greater incidence of fantasy based in paraphilias than non-homicidal offenders.

35 min
Dracula Delusions: Richard Trenton Chase

11: Dracula Delusions: Richard Trenton Chase

While some extreme offenders might fake a disorder when the stakes are high for punishment, sometimes a serious mental instability has been well documented in an offender’s past. Case in point: Richard Trenton Chase, whose history of mental illness manifested in some truly bizarre—and truly bloodthirsty—behavior.

35 min
The Retribution-Day Killer: Elliot Rodger

12: The Retribution-Day Killer: Elliot Rodger

Unlike mass murderers, who kill four or more people in a single event and at a single location, a spree killer slaughters three or more people in at least two locations. Here, meet Elliot Rodger, a spree killer and a symbol of justified violence to men known as “incels,” or involuntary celibates.

38 min