September 23, 2023

A brand new examine reveals that organized crime members have a nostril for concern, or a minimum of a eager eye for fearful facial expressions.

New analysis from Italy’s College of Pavia has discovered that members of organized crime teams have a heightened capability to acknowledge concern in others.

The study, printed on February 1 within the journal Cognition and Emotion, means that emotion recognition skills could also be strategically utilized by organized crime members to realize their illicit targets.

It additionally offers new perception into the emotional abilities vital for these in organized crime to exert management and keep energy over their territories and friends.

Testing the concern face behind bars

The examine was performed in two Italian penitentiaries. The individuals had been all males, native or extremely proficient Italian audio system, who had no historical past of neurological or psychiatric problems.

The 100 prisoners within the examine had been divided into two teams: one group of fifty organized crime offenders, and one other group of fifty non-organized crime offenders. A management group of fifty non-offenders was additionally included.

Knowledgeable consent was obtained from all individuals, they usually had been assessed for cognitive functioning, reasoning capability, anxiousness, despair, and psychopathic traits.

The Emotion Recognition Task (ERT) was used to evaluate the individuals’ capability to acknowledge facial expressions of emotion. This process consists of a sequence of pictures of faces displaying completely different feelings, and the individuals are requested to establish the emotion being expressed. The feelings examined embody concern, happiness, and disgust.


The outcomes confirmed that organized crime offenders had been higher in a position to acknowledge fearful facial expressions than non-organized crime offenders and non-offenders.

How significantly better? For each one-unit enhance in concern recognition scores, the percentages of belonging to the OC group elevated by an element of 5.

The examine additionally discovered that the outcomes weren’t influenced by anxiousness, despair, or psychopathic traits.

Why are organized crime members higher at recognizing a fearful face?

The researchers recommend that OC members might have explicit emotional competencies to exert energy over focused people to manage territories and achieve respect of their group.

For instance, OC members might use their heightened capability to acknowledge fearful facial expressions to intimidate others through the precise or potential use of threats and violence.

This, in flip, might enable them to achieve respect and set up hierarchies of energy throughout the OC group.

Limitations and future instructions

This examine has some limitations. For instance, the outcomes might not be generalizable to different OC teams, as there are several types of mafias on the planet, such because the Chinese language and Russian mafias and the Mexican cartel, whose inner cultures and social organizations differ from each other.

Likewise, the examine didn’t assess the power to acknowledge different feelings, akin to happiness and disgust, which may be essential for social interactions.

This examine provides to the rising physique of analysis on the emotional intelligence of criminals, and provides a glimpse into the talents that could be utilized by organized crime members to realize their targets.

So, the subsequent time you come face-to-face with a member of the mafia, beware: they may simply be studying your feelings like a criminal offense novel.

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