What is wrong with Jodi Arias?

Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder yesterday for killing her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Authorities said she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Obviously something is wrong with her, because when normal people kill in self-defense, as she claims, they aren’t as vicious and gruesome as she was. But what is her diagnosis?

A defense expert diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. A prosecution expert diagnosed borderline personality disorder. A psychiatrist writing for Psychology Today evaluated whether she is a sociopath, but pointed out that her antisocial behavior seemed focused only on her victim.

I thought she was amazingly calm in her interview after her conviction, when she said she’d rather die than spend her life in prison. That is certainly a sociopathic attitude.

Whatever her disorder, she has certainly kept people glued to their televisions for months.

Jodi Arias convicted of first-degree murder, on LATimes.com.

Jodi Arias says she prefers death penalty in post-conviction interview, on FoxNews.com.

Is Jodi Arias a sociopath? on PsychologyToday.com.

Does Jodi Arias have borderline personality disorder, on PsychologyToday.com.

Jodi Arias has post-traumatic stress disorder, psychologist says, on ABCNews.go.com.


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27 Comments on "What is wrong with Jodi Arias?"

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It was very clear to me watching the videos that she is a sociopath. Her laughing, headstand, and singing before she was charged, and her asking if she could make herself look good for the mugshot were giveaways. But I felt pretty certain after watching her flat affect during her testimony and that smirk breaking through every once in a while. And the creepy act of sending flowers to her bf’s grandmother was the piece de resistance. Who does that? From what I know of the borderline pathology, those behaviors were not consistent with that.

Actually, the evidence lines up much more with her story than the state’s. She was acting in self-defense against a violent man, known to lose his temper and one who had degraded her many times before. She knew what he was capable of. After she fired the first shot, it’s likely that fight/flight responses, driven by the amygdala, not the rational brain, took over. Her flat affect during testimony is something that her legal advisors would have told her to do. I remember the case of wrongly convicted baby murderer Lindy Chamberlain (her character was played by Meryl Streep in a movie) – because she was told to be as emotionless as possible, it was used against her. The public was sure she was guilty. I myself was told to appear that way at family court appearances. When you consider the context of Jodi’s story and all the evidence, her story is highly plausible.


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