Dr. Eric D. Shaw, Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Ltd.


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Case 9: Monitoring a Cyber Stalker

Another recent case involving the potential use of WarmTouch for monitoring, involved cyber stalking by a former lover and coworker.  In this episode, a female employee who refused to re-start a relationship with a former lover on his return from overseas was receiving threatening emails from an anonymous source.  Although the stalker pretended to be of a different race and sex than her former lover, she felt sure the messages were from him.  The anger, desperation, depth of felt betrayal and threatening nature of the communications were of significant concern to the subject and her employer.  The military background of the former lover also indicated his ability to make good on his threats.  While providing consultation on the case, we also wanted to see if WarmTouch could prove sensitive to the mounting anger the subject was experiencing and especially test the software’s ability to predict, after-the-fact, the subject’s move from on-line to real-world activities.  Specifically, just before Valentine’s Day, the subject’s emails grew in length and emotional expressiveness and he also damaged the employee’s car.       

The first of the three figures below display actual WarmTouch output measures of anger and its components.  These measures show a steep increase in value in the subject’s email coinciding with his attack on the victim’s property at time period 12 (Valentine’s Day).  The next figure disaggregates two of these measures displaying the number of negatives (e.g. no, not, never, etc.)considered one of the most direct measures of anger, that peaked the same day of an attack on her vehicle while it was parked.  The next figure displays the subject’s use of the term “me,” considered by psychology professionals as a useful, sensitive, measure of victimization, because “me” can only be used as an object of the actions of others.  It is very difficult to use “me” in a sentence in which the subject is not passively being acted upon.  

Aggregate measures of Anger in a Cyber Stalker—17 Emails Over 2.5 Month Period

 Negatives in the emails of a Cyber Stalker


Use of Me as a measure of feelings of victimization in a Cyber Stalker

In our experience, persons who feel extremely angry and victimized by others are among those at greatest risk for anti-social behavior.  It was particularly interesting that this measure increased a day prior to the actual attack and before the increase in the other anger measures.  This is consistent with recent psychological research (Bushman and Baumeister, 1998) and theoretical predictions that feelings of victimization precede and contribute to an increase in the likelihood of aggression.  



© Copyright 2009 by Eric D. Shaw, Ph.D.


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