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Greenson, R.R. (1950). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XIII, 1949: A Psychodynamic Analysis of the Crimes of Prejudiced and Unprejudiced Male Prisoners. William R. Morrow. Pp. 204–212.. Psychoanal Q., 19:445-446.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XIII, 1949: A Psychodynamic Analysis of the Crimes of Prejudiced and Unprejudiced Male Prisoners. William R. Morrow. Pp. 204–212.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:445-446

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XIII, 1949: A Psychodynamic Analysis of the Crimes of Prejudiced and Unprejudiced Male Prisoners. William R. Morrow. Pp. 204–212.

Ralph R. Greenson

It has been found that highly prejudiced people tend to have a poorly internalized superego, rigid ego defenses with much use of projection and reaction-formation, and to be defensively concerned with morality and the seeking of external status and power as reassurance against feelings of inner weakness. The prejudice appears to involve an external symbolization of the prejudiced person's unconscious struggles to keep his repressed feelings 'in their place'. Relatively unprejudiced subjects tend to have more internalized values and less suppressive defenses; they are apt to be more concerned with seeking love, and are more often openly ambivalent.

Morrow studied a group of prisoners at San Quentin in order to determine whether any significant correlation existed between the underlying motivational structure of a crime and the democratic versus anti-democratic orientation. By using certain psychological tests, Morrow was able to separate the prejudiced from the unprejudiced criminal. He found the prejudiced criminals motivated by a need for some external proof of their toughness, strength, power and

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masculinity. Their offenses were attempts to deny feelings of weakness and nonmasculinity. What superficially appeared as the direct expression of impulses was actually a defensive denial of impulses and feelings. It was found that the crimes of the unprejudiced criminals seemed to involve direct expressions of underlying feelings of jealousy, hostility, a need for love, etc.

It is Morrow's hypothesis that the unprejudiced criminal whose offenses express mother-oriented needs for love and dependence will be more responsive to psychotherapy than the prejudiced inmate whose crimes express antiweakness themes.

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Article Citation

Greenson, R.R. (1950). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XIII, 1949. Psychoanal. Q., 19:445-446

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