This week, on February 16, a scuffle took place near the gates of NSTU. 22-year-old graduate student Denis Miller stabbed his classmate, 26-year-old Denis Gubarev, with a knife several times. The young man died in an ambulance.
On the same day, a farewell note written in advance was published on Miller’s VKontakte page using a timer. In it, the student confesses to the planned murder and names the motive. This is not the only time that people use social media to be recognized for something.
Is it possible to identify a criminal or suspect a person with serious psychological problems based on a profile on a social network? What details should you pay attention to when viewing other people’s pages? We asked psychologists to analyze the posts and records of Denis Miller.
Psychologists have studied the social networks of the alleged killer of NSTU student
Now the post of Denis Miller on the social network “VKontakte”, in which he explains why he decided to kill, has collected more than 8000 reposts and a thousand likes. In the first hours after publication, it was actively commented on, but later comments on the post were hidden.
On his page, Miller often posted personal notes – he talked about his inner state, shared collections of music. There are also references to Freud’s theory and psychology in general – Miller studied at the master’s degree at NSTU in the direction of “psychology” “. The scientific supervisor of the work was one of the teachers of the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy Lyudmila Kavun – she refused to speak with the NHS.
In addition to the entries on his personal page, Denis Miller published stories of his own composition in his group “Miller, Kevorkian and Moreau”. The first post appeared there on January 27 – a few weeks before the tragedy.
What do they say about a person on his social network?
According to the psychotherapist Igor Lyakh, now in different countries they are developing automated mechanisms that could prevent crimes through social networks, but so far such algorithms have not been developed:
– There are some developments, but it is not yet possible to reliably guarantee the probability of a certain act only with the help of text. If we are talking about self-disclosure of a person who is ready to commit a socially dangerous or self-damaging action, it is still impossible to predict this accurately. Science has not yet reached this point. There are authors who claim that they can do this, but when we look at their evidence base, it turns out that the sample of examples is not accidental.
Igor Lyakh is a psychotherapist of the European register, a psychoanalyst at the Insight clinic. Active member of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League. Awarded with a diploma of the competition “Faces of 2008 – professionals of Siberia” in the nomination “Psychotherapist of the Year”.
If we talk about analyzing a person’s page, then the specialist recommends paying attention to how the user expresses his attitude towards other people:
– We can talk about humanity or inhumanity in relation to another. When we see signs of another person’s dehumanization, we become anxious. But this is even intuitive: it is associated with insults, with violations of ethics. For example, the use of profanity against a specific person can also be an alarming sign, says Igor Lyakh.
Subscriptions to certain groups, photos and music that a person shares on his page can also be warning signs. Nevertheless, Igor Lyakh emphasizes that all these signs are indirect and cannot be a complete guarantee that a person is capable of a crime:
– It should be understood that we are faced with post-facto analysis. We may have the illusion that we could have prevented this, but it will be dictated by our desire to prevent. Often society begins to blame loved ones: “You could have done something.” But this is the trouble with this kind of disorder – a person, for quite a long time, has been developing a kind of tolerance among others for his abnormal statements. It is very painful to realize that your loved one falls into a disorder, and our psyche in these situations protects us and deprives us of the opportunity to objectively consider something, ” explains Igor Lyakh.
Was it predictable?
According to the practicing clinical psychologist Alexei Mosin, research on the topic “what his profile on the social network says about a person” is one of the topical modern trends in psychology. A page on the Internet, like any product of human activity, is projective in nature – that is, through it, the user somehow projects his attitude towards himself, people, and the world.
Alexey Mosin is a practicing clinical psychologist, teacher of psychology, and a member of the Association for Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy (AKPP).
– If we observe any products of this activity, we can draw indirect or direct conclusions. If the page fills up every day and reflects the dynamics of the experiences that are inside a person, we can judge by it. But again, how to judge? Trends can be clearly traced. Now we cannot objectively judge, because a tragic event has happened. We already know about what happened and, analyzing, we can “rake in” the facts, – the psychologist emphasizes.
The answer to the question: “Was it possible to predict a similar situation?”, According to Alexei Mosin, will be rhetorical. You can often find pages of people with different content and thoughts, including aggressive ones, which in the end do not reach implementation. At the same time, people with blank or “quiet” pages can commit deviant actions. “Therefore, in the light of the fact that the analysis is carried out after the happened event, we can fall into a scientific error – to adjust the facts to what happened,” warns Alexey Mosin.
If we talk about the tendencies that can be seen on Denis Miller’s page, the specialist highlights sociopathic tendencies, sublimated aggression with elements of sadism, narcissism and infantilism:
– A person maintains a page constantly, he reflects certain ideas. There is sometimes such “emotional exhibitionism.” We observe certain narcissistic tendencies when we have our own value system. Roughly speaking: “there is my opinion and wrong” – and it is broadcast in different posts. A person points out about experience, about despair in life, about pressure from outside, or a person exerts this pressure on himself. Often he asks rhetorical questions: how to get out of certain situations, he writes a lot about sublimation. The main need for all this “emotional exhibitionism” is to be heard. This is driven by some kind of deep self-doubt. Low self-esteem and fear of rejection intensify this atmosphere of inner experience. This leads to an accumulation of aggression. We also see a tendency of inconsistency between the reality of life and the ideal picture.
The expert, relying on Miller’s posts on the social network, suggests that the process of suppressing aggression lasted a long time and came across a deep trauma of rejection – parting with a girl:
– Despite his words that jealousy has nothing to do with it, I hardly believe in it. Because the trend is twisted around the girl, and it is in her address that he writes the most caustic, most affectively saturated comments. In fact, this is a question related to the accumulation of anger both against the girl and the guy who, in his opinion, “took her away”. Was it possible to predict that it would end with some kind of planned or unplanned aggression? We will never be able to say this exactly. There were no direct indications of this.
An interested psychologist, according to Alexei Mosin, could have noticed similar features in Miller, but it is unlikely to suggest an outcome.
The expert also mentioned Denis Miller’s group: most of the posts there are “gloomy”, each text contains certain aspects of aggression.
– For the last 2-3 weeks, he has been accumulating aggression. Narcissism and even a certain infantilism can be seen on the page. Because the way of resolving the conflict that was chosen is very destructive and absolutely not constructive. This suggests that a person does not have formed mechanisms for coping and overcoming: to resolve the situation, to rebuild his system of values, to let go, – explains Alexey Mosin.