DEFENDING THE UNABOMBER:
ANOSOGNOSIA IN SCHIZOPHRENIA
Xavier F. Amador, Ph.D., and Reshmi Paul-Odouard, M.Sc.
The use of recent psychiatric research in the defense of the ‘Unabomber’ (United
States vs. Theodore Kaczynski) is a compelling example of how the gap between
research and practice can have profound consequences on the practice of forensic
psychiatry, psychology and the judicial process. In this case, educating the law-
yers and the court about the research on poor insight in schizophrenia changed
the defense strategy and ultimately the course of the trial.
Over the last decade, we have been studying poor insight in
schizophrenia (1–8). We have conceptualized insight, the patient’s
unawareness of his illness, as a multidimensional phenomenon,
which encompasses both a lack of awareness of having a mental
disorder and/or the signs of a mental disorder. The studies have
looked at phenomenology, prognostic value, nosological utility and
etiology of poor insight in schizophrenia. In particular, recent re-
search has indicated that the etiology of poor insight is not only
due to defense mechanisms but also linked to neurological
From the Department of Psychology, New York State Psychiatric Institute,
the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia Uni-
versity, and the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Phy-
sicians and Surgeons.
Address correspondence to Dr. Xavier F. Amador, New York State Psychiatric
Institute, Department of Psychology, Unit 2, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York,
New York 10032; e-mail: email@example.com.
PSYCHIATRIC QUARTERLY, Vol. 71, No. 4, Winter 2000
0033-2720/00/1200-0363$18.00/0 2000 Human Sciences Press, Inc.