A cross-cultural review of sudden mass assault by a single individual in the oriental and occidental cultures

Anthony G. Hempel, Ruth E. Levine, J. Reid Meloy, Joseph Westermeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


A nonrandom sample of North American cases of sudden mass assault by a single individual (SMASI, n = 30) is compared with a nonrandom sample of Laotian amok cases (n = 18) and other amok studies. Perpetrators in both studies show evidence of social isolation, loss, depression, anger, pathological narcissism, and paranoia, often to a psychotic degree. The term 'innovative perpetrator' is reintroduced and expanded upon. Similarities among samples far outweigh differences, leading the authors to conclude that SMASI and its appearance in different cultures is not a culture-bound syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2000



  • Amok
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Forensic science
  • Homicide
  • Mass murder
  • Predatory violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics

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