Psychopaths' brains show differences in structure and function

Modern human brain
Modern human brain. Credit: Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Brain Collection.

Images of prisoners' brains show important differences between those who are diagnosed as psychopaths and those who aren't, according to a new study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

The results could help explain the callous and impulsive anti-social behavior exhibited by some psychopaths.

The study showed that psychopaths have reduced connections between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), the part of the brain responsible for sentiments such as empathy and guilt, and the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety. Two types of were collected. Diffusion tensor images (DTI) showed reduced structural integrity in the fibers connecting the two areas, while a second type of image that maps , a functional (fMRI), showed less coordinated activity between the vmPFC and the .

"This is the first study to show both structural and functional differences in the brains of people diagnosed with psychopathy," says Michael Koenigs, assistant professor of psychiatry in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Those two structures in the brain, which are believed to regulate emotion and social behavior, seem to not be communicating as they should."

The study, which took place in a medium-security prison in Wisconsin, is a unique collaborative between three laboratories,

UW-Madison Joseph Newman has had a long term interest in studying and diagnosing those with psychopathy and has worked extensively in the Wisconsin corrections system. Dr. Kent Kiehl, of the University of New Mexico and the MIND Research Network, has a mobile that he brought to the prison and used to scan the prisoners' brains. Koenigs and his graduate student, Julian Motzkin, led the analysis of the brain scans.

The study compared the brains of 20 prisoners with a diagnosis of psychopathy with the brains of 20 other prisoners who committed similar crimes but were not diagnosed with psychopathy.

"The combination of structural and functional abnormalities provides compelling evidence that the dysfunction observed in this crucial social-emotional circuitry is a stable characteristic of our psychopathic offenders,'' Newman says. "I am optimistic that our ongoing collaborative work will shed more light on the source of this dysfunction and strategies for treating the problem."

Newman notes that none of this work would be possible without the extraordinary support provided by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, which he called "the silent partner in this research." He says the DOC has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to supporting research designed to facilitate the differential diagnosis and treatment of prisoners.

The study, published in the most recent Journal of Neuroscience, builds on earlier work by Newman and Koenigs that showed that psychopaths' decision-making mirrors that of patients with known damage to their (vmPFC). This bolsters evidence that problems in that part of the brain are connected to the disorder.

"The decision-making study showed indirectly what this study shows directly – that there is a specific brain abnormality associated with criminal ,'' Koenigs adds.


Explore further

Brain difference in psychopaths identified

Citation: Psychopaths' brains show differences in structure and function (2011, November 22) retrieved 22 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-11-psychopaths-brains-differences-function.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Nov 22, 2011
1. There is no fact about when in the development of the mature brain this deficiency is constituted - may be in the earlier criminal grow-up or in the prison itself.
2. would be very interesting to do this kind of research on the brain of investment bankers, members of the tea party movement or chief soldiers like Blackwater guys.

bg1
Nov 22, 2011
Could this be the problem with our politicians?

Nov 22, 2011
...interesting to do this kind of research on the brain of investment bankers, members of the tea party movement or chief soldiers like Blackwater guys.


Would also be clearly interesting to do it on you. Way to take a very good science article and steer it to your political ends.

And, since you have clearly been absent during the lesson, let me enlighten you: the results in any sufficiently large group of people would reflect the results in the larger population. Thus, you'd be wasting your time by choosing groups as large as Tea Party members or investment bankers. I apologize in advance if all that logical reasoning confused you.

Nov 22, 2011
Could this be the problem with our politicians?


Possibly some. But, there are many other issues. Greed, stupidity, ignorance, idealism, naivete, confusion, pride, etc.....these are all simpler, more common problems associated with people in positions of power and wealth.

Nov 22, 2011
This is very cool. Combining DTI with fMRI gives us an up close picture of the functional brain. The DTI confirms deduced structures based on fMRI and vice versa. It would be interesting to see if any kind of therapy results in structural change in the white matter. They've already shown therapy can result in fMRI change, but does it change structure as well?

This is going to be a great diagnostic tool.

Definitely they should run a scan before releasing any prisoners for parole.

Nov 22, 2011
One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one. - Henry Miller
I think the investment bankers and politicians you're referring to are sociopathic; they wear the guise of humanity but feel nothing for their victims.

Nov 22, 2011
Possibly some. But, there are many other issues.
Personally, I'm not so sure. There's a powerful self-selection effect there, as the whole process and spectrum of activities tend to attract a very particular type of person (very much resembling a sociopath.) Then there's the added dimension of dog-eat-dog tactics and dirty tricks, as well as all forms of manipulation and corruption.

In addition to politicians, IMO any person who "works their way" to the top of a sufficiently large organization, is probably a very likely suspect for sociopathy: because at a minimum, they'd have to have made their way through a thicket of sociopaths competing for that same top position. And in such situations, nice guys (and gals) tend not to win.

Nov 23, 2011
To get a bit closer to IF there is a REAL connection between the "observatory" diagnose "psychopathy" and the more "measurable" parameters of neuronal "sub-connectivity" and functional connectivity, one shall do this in another prison, but this time this ambulant MRI-researcher shall do his thing and tell who has psychopathy diagnose based on the fMRI and DTI. Then see how accurate it is to what's been stated in medical records.

IF that repeatedly shows diagnostic precision, then we are on to something. Before that, these findings might be all air and vacuum.

Nov 23, 2011
There goes behaviorism! If psychopathy could be pinned down as a neurological problem, then humankind might be spared many a grief. We might even leave the "valley of tears" for good.

Nov 23, 2011
Twenty-first century phrenology?
The issue of importance is not whether the criminal has a cerebral disorder, but whether the criminal still represents a threat to the lives, health, or property of others or himself.

Nov 23, 2011
The issue of importance is not whether the criminal has a cerebral disorder

NB: To show that people diagnosed as psychopaths have a different brain physiology/function does not allow the conclusion that such abnormal brain physiology automatically leads to psychopathic behavior.

Nov 23, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 23, 2011
Politicians have brain?

Unfortunately.

Nov 23, 2011
The issue of importance is not whether the criminal has a cerebral disorder

NB: To show that people diagnosed as psychopaths have a different brain physiology/function does not allow the conclusion that such abnormal brain physiology automatically leads to psychopathic behavior.
It might. We don't know that YET. It might lead to laws requiring corrective therapy. This could lead to the conclusion that willpower is insufficient to overcome some personal defects.

The blind are not allowed to drive. Why should we have to wait until a psychopath exhibits the symptoms of their debility before we require it to be fixed? And why would having it fixed be anything but beneficial for both the individual and society?

Hopefully one day defects and their causes will be fixed in the womb. This includes preventing mothers from causing many through indifference and addiction.

Nov 23, 2011
The real question is: Is the depicted change in the brain a cause or a symptom?
If it's just a symptom then requiring everyone who exhibits to be 'fixed' is ethically iffy.

I'd say that unless one exhibts symptoms of psychopathy (i.e. behavioral symptoms) it's too early to force treatment. (innocent until proven guility and all that)

Such a physiological anomaly may be A cause for psychopathic tendencies. But that correlation does not seem to be established by his study.

Certainly it's an avenue of investigation worth following up on, though.

Nov 23, 2011
I'd say that unless one exhibts symptoms of psychopathy (i.e. behavioral symptoms) it's too early to force treatment. (innocent until proven guility and all that)
And I'd say that we don't yet know enough about the correlation. The dangers are extreme. Should psychopaths be allowed to raise children? Should they be allowed to be policemen or nurses?

If mandatory treatment eliminates most of violent crime, wouldn't it be worth it? Especially if it can be shown that willpower alone has no effect on psychopathic behavior?

Why should we wait until someone gets hurt before we restrict behavior? Perhaps we should let the blind drive until they have an accident. Who knows? Maybe they won't.

Nov 23, 2011
This is an interesting principal/ethical discussion, but again, let's wait to see if this fMRI and DTI precisely and repeatedly, can predict if the (I suppose not super stringent definition) diagnose "psychopathy" has been entered (by whom and on what grounds) into the "prisoners" medical record (bow)

Nov 23, 2011
If mandatory treatment eliminates most of violent crime, wouldn't it be worth it?

If you can show causation: Yes
If you can only show correlation: No (because then we're on a very dangerous slippery slope)

Perhaps we should let the blind drive until they have an accident. Who knows? Maybe they won't.

If they won't then it's not a problem - is it?

But the comparison is off.
Driving is a privilege (i.e. something entered into optionally and restricted by certain preconditions like age and the ability to demonstrate fitness to do so)

here you're talking about MANDATORY treatment for people who exhibit a certain physiological trait but have not necessarily shown any indication that this has an effect on their fitness to be part of society.

Forced personality changes (therapy) are a bit harsh for the mere suspicion of, maybe, one day becoming a psychopath, don't you think?

Nov 23, 2011
No (because then we're on a very dangerous slippery slope)
People who suffer this sort of disability uniformly experience diminished capacity to experience the positive emotions we all enjoy. They SUFFER. They would benefit as much as society, by being able to form normal relationships and stay out of prison.

This is new ground. This is not fuzzy psychology which might or might not work. It requires new ways of thinking about law and society. We will soon be able to ascertain the guilt or innocence of many people before they enter a courtroom. It would be immoral to not use technology to do this, and to prevent crime BEFORE people get hurt.

Your idea of slippery slope seems to be like saying that passing laws enables the possibility of bad laws being passed, so maybe we shouldn't have laws? Like ryggysoggen.

We punish drunk drivers BEFORE they wreck. Psychopaths need to be identified, treated or restricted BEFORE they do similar damage.

Nov 23, 2011
Forced personality changes (therapy) are a bit harsh for the mere suspicion of, maybe, one day becoming a psychopath, don't you think?
They did not ask to be psychopathic. Fixing this for them if possible is the only humane thing to do, for them and for society. If not then restricting what they can do and who they can do it to, is also right and proper. Epileptics can't fly planes. Is this unfair?

Nov 24, 2011
They did not ask to be psychopathic.

That's exactly the point: You are prepared to already classify people as psychopaths IF they show that brain anomaly (independent on whether they have ever evinced any psychopathic tendencies or not).

But are they psychopaths? Necessarily?

Given the brain's high pasticity I am not sure one could ever conclusively make that case to preemptively send people to "personality reassignment camps".

People who suffer this sort of disability uniformly experience diminished capacity to experience the positive emotions we all enjoy.

Which is a shame but no cause for forced treatment. I do not enjoy the highs (and lows) that a heroin user enjoys. Should I be forced to take heroin?

It would be immoral to not use technology to do this, and to prevent crime BEFORE people get hurt.

Thought crime? I would suggest some light reading on that subject before you propose such schemes.

Nov 24, 2011
Que Nazi similes, metaphors, poetry, youtube clips, etc also 1984, brave new world, grapes of wrath, watership down etcetc

They don't let Downs people fly planes either. Sociopaths shouldn't be cops or run daycare centers whether they exhibit symptoms or not. Period. Screening should be mandatory. Because it is now possible.

Please try not to think in metaphors.

Nov 24, 2011
Sociopaths shouldn't be cops or run daycare centers whether they exhibit symptoms or not. Period.

So are you prepared to equate a certain type of brain anomaly with a classification as psychopath - whether symptoms are exhibited or not?

If a person with Down syndrome were to pass the test as a pilot then that person would NOT be forbidden from flying a plane. The Down syndrome per se is not the reason for not having such pilots - it's their inability to pass the tests.

Please try not to think in metaphors.

Not metaphors - anlogy. What you're doing here is only a slightly more sophisticated (yet equally perverse) type of phrenology.

Nov 24, 2011
No it is YOU who are perverse! Yes!
So are you prepared to equate a certain type of brain anomaly with a classification as psychopath - whether symptoms are exhibited or not?
Absolutely. In many cases the risk is far too great to let people whose pleasure centers are stimulated by inflicting pain on others participate.
f a person with Down syndrome were to pass the test as a pilot then that person would NOT be forbidden from flying
The same with a blind person who could read an eye chart. You're being silly. This is why tests exist. Brain scans are a more efficient form of test.

Nov 24, 2011
Absolutely. In many cases the risk is far too great to let people whose pleasure centers are stimulated by inflicting pain on others participate.


So let's say you screen the entire population and find a million people with such a structure (or lack thereof in the brain). Out of those 1 million, say, about 30 will statistically act out some psychopathic deed in their lives. Is that enough to forcibly alter the personality of 1 million people?

How is this different from: "Black people are statistically more likely to commit crimes - let's force all black people into corrective therapy before the age of 16"?

The same with a blind person who could read an eye chart.

So you would forbid a blind person who shows the ability to read from reading? Now who's being silly? The final test (of anything) is not the categorization of a person in a group but their ability to pass the test.

Brain scans are a more efficient form of test.
But they are not conclusive.


Nov 24, 2011
Forget about weeding out psychopaths. Under circumstances like war, the boy next door may exhibit psychopathic behavior. We civilians never get to hear the half of it. The atrocities told to me by Vietnam vets would make your skin crawl. Very few of us know what we're capable of. The tragedy is that psychopathology can be circumvented, largely, by treating children humanely- a subject that is taboo around the world.

Nov 24, 2011
Not metaphors - anlogy. What you're doing here is only a slightly more sophisticated (yet equally perverse) type of phrenology.
No! You are the perverse one! And sorry, the article above is not pseudo-anything. Your mores are certainly pseudo as they are based on pseudoscientific disciplines like psychoanalysis which were never reliable.

Science will for instance soon be able to determine whether people are lying or not, by scanning their brains and other other methods. Lawyers and psychologists will try to convince you this is unethical because their livelihoods depend upon it.

But it is their efforts which are unethical, not the science.

Analogy - maybe we should let terrorist nations like Iran have nuke weapons. After all we can't restrict them until some religionist psychopath actually set one off in Brussels now can we? This same mindset used to apply to drunk driving. Psychopathy is just as dangerous.

Nov 24, 2011
Perhaps TK is not grasping the nature of the psychopath.

" Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are very disproportionately responsible for violent crime."

"..a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood."

"...there is little evidence of a cure or any effective treatment for psychopathy; no medications can instill empathy, and psychopaths who undergo traditional talk therapy might become more adept at manipulating others and more likely to commit crime.

...psychopathy stems from a specific neurological disorder which is present from birth
-Per the article.
Cont>>

Nov 24, 2011
The tragedy is that psychopathology can be circumvented, largely, by treating children humanely- a subject that is taboo around the world.
-TK says this without having any understanding of the illness at all.

Here is an intimately related affliction:

"Fromm first coined the term malignant narcissism in 1964, describing it as a "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil". He characterized the condition as "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity"."

-And yet TK, like AP, feels qualified to decide whether people like these should be allowed unrestricted access to people they could hurt for their own enjoyment. Like epileptics or the blind, psychopaths cannot willfully rewire their own brains. They cannot control their behavior no matter what a therapist or preacher will tell you.

We used to HAVE to wait for behavior to indicate an affliction. We can now analyze and predict it, and protect others from it.

Nov 24, 2011
Analogy - maybe we should let terrorist nations like Iran have nuke weapons.

Who gets to decide who is a 'terrorist' state? By what criterion?
By number of nations invaded without cause?
By number of dictators set up?
By number of assassination attempts on others?
By number of civilains killed?
By number of repressive regimes propped up?
By number or organizations that use terrorist methods supported?
By number of people imprisoned?

Iran is second to (by a long margin) the US in all of those. Note that the US is adamantely opposed to establishing an official criterion via the UN because they know that they would be IMMEDIATELY declared a terrorist nation.

By your logic Iran (and North Korea) should be allowed to have nukes and the US should not. (Something I don't favor. But objectively - by every law on the books - Iran has the exact same right to develop and have nukes as does the US or any other country for that matter)

Nov 24, 2011
Yeah. Back to the subject. Here is a guy who explains the dangers of psychopaths:
http://www.youtub...a_player
But they are not conclusive.
I think you mean 'probably not conclusive based on earlier and obsolete methods or because I think everybody should be given the opportunity to screw up on the off-chance that god will intervene or a miracle will happen...' etc.

Nov 24, 2011
You're no expert either on the subject, Ghost, unless you're using your own condition as an example. Most "experts" are venturing their opinion- it's not understood completely by anyone and there's no black and white in explaining it,which is your problem. You believe that things can be defined and solved in only one way, which makes you a completely rigid person. There is no system in the world that could successfully identify and protect a society from a psychopath. When a child "acts out" with cruel behavior, examine his/her home life- that will usually reveal the obvious.

Nov 24, 2011
You're no expert either on the subject, Ghost, unless you're using your own condition as an example. Most "experts" are venturing their opinion
You didn't read the article above which explains that this is a structural anomaly, and you didn't read the links I posted or the info I pasted which explains the nature of it.

So the opinions of experts and myself carry considerably more weight than your own, which carries none at all.
When a child "acts out" with cruel behavior, examine his/her home life- that will usually reveal the obvious.
You would similarly conclude that autism or bipolar syndrome were caused by poor parenting I would assume, and were only examples of 'acting out'? And if they were just given a good talking to they could be cured? Spare the rod and spoil the psycho? Yes?

Nov 24, 2011
For instance this statement
When a child "acts out" with cruel behavior, examine his/her home life- that will usually reveal the obvious.
-is a lie. I'm sure it is not your lie but one you heard in church or from some old maid, or on oprah perhaps?

Science has compiled mountains of statistics which disprove it. The gentleman in the vid I posted which you did not watch cited as an example one of the columbine killers whose brother was not a psychopath.

I am also thinking that you are using the word psychopath as a substitute for the word 'crazy' and would not know the difference between psychopathy and neurosis for instance?

hb_
Nov 25, 2011
@Otto
@antialias_physorg

Anti, you are spot on with your argument about the false positives.

Otto, we can discuss if a forced pre-emtive treatment is reasonable or not when we know how many false positives the test has. Given a sufficiently large number of false positives, it may be more efficient to incarcerate people at the lower end of the income scale, and we don't really want that, do we?

hb_
Nov 25, 2011
@Anti

About the correlation. True, correlation does not imply causation (Otto will never understand this delicate point..), but I find it hard to believe that, say, living as a psychopath would change the physiology of the brain.

I also find it hard to believe that a social cause would change a rather coarse structures of the brain. Drugs could probably do the trick, but an abusive father..?

Nov 25, 2011
If we can agree that Hitler was a psychopath,then we can conclude that his well-documented brutal physical beatings as a child contributed to his psychopathology. That's what made him "different", not an anomaly in his brain structure. Others who have been beaten as children may or may not become mass murderers,and the reasons for this are explained in works by the brilliant Alice Miller.

http://www.natura...ler.html

Nov 25, 2011
I find it hard to believe that, say, living as a psychopath would change the physiology of the brain.

That wasn't what I meant to suggest.
What I'm saying is that, even if 100% of psychopaths show this physical aberration: IF 50% of normal people show the same 'aberration' then we're not talking causation but correlation (i.e there then must be a secondary or even tertiary cause).

Showing that psychopathy and physiological change are simultaneous is not enough. You also must show that the control group does not have the aberration.

There are 4 cases in clinical trials
1)True positives (psychopath and aberration)
2)True negatives (normal person without aberration)
3)False positives (normal person with aberration) (type I error)
4)False negative (psychopath with no aberration) (type II error)

If the type I error high then the statistical significance is compromised.
If the type II error is high then the power of the statistic is low.

The article only tests 1) and 2)

Nov 25, 2011
If we can agree that Hitler was a psychopath,then we can conclude that his well-documented brutal physical beatings as a child contributed to his psychopathology.
No, 'we' can't because 'we' are not qualified to do so. And at least one of us (you) has no idea what a psychopath is or what causes the condition.

Again I suggest you actually read the article above as well as the links I provided before you venture an opinion. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Nov 25, 2011
Showing that psychopathy and physiological change are simultaneous is not enough. You also must show that the control group does not have the aberration.
I'm not sure I understand. I bet you guys would have no compunctions about correcting the type of defects which cause epilepsy or autism, whether or not these defects result in the expression of these conditions in every case. I bet you would even want to correct psychosis if it were possible to do so neurologically.

And yet you would balk at fixing obvious DEFECTS in childrens brains which may in all probability cause them to live a life devoid of normal emotion, normal relationships, with less chance of spending a significant portion of that life in prison?

Is it because society would benefit as well and not just the person born with those defects? You feel it is not right to fix people for the good of others, even when to do so might help them as well? Please clarify.

Nov 25, 2011
I bet you guys would have no compunctions about correcting the type of defects which cause epilepsy or autism, whether or not these defects result in the expression of these conditions in every case.

No. Unless symptoms are guaranteed (i.e. type I error is negligible) I'd not advocate any monkeying around inside someone's brain - be it for psychopathy, autism, epilepsy or whatever else.
And then only:
a) if symptoms are already evinced
b) if no symptoms have manifested then only if the person expressly wishes the operation performed.

which may in all probability cause them to live a life devoid of normal emotion,

That's the whole point here. The "in all probability" cannot be stated UNLESS we have a study which tests for this sort of aberration in whole population. If it turns out that this isn't a common type of aberration (and that those who have and are not psychopaths it actually DO feel they suffer) then we can talk.

Nov 25, 2011
Per the article:

"The study showed that psychopaths have reduced connections between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), the part of the brain responsible for sentiments such as empathy and guilt, and the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety."

-This means that we can know whether a person will be a psychopath or not. Testing by observation WILL give way to testing by analysis.

Irrespective of whether symptoms would ever be expressed (they would), this is a debilitating defect and correction should be mandatory.

If we can fix cleft palates and hemophilia in the womb then that's what we will do. The brain holds no special status in this respect. And no parent should have the right to intervene.

Treatment of congenital defects is already mandatory:

"To ensure that congenital hypothyroidism is identified and treated as early as possible, mandatory screening of newborns has been in place since the 1970s."

-This will only improve.

Nov 25, 2011
If you watched the vid you heard the expert recommend 'aging in isolation' for psychopaths. In other words they pose such potential danger to others that they should be allowed NO interaction whatsoever.

They are the Ted bundys and the jeffry dahmers and the josef mengeles of the world. They may make the best CEOs and politicians but you DON'T WANT THEM THERE. If there is a reliable way of FIXING them then it should be mandatory. If not then their participation in society should be restricted: no authority over others whom they could abuse.

It's funny, you all condemn these guys when they're caught stealing billions or gunning down innocent protesters in the street, but you're given a potentially reliable way of preventing this from happening and you balk.

Nov 26, 2011
Isolation, in any sense, is punishment.
How so? Your excerpt states that this is recommended for those who murder so they deserve punishment?

But society can now possibly be protected from psychopaths before they commit their crimes, before they abuse and murder and steal and otherwise ruin lives.
Research focuses on how an absence of super ego arises
Well, proper research as the article cites examines the structure of the brain itself, and can see that in psychopaths there is no connection between the part of the brain which compels them to hurt people and the part which would make them feel bad about it.

This is functionally similar to a malformed optic nerve which would leave a person without sight. You can't 'teach' a psychopath to feel; you can only teach them to pretend to feel. If you ask them if they feel and they say yes, they are lying to you.

Blind people can't drive. Psychopaths must be similarly restricted unless and until their brains can be repaired.


Nov 26, 2011
...interesting to do this kind of research on the brain of investment bankers, members of the tea party movement or chief soldiers like Blackwater guys.
...the results in any sufficiently large group of people would reflect the results in the larger population. Thus, you'd be wasting your time by choosing groups as large as Tea Party members or investment bankers. I apologize in advance if all that logical reasoning confused you.
Actually if you lurked on physorg as long as you claim, instead of the two months your profile shows, you would have learned differences in political orientation are tied to differences in the very structures of our brains http://www.physor...ain.html

An enlarged amygdala should be considered a birth defect. An in utero test could be implemented to rid society of sociopathic republicans much as Roe vs Wade cleared many violent thugs from the city streets with a 60% violent crime reduction.

Nov 26, 2011
You can't simultaneous claim there is an isn't a liberal media bias. Conservatards have NO internal consistency.
It's amazing what the profit motive will do.
@ryggesogn2 Ah I understand. You're a Ferengi! What is your favorite rule of the 500 Ferengi rules of acquisition?

Nov 26, 2011
The issue of importance is not whether the criminal has a cerebral disorder
NB: To show that people diagnosed as psychopaths have a different brain physiology/function does not allow the conclusion that such abnormal brain physiology automatically leads to psychopathic behavior.
My father became a high-grade sociopath after being hit in three pedestrian crosswalk accidents, all involving head trauma. He was so good that the psychologist who diagnosed him would not put the diagnosis in writing, lest his career be destroyed and he be left destitute.

Nov 26, 2011
An enlarged amygdala should be considered a birth defect. An in utero test could be implemented to rid society of sociopathic republicans much as Roe vs Wade cleared many violent thugs from the city streets with a 60% violent crime reduction
Indeed, and it could also be used to weed out all the ultraliberal misanthropic sociopaths.
My father became a high-grade sociopath after being hit in three pedestrian crosswalk accidents, all involving head trauma. He was so good that the psychologist who diagnosed him would not put the diagnosis in writing, lest his career be destroyed and he be left destitute.
MANY of us have suffered from our association with psychopaths. We will start by fixing them and giving back their emotions. We will cure autism, epilepsy, and psychosis in similar fashion. We will give compulsive neurotics the self-control they deserved to be born with.

We will do these things because we will be able to, by repairing the structural anomalies which cause them.

Nov 26, 2011
So let's say you screen the entire population and find a million people with such a structure (or lack thereof in the brain). Out of those 1 million, say, about 30 will statistically act out some psychopathic deed in their lives. Is that enough to forcibly alter the personality of 1 million people?
About 900,000 of those will commit an overt criminal act but most won't be caught because the deeds are premeditated and planned. So I would say yes, but for the fact that no cure exists for psychopaths and sociopaths. Sociopaths tend to mellow with age, but that is because the brighter ones learn through the school of hard knocks, after the damage is done. The average ones don't learn (they have no fear of consequences) and the mediocre ones don't care. These people cannot be cured because there is MISSING BRAIN TISSUE. It is the ABSENCE of a human quality. The doctor's task is akin to making a chimpanzee a normal member of society.

Nov 26, 2011
About 900,000 of those will commit an overt criminal act but most won't be caught because the deeds are premeditated and planned.

You are a very scary person. Chucking due process and "innocent until proven guilty" out the window on a gut feeling. Good thing you are nowhere near the law.

These people cannot be cured because there is MISSING BRAIN TISSUE.

The articel does not conclusively show a causation between the missing brain tissue and the onset of psychopathy. It certainly shows an avenue of inquiry which needs to be pursued (with double blind studies, control groups and the whole things that make a GOOD scientific study - everything that is missing basically.)

The brain has the ability to compensate for defects to some degree (e.g. stroke patients that have their speech centers destroyed can relearn language using other parts of the brain). So basing behavioral patterns on universally on one location within the brain is always very iffy.

Nov 26, 2011
Indeed, and it could also be used to weed out all the ultraliberal misanthropic sociopaths.
Such a person can't exist except as multiple personalities or an extremely twisted life. That's a person who vouches for individual rights and the inherent worth of humanity while maintaining a hopeless outlook on their lot and Machiavellian scheming to use them as cattle for his own ends.
About 900,000 of those will commit an overt criminal act but most won't be caught because the deeds are premeditated and planned.

You are a very scary person. Chucking due process and "innocent until proven guilty" out the window on a gut feeling. Good thing you are nowhere near the law.
No, people who act without emotional or fear are very scary. they're basically terminators implanted in society. Just because they're not killing or committing treachery is irrelevant. They can snap like pit bulls. Not all scorpions sting but containment is still an intelligent response.

Nov 26, 2011
The brain has the ability to compensate for defects to some degree (e.g. stroke patients that have their speech centers destroyed can relearn language using other parts of the brain). So basing behavioral patterns on universally on one location within the brain is always very iffy.
Not always. The brain is plastic but the forebrain, where planning occurs, is completely separate from the amygdala which controls fear and emotions. Only white matter fibers connect the two. That is the reptilian brain design.

Without white matter psychopaths cannot control the signal/noise ration of incoming sensation. Instead them must plot and scheme to directly control, as they have no internal control over their senses. They come to view others as threats and property to manipulate as their forebrain deems suitable. They have little insight to the ensuing devastation they inflict on themselves and others. Fear is abstracted and fear of consequences is almost nonexistent

Nov 26, 2011
We are far away from requireing any kind of surgical remedy, even for prisoners. They can't even castrate child molesters.

But as a diagnostic tool DTI with fMRI can indicate a strong tendency toward psycopathy. If the subject is in jail, he's already expressed symptoms of his brain dysfunction.
Likely the first place we'll see use of this technology would be the parole system. They can easily start asking all prisoners to do DTI and fMRI when seeking parole. Next step would be scanning every new convict. The big hurdle is cost. MRIs aren't cheap.

Contrarily,in the general population as a required preventive measure goes against presumed innocence. The only reason we can take blood from a drunk driver is because they represent a clear and immediate danger caused by an intentonal act of self-impairment. In the case of the psychpath, he can claim his psycopathy was untentional and ironically the DTI with fMRI can be used to prove he's insane and belongs in an asylum.

Nov 26, 2011
In general, all life perishes when placed in isolation. An isolated organism dies in solitary confinement. Any life placed in solitary confinement dies prematurely of isolation - the lack of mutual social interaction.
Your rather lyrical and unscientific description holds no real meaning. You could use it to scare yourself I suppose.
Frank Ockbert's "isolation" is not solitary confinement.
Nobody said it was.

Confinement is indeed misery. Just think - in the future we willbe able to fix most of the people who we now have no choice but to put here:
http://en.wikiped...Supermax

Nov 26, 2011
Contrarily,in the general population as a required preventive measure goes against presumed innocence.
The terms innocent and guilty are self-limiting. Sick and well, debilitated and rehabilitated etc might be more appropriate.
The only reason we can take blood from a drunk driver is because they represent a clear and immediate danger caused by an intentonal act of self-impairment.
A psychopath in a tank would represent a clear and immediate danger to the civilians in Baghdad. Allowing psychopaths to be soldiers or cops or caregivers when the tech existed to identify them, would be an intentional act of wanton disregard for the public safety.
In the case of the psychpath, he can claim his psycopathy was untentional and ironically the DTI with fMRI can be used to prove he's insane and belongs in an asylum
A blind person can claim he should be allowed to drive for the same reasons. Debilities limit opportunities. Psychopathy is one of the most dangerous.

Nov 26, 2011
Here is a situation we ought to want to avoid:

"Soldier Is Convicted of Killing Afghan Civilians for Sport
By WILLIAM YARDLEY
Published: November 10, 2011
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. The soldier accused of being the ringleader of a rogue Army unit that killed three Afghan civilians last year for sport, crimes that angered Afghan leaders and villagers and rattled high levels of the American military, was found guilty of all charges on Thursday."

-You agree?

Nov 26, 2011
I mistook the top above statement of yours to be solitary confinement. What do you exactly mean when you state "NO interaction whatsoever"?
As I said in the next paragraph:

"restricted: no authority over others whom they could abuse."

-It is hard to imagine how your scandinavian island paradise could be no different than what psychopaths had on the outside: that being an ample number of weak and unsuspecting victims, which they would spend most of their time victimizing. Because that's what they do.

I suppose they could victimize each other. There would be size and intellect differences, and the larger and more clever would certainly feel more at home. But their victims would soon be crying 'punishment!' which would lead to further restrictions. I guess the experts would have to work things out. Like Dante.

Nov 26, 2011
You feel the article cites proper research. We point out what was not done properly.
And just who and what are you exactly? Have you published your analysis yet?

No matter. The proper approach is to examine the structure and function of the brain to find the cause of aberrant behavior. Evolutionary psychology has replaced earlier disciplines.
And we further point out, research not done properly, has nothing to offer in the way of help, solutions or conclusions.
Well it doesn't HAVE to does it? Research uncovers more valid info. Work like this will be used by others to look for fixes for these abnormalities. And fixes for psychopathic brains won't be drugs or group therapy either, I'm sure.

Nov 27, 2011
"Researchers within evolutionary psychology have proposed several evolutionary explanations for psychopathy. One is that psychopathy represents a frequency dependent socially parasitic strategy."

"Evolutionary psychologists suggest that EP is not simply a subdiscipline of psychology but that evolutionary theory can provide a foundational, metatheoretical framework that integrates the entire field of psychology, in the same way it has for biology."

"Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors."

-So. Neuropsychology is a subdiscipline of EP. The people in the article do not qualify themselves.

Nov 27, 2011
You defend improperly done research with "Well, it doesn't HAVE to [be done properly] does it?"
That line of reasoning is foreign to science.
You seem to know a little. I suppose you know that science is done by many different groups which build on the work of others. The people above would make discoveries and provide insights that other teams would use to develop applications and therapies. Your pretense is a little unscientific I think.

These gentlemen are not neurosurgeons, genetic engineers, neuroengineers, etc who may be the people actually developing the therapies. Klar?

I tend to think that the only evolutionary explanation for this sort of defect, is that our brains have grown too large and complex, and that defects are the norm not the exception.

Nov 27, 2011
You defend improperly done research with "Well, it doesn't HAVE to [be done properly] does it?"
That line of reasoning is foreign to science.
You seem to know a little. I suppose you know that science is done by many different groups which build on the work of others. The people above would make discoveries and provide insights that other teams would use to develop applications and therapies. You misread my statement or chose to quote me out of context. Naughty. And your pretense is a little unscientific I think.

These gentlemen are not neurosurgeons, genetic engineers, neuroengineers, etc who may be the people actually developing the therapies. Klar?

I tend to think that the only evolutionary explanation for this sort of defect, is that our brains have grown too large and complex, and that defects are the norm not the exception.

Nov 27, 2011
That casts doubt on researchers searching for a psychiatric medical diagnosis for the word 'psychopath', where the word 'psychopath' does not exist for psychiatry.
We think you should research a little before you post? You would appear less unclever.

"Despite being currently unused in diagnostic manuals, psychopathy and related terms such as psychopath are still widely used by mental health professionals and laymen alike. In particular, NATO has funded a series of Advanced Study Institutes on psychopathy, both before and after the publication of DSM-III. Researcher Robert Hare has been a particular champion of the term; his Hare Psychopathy Checklist is the standard tool for differentiating between those with antisocial personality disorder and the subset who are psychopaths."

Nov 27, 2011
We also assume that the experts who wrote the paper are adequately familiar with the nomenclature. If not, prof Newman should be embarrassed to find the term psychopath on his university bio page?
http://glial.psyc...taff/116

Nov 27, 2011
So sorry bausch you have revealed the depths of your shallowness. Also your lack of understanding of the subject, as well as an appreciation for published research.

Guys with MRIs are usually not allowed to experiment on prisoners unless they are acknowledged pros. From major universities.

And as one for whom words seem to hold such significance, you spelled prof Newmans name wrong. Unglaublich.

Nov 28, 2011
Could this be the problem with our politicians?

Only if somebody finds out that most of them are sociopaths.

Nov 28, 2011
You feel their work is properly done. That's makes any constructive criticism unfounded.
You feel their work is improperly done because they use a word you don't approve of.

Bwaahaaahaaahaaaa!!!

Your focus is on me and allegations asserting "depths of shallowness", "lack of understanding", "lack of appreciation", "lack of research before posting", "less unclever appearance", "knowing little", "naughtiness", "pretenious", "unscientific", "quoting out of text", "misread statements", etc., etc.
You forgot dweebish inanity. Bausch.

Nov 28, 2011
If we can agree that Hitler was a psychopath,then we can conclude that his well-documented brutal physical beatings as a child contributed to his psychopathology.-Telekinetic
- No, 'we' can't because 'we' are not qualified to do so. And at least one of us (you) has no idea what a psychopath is or what causes the condition.-Ghost

Ah , but here, you're qualified to decide that these figures are psychopaths:
"They are the Ted bundys and the jeffry dahmers and the josef mengeles of the world. They may make the best CEOs and politicians but you DON'T WANT THEM THERE."- Ghost
You see, Ghost, you're either a dope, or perhaps you idolize Hitler? Are you one of those who believes Hitler was a genius?

Nov 29, 2011
Ah , but here, you're qualified to decide that these figures are psychopaths:
I am actually as I know how to use GOOGLE and look them up.

"Ted Bundy is probably the most often used example of a psychopathic serial murderer.  Bundy's life has been so well documented through books, television programs and interviews that one can easily see many of the traits previously mentioned that describe the psychopath."

"As psychopathic serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilson expressed, violent psychopaths..."

-It only takes 2 minutes to show how you are too lazy to keep from looking like a dweeb again. What are the chances your next post doing the same?

Nov 29, 2011
You just answered my question.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more