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  1. #61
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberries View Post
    ii've read studies that claim around 20 - 25% of the prison population are psychopaths. this is one of the reasons why sending low-level offenders to prison is a really stupid idea - they get to make friends with manipulative psychopaths.
    True.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    lol

    I always wondered who did that.
    Some sociopaths are less subtle than others.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
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  2. #62
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    If I answered yes to a couple of these, I'd get rid of the person. I'm picky, yes.

    I've thought about these people, and I think I have even met a couple of them, but I still haven't met anyone clearly evil. Sure, they are not the people I would hang out with, and they are a drag, but I still tend to consider them more "confused" than evil. This makes me feel pretty optimistic about humanity. It might be, of course, that I've never met a psychopath.
    I've known one person in recent years who fits a lot of the description far too closely. I also leaned more towards considering him "confused" than "sociopath", but I'm not sure if that's just me being a sucker or over-optimistic. Conversely, I wonder if describing him as a sociopath might be over the top.

    But...looking at those questions, I would answer "yes" to 10 out of 13, at least a lot of the time. And the other three, maybe some of the time. So...yeah.

    I do have to take into account the fact that I had an unrequited crush on this person for a long time, and that could obviously distort my perception of him in various directions/ways, or make me more sensitive to certain of his comments and actions. However, it does seem to fit a little too well. He's mostly out of my life now and I should really keep it that way. Whenever I think about getting in touch, I step back and ask myself...why? What good did I ever get out of my friendship with him or could I ever hope to get? That makes me reconsider pretty quickly.
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  3. #63
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    Lone sociopaths aren't much to worry about. Easily recognized and avoided imo. The real horror is when they are in a pack, as in leaders, an occupation they typically will be attracted towards. And Fe each others. The people are generally helpless against such brute force. Like lamb that goes to the slaughterhouse. If you don't feel sorry for those you are probably an sociopath, and your so called empathy is a constructed one. I'm pretty sure most sociopaths are not aware they are one. If they have power over you? I'm not sure what you can do, or even if it's anyone's fault. The system should always incorporate fail safe against this imo.

    And I think it's human nature, that is the most scary part. *looks in the mirror*

    That estimates says the male, 97%. And that sociopaths mostly go by undetected...hmm...what does that mean? I suspect there are huge dark numbers in the 3-4% estimate.

  4. #64
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I've known one person in recent years who fits a lot of the description far too closely. I also leaned more towards considering him "confused" than "sociopath", but I'm not sure if that's just me being a sucker or over-optimistic. Conversely, I wonder if describing him as a sociopath might be over the top.
    I think that's why the criteria listed are useful. Most of us automatically shrink from labelling someone we know in this way, but if the majority of those points ring true, it's impossible to argue that this person is anything other than a negative influence in your life.

    I also think the whole excusing the person as "confused" is pretty common. It's also projective - they confuse us but they are seldom confused about what they are doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
    And I think it's human nature, that is the most scary part. *looks in the mirror*
    Actually, it's quite the opposite. That's why we find it so impenetrable and chilling.
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  5. #65
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    I think that's why the criteria listed are useful. Most of us automatically shrink from labelling someone we know in this way, but if the majority of those points ring true, it's impossible to argue that this person is anything other than a negative influence in your life.

    I also think the whole excusing the person as "confused" is pretty common. It's also projective - they confuse us but they are seldom confused about what they are doing.
    Yes...I think the article pointed out that at the very least, if you answer yes to most of those points, the person is a highly negative influence. You might not even have to lose sleep over whether or not they qualify as "sociopath". Although it isn't very nice to think that someone you've tried to be friends with, or been involved with, or wanted to be involved with, or whatever, might be a sociopath.
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    Actually, it's quite the opposite. That's why we find it so impenetrable and chilling.
    Non humans?

    I'm a bit scared by your pov. I think sociopaths are part of human nature, how could this exist otherwise?

    It's more a question of how not have them hurt you. I'd rather not look at them as non humans. It's a scary direction. You know. When I read the OP I couldn't help notice that most of the criteria was about perceptions. So that made me wonder, how easily can the roles be reversed. That the sociopath thinks the non sociopath is a sociopath. Ala the inquisition, or any such episode of human history. It's not a pretty picture.

  7. #67
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    The true sign of the sociopath: the person who doesn't understand that people aren't inherently bad/evil in their own opinions or motivations unless they have a very serious problem.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Yes...I think the article pointed out that at the very least, if you answer yes to most of those points, the person is a highly negative influence. You might not even have to lose sleep over whether or not they qualify as "sociopath". Although it isn't very nice to think that someone you've tried to be friends with, or been involved with, or wanted to be involved with, or whatever, might be a sociopath.
    I know. It's kind of horrifying.

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
    I'm a bit scared by your pov. I think sociopaths are part of human nature, how could this exist otherwise?
    The article I cited called them "a different kind of human". I think, if 97% of people don't behave in this way, because 97% of people have a conscience, then calling it "human nature" is a bit misleading. It's an aberration. Perhaps, according to game theory / evolutionary psychology an adaptive aberration, but an aberration nonetheless.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
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  9. #69
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Just contributing some articles on this subject. *edit: links fixed now!

    Suffering Souls
    The search for the roots of psychopathy.
    by John Seabrook
    November 10, 2008
    The New Yorker

    Excerpt:

    The Western New Mexico Correctional Facility sits in high-desert country about seventy miles west of Albuquerque. Grants, a former uranium boomtown that depends heavily on prison work, is a few miles down the road. There’s a glassed-in room at the top of the prison tower, with louvred windows and, on the ceiling, a big crank that operates a searchlight. In a box on the floor are some tear-gas shells that can be fired down into the yard should there be a riot. Below is the prison complex—a series of low six-sided buildings, divided by high hurricane fences topped with razor wire that glitters fiercely in the desert sun. To the east is the snow-covered peak of Mt. Taylor, the highest in the region; to the west, the Zuni Mountains are visible in the blue distance.

    One bright morning last April, Dr. Kent Kiehl strode across the parking lot to the entrance, saying, “I guarantee that by the time we reach the gate the entire inmate population will know I’m here.” Kiehl—the Doc, as the inmates call him—was dressed in a blue blazer and a yellow tie. He is tall, broad-shouldered, and barrel-chested, with neat brown hair and small ears; he looks more like a college football player, which was his first ambition, than like a cognitive neuroscientist. But when he speaks, in an unexpectedly high-pitched voice, he becomes that know-it-all kid in school who intimidated you with his combination of superior knowledge and bluster.

    At thirty-eight, Kiehl is one of the world’s leading younger investigators in psychopathy, the condition of moral emptiness that affects between fifteen to twenty-five per cent of the North American prison population, and is believed by some psychologists to exist in one per cent of the general adult male population. (Female psychopaths are thought to be much rarer.) Psychopaths don’t exhibit the manias, hysterias, and neuroses that are present in other types of mental illness. Their main defect, what psychologists call “severe emotional detachment”—a total lack of empathy and remorse—is concealed, and harder to describe than the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This absence of easily readable signs has led to debate among mental-health practitioners about what qualifies as psychopathy and how to diagnose it. Psychopathy isn’t identified as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association’s canon; instead, a more general term, “antisocial personality disorder,” known as A.P.D., covers the condition.

    There is also little consensus among researchers about what causes psychopathy. Considerable evidence, including several large-scale studies of twins, points toward a genetic component. Yet psychopaths are more likely to come from neglectful families than from loving, nurturing ones. Psychopathy could be dimensional, like high blood pressure, or it might be categorical, like leukemia. Researchers argue over whether tests used to measure it should focus on behavior or attempt to incorporate personality traits—like deceitfulness, glibness, and lack of remorse—as well. The only point on which everyone agrees is that psychopathy is extremely difficult to treat. And for some researchers the word “psychopath” has been tainted by its long and seamy relationship with criminality and popular culture, which began with true-crime pulps and continues today in TV shows like CBS’s “Criminal Minds” and in the work of authors like Thomas Harris and Patricia Cornwell. The word is so loaded with baleful connotations that it tends to empurple any surrounding prose.

    Kiehl is frustrated by the lack of respect shown to psychopathy by the mental-health establishment. “Think about it,” he told me. “Crime is a trillion-dollar-a-year problem. The average psychopath will be convicted of four violent crimes by the age of forty. And yet hardly anyone is funding research into the science. Schizophrenia, which causes much less crime, has a hundred times more research money devoted to it.” I asked why, and Kiehl said, “Because schizophrenics are seen as victims, and psychopaths are seen as predators. The former we feel empathy for, the latter we lock up.”

    In January of 2007, Kiehl arranged to have a portable functional magnetic-resonance-imaging scanner brought into Western—the first fMRI ever installed in a prison. So far, he has recruited hundreds of volunteers from among the inmates. The data from these scans, Kiehl hopes, will confirm his theory, published in Psychiatry Research, in 2006, that psychopathy is caused by a defect in what he calls “the paralimbic system,” a network of brain regions, stretching from the orbital frontal cortex to the posterior cingulate cortex, that are involved in processing emotion, inhibition, and attentional control. His dream is to confound the received wisdom by helping to discover a treatment for psychopathy. “If you could target the brain region involved, then maybe you could find a drug that treats that region,” he told me. “If you could treat just five per cent of them, that would be a Nobel Prize right there.”

    < read the full article >

    Harenski recently interviewed a Western inmate who scored a 38.9. “He had killed his girlfriend because he thought she was cheating on him,” she told me. “He was so charming about telling it that I found it hard not to fall into laughing along in surprise, even when he was describing awful things.” Harenski, who is thirty, did not experience the involuntary skin-crawling sensation that, according to a survey conducted by the psychologists Reid and M. J. Meloy, one in three mental-health and criminal-justice professionals report feeling on interviewing a psychopath; in their paper on the subject, Meloy and Meloy speculate that this reaction may be an ancient intraspecies predator-response system. “I was just excited,” Harenski continued. “I was saying to myself, ‘Wow. I found a real one.’ ”
    Last edited by Vasilisa; 06-27-2013 at 09:21 AM.
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  10. #70
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Default different brains

    These stories are a bit old now...

    Psychopaths' brains 'different'
    4 December 2006
    news.bbc.co.uk

    There are biological brain differences that mark out psychopaths from other people, according to scientists.

    Psychopaths showed less activity in brain areas involved in assessing the emotion of facial expressions, the British Journal of Psychiatry reports.

    In particular, they were far less responsive to fearful faces than healthy volunteers.

    The Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London team say this might partly explain psychopathic behaviour.

    Remorseless

    Criminal psychopaths are people with aggressive and anti-social personalities who lack emotional empathy.

    They can commit hideous crimes, such as rape or murder, yet show no signs of remorse or guilt.

    It has been suggested that people with psychopathic disorders lack empathy because they have defects in processing facial and vocal expressions of distress, such as fear and sadness, in others.

    “ We are a long way from knowing how to treat psychopathy ”
    Dr Nicola Gray, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology

    Professor Declan Murphy and colleagues set out to test this using a scan that shows up brain activity.

    They showed six psychopaths and nine healthy volunteers pictures of faces showing different emotions.

    Both groups had increased activity in brain areas involved in processing facial expressions in response to happy faces compared with neutral faces, but this increase was smaller among the psychopaths.

    By contrast, when processing fearful faces compared with neutral faces, the healthy volunteers showed increased activation and the psychopaths decreased activation in these brain regions.

    Fearful faces

    The researchers said: "These results suggest that the neural pathways for processing facial expressions of happiness are functionally intact in people with psychopathic disorder, although less responsive.

    "In contrast, fear is processed in a very different way."

    This failure to recognise and emotionally respond to facial and other signals of distress may underlie psychopaths' failure to block behaviour that causes distress in others and their lack of emotional empathy, the scientists suggest.

    Dr Nicola Gray, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology, has also been studying what underpins psychopathy.

    "What we are trying to understand are the cognitive deficits underpinning the behaviour of psychopaths.

    "If people with psychopathy can't process the emotion of fear and that is mirrored in terms of their brain activity, as this study suggests, that will help us understand the cognitive deficits.

    "But it is still a long way to finding out what to do about that. We are a long way from knowing how to treat psychopathy."


    Gray matter changes in right superior temporal gyrus in criminal psychopaths. Evidence from voxel-based morphometry
    PSYCHIATRIC RESEARCH NEUROIMAGING
    Volume 163, Issue 3, Pages 213-222 (30 August 2008)
    by Jürgen L. Müllera, Susanne Gänßbauerd, Monika Sommerb, Katrin Döhnelb, Tatjana Weberc, Tobias Schmidt-Wilcked, Göran Hajakb

    ABSTRACT
    “Psychopathy” according to the PCL-R describes a specific subgroup of antisocial personality disorder with a high risk for criminal relapses. Lesion and imaging studies point towards frontal or temporal brain regions connected with disturbed social behavior, antisocial personality disorder (APD) and psychopathy. Morphologically, some studies described a reduced prefrontal brain volume, whereas others reported on temporal lobe atrophy. To further investigate whether participants with psychopathy according to the Psychopathy Checklist — Revised Version (PCL-R) show abnormalities in brain structure, we used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to investigate region-specific changes in gray matter in 17 forensic male inpatients with high PCL-R scores (PCL-R>28) and 17 male control subjects with low PCL-R scores (PCL<10). We found significant gray matter reductions in frontal and temporal brain regions in psychopaths compared with controls. In particular, we found a highly significant volume loss in the right superior temporal gyrus. This is the first study to show that psychopathy is associated with a decrease in gray matter in both frontal and temporal brain regions, in particular in the right superior temporal gyrus, supporting the hypothesis that a disturbed frontotemporal network is critically involved in the pathogenesis of psychopathy.

    a Department of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Göttingen, Von Siebold Str. 5, D-37075 Göttingen, Germany
    b Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Germany
    c Clinic of Forensic Psychiatry, Bezirksklinikum Regensburg, Germany
    d Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Germany
    Last edited by Vasilisa; 01-14-2011 at 05:44 PM. Reason: links
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