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What makes a psychopath?

  1. Dec 18, 2003 #1
    What makes a psychopath?

    By Caroline Ryan
    BBC News Online health staff

    Many people tell the odd white lie - taking a day off "sick" or halving the amount they spend on a shopping trip.
    But most feel a little bit guilty about the deception.

    Scientists have now found that twinge of conscience can be seen in increased activity in the brain.

    Complete text at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3116662.stm
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2003 #2


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    Interesting that psychopaths lack this increased activity. it takes absolutely no effort for a psycopath to lie.
  4. Dec 21, 2003 #3
    what maks a pychopath

    Lack of love and appreciation and a misunderstanding of their engenius.
  5. Dec 21, 2003 #4


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    But the difficulty of lying comes from neural interaction in the frontal cortex. Put this together with the http://www.loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/MEDIA/NN/Press_Release.html [Broken] that showed grey matter in the frontal cortex is correlated with IQ and with Spearman's g. What do you get?

    Are low IQ people systematically at risk for psychopathic disorders
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  6. Apr 1, 2004 #5
    I hope its not splitting hairs, but the term "psychopath" is passe. Current research studying individuals with the traits I believe you are referring to is done in the field of personality reseach, and the disorder is now referred to as Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  7. Apr 1, 2004 #6


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    One place I read that sociopath was a term sociologists invented so they wouldn't have to write SOB.
  8. Apr 1, 2004 #7
    Here are the diagnostic criteria for Antisocial PD (DSM-IV-TR 301.22):
    "A. A pervasive pattern of diregard for and violation of the rights of others occuring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
    (1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors such as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
    (2) decietfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
    (3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
    (4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
    (5) reckless disregard for the safety of self or others
    (6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
    (7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
    B. The individual is at least age 18 years.
    C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder (see DSM IV-TR pg. 98) with onset before age 15 years.
    D. The occurance of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode."

    Of course, this is not the only definition, but it is by far the most accepted, and most widely researched.
  9. Apr 1, 2004 #8
    Judging by the criteria given, I think it would safe to classify myself as a psychopath.
  10. Apr 1, 2004 #9
    Do you need a referral? J/K
    Implicit in any psychiatric diagnosis is disruption in the life of the client, or in the lives of those around them. I assume you have nothing to fear.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2004
  11. Apr 2, 2004 #10
    Psychopath, sociopath, antisocial personality type, all the exact same thing, at least so my psych textbook tells me.
  12. Apr 2, 2004 #11
    They all describe the same set of people. Correct. But, since Anitsocial PD was created in the DSM, use of the terms psychopath and sociopath have been abandoned by researchers, or clinical psych researchers anyway. Dyssocial personality disorder has also been used to describe this disorder. Do a little experiment...Google "psychopath" and look at the kinds of websites that come up (I got MSN, Amazon, and a lot of random junk). Now Google "Antisocial personality disorder", then you tell me which one is the clinical term, and which one is the layman's term.
  13. Apr 3, 2004 #12
    Well, since my textbook was published after the first DSM, and uses all three terms interchangably...
  14. Apr 3, 2004 #13
    And we all know that there are no poorly-worded textbooks, right kids?
    Use whatever terminology you like, but your textbook is not a reference for researchers and academicians....the DSM IV is. I'll leave it at that.
  15. Apr 3, 2004 #14
    Sorry "kids", that is incorrect. The DSM is only a diagnosis manual. It is not a resource for researchers or academics. It is a resource for psychological analysis of patients. It does not contain information sufficient for any sort of research other than using it as a reference for categorising symptoms.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2004
  16. Apr 3, 2004 #15
    How do you suppose researchers would study a disorder if they did not have objective, standardized criteria to decide whether or not a subject has a specific diagnosis? This is one of the major purposes of the DSM.
  17. Apr 4, 2004 #16
    Read the DSM. It doesn't do anything at all for research. For research, you want to study chemistry, surveys of social behaviours, neurology, et cetera.
  18. Apr 4, 2004 #17


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    I know you guys are talking about me.
  19. Apr 4, 2004 #18
    Yes, we are...
  20. Apr 6, 2004 #19
    What about the business psychopaths? The ruthless desicion makers? We all probably know a couple...
  21. Apr 6, 2004 #20


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    If limited to low income environments, many CEO's might become crime bosses. CEO's, like doctors, can't succeed by being sentimental, they are certainly hard nosed.
  22. Apr 8, 2004 #21
    I have read the DSM cover-to-cover numerous times for graduate courses in psychopathology. I use it as a reference in my own research so frequently, I own a copy. I am well aware of its uses and its limitations. I have been involved in research in psychopathology for years now.

    If you don't mind my asking, what is your background in psychology? To what extent have you studied it, and where?
  23. Apr 8, 2004 #22

    Or perhaps you are a researcher in antisocialology, since the term "psychopath" has been abandoned.
  24. Apr 8, 2004 #23
    Jenn_ucsb: At Monash uni and Chisholm Institute, as a student, and in other situations. If you read it so much, you should be aware of what it is. It lists criteria for diagnosis, and that's it. It doesn't detail brain structure, doesn't detail brain chemistry, doesn't give statistics of behaviour, doesn't give medical information for physiological causes of mental illnesses (such as head trauma). I'm sure it provides a quick and easy reference for deciding what condition is in effect when you're looking at a patient, but that's not research. That's diagnosis.

    For those who haven't seen it, go here: http://www.psychologynet.org/dsm.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  25. Apr 8, 2004 #24
    OK, so you were not a psych major, you have not completed graduate work in psych, and you have not been involved in psych research. That's alright. I have, and if you'll listen, I'll help you clear this up.
    I'm going to make this as concrete as possible. It's the long route, but that's fine. Go to your local library. Use PsychInfo, or whatever psych online journal search engine your library has available. Look up an article called "Psychophysiological, Somatic, and Affective Changes Across the Menstrual Cycle in Women With Panic Disorder". The first author is Dr. Sandra T. Sigmon, and it was published in the Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology. Go find that and look at the very first citation in the reference section.
    For that matter, you could look up almost any article in psychopathology research and find the same. But since I happen to be holding this particular article in my hands, that is the assignment I'll give you.
    Just in case you can't find that article, try this one:
    Hecker. J., et al. (1998)Cognitive Restructuring and Interoceptive Exposure in the Treatment of Panic Disorder: A Crossover Study. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy.26, 115-131.
    This one also cites the DSM as its very first reference.
    When you have done this let me know. And if you have any questions afterward, I will be happy to answer them.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2004
  26. Apr 8, 2004 #25
    Jenn_ucsb: Thanks for naming articles which mention the DSM. That's just ducky. I also possess a few which mention it. Actually, they cite it as their reference for classifications. Oh, wait. That's what I said it was for, several posts ago. No, I don't need to download those articles, since, as I just said, I already have some which cite the DSM. I'm well aware that people use it as a reference for classification. However, once again: It doesn't detail brain structure, doesn't detail brain chemistry, doesn't give statistics of behaviour, doesn't give medical information for physiological causes of mental illnesses (such as head trauma). I'm sure it provides a quick and easy reference for deciding what condition is in effect when you're looking at a patient, but that's not research. That's diagnosis.

    Your assignment: Read what the producers of the DSM say about it: http://www.psych.org/public_info/dsm.pdf

    Now, I have only one question: Apart from looking up lists for classifications, how is the DSM of use to you in research?
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