10 Facts About Psychopaths Discovered in UC Brain Scan Study

10 Facts About Psychopaths Discovered in UC Brain Scan Study

Orig.src.Susanne.Posel.Daily.News- 1346156479-48Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
November 27, 2013

 

 

James Fallon, neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California at Irvine discovered that his brain scans showed he has psychopathic levels in the cerebral cortex associated with empathy, morality, and self-control.

Fallon, who adheres to the theory of nature v. nurture, commented: “Since finding all this out and looking into it, I’ve made an effort to try to change my behavior. I’ve more consciously been doing things that are considered ‘the right thing to do,’ and thinking more about other people’s feelings.”

Being conscious of his behavior, Fallon has learned to become someone else to function without anyone suspecting he is a psychopath.

During an Alzheimer’s study 8 years ago, Fallon found what he believed to be a relative’s brain scan that displayed definite psychopathic tendencies.

When Fallon further studied the scan, he found it was his own brain.

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Fallon’s discovery supports theories that genetics plays a part in psychopathic behavior because he is related to 7 people who allegedly committed murder.

• A man who hanged himself after killing his mother
• Lizzie Borden
• The Cornell family

Fallon describes himself as “obnoxiously competitive [and] aggressive”; although he asserts that he would “rather beat someone in an argument than beat them up.”

Yet he attributes his loving up-bringing to his ability to quell his tendencies toward psychopathy.

According to a study published out of the Social Brain Lab (SBL), persons who are psychopaths have a reduced empathy that is measurable. In fact, these individuals can turn their empathetic feelings off and on at will.

This ability may be why psychopaths can be heartless and socially savvy at the same time.

The study finds that: “Psychopathy is a personality disorder associated with a profound lack of empathy.

Neuroscientists have associated empathy and its interindividual variation with how strongly participants activate brain regions involved in their own actions, emotions and sensations while viewing those of others. Here we compared brain activity of 18 psychopathic offenders with 26 control subjects while viewing video clips of emotional hand interactions and while experiencing similar interactions. Brain regions involved in experiencing these interactions were not spontaneously activated as strongly in the patient group while viewing the video clips.”

The conclusion revealed that “this group difference was markedly reduced when we specifically instructed participants to feel with the actors in the videos. Our results suggest that psychopathy is not a simple incapacity for vicarious activations but rather reduced spontaneous vicarious activations co-existing with relatively normal deliberate counterparts.”
Christian Keysers, lead author of the study said : “Convicted criminals with a diagnosis of psychopathy are confined to high-security forensic institutions in which state-of-the-art technology to study their brain, like magnetic resonance imaging, is usually unavailable.”

When placed into an MRI machine and asked to watch videos of people in various social settings, it was obvious that criminals deemed psychopathic could turn their empathetic responses on and off at will.

Harma Meffert, assistant graduate student for the study said: “All participants first watched short movie clips of two people interacting with each other, zooming in on their hands. The movie clips showed one hand touching the other in a loving, a painful, a socially rejecting or a neutral way. At this stage, we asked them to look at these movies just as they would watch one of their favorite films.”

During a second viewing, participants were told to empathize with the characters in the clips.

Meffert recalled: “In the third and final part, we performed similar hand interactions with the participants themselves, while they were lying in the scanner, having their brain activity measured. We wanted to know to what extent they would activate the same brain regions while they were watching the hand interactions in the movies, as they would when they were experiencing these same hand interactions themselves.”

The researchers for SBL postulated that there must be a “switch” that might be manipulated in future experiments and studies that could lead to rehabilitation.

Psychopathy is defined as an antisocial behavior disorder that displays a diminished capacity for remorse and characterized by poor behavior controls.
This disorder is referred to in the DSM as antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).

Keysers explained that this study may alter how psychopaths are considered in their criminal’s behavior.

He said: “The predominant notion had been that they are callous individuals, unable to feel emotions themselves and therefore unable to feel emotions in others. Our work shows it’s not that simple. They don’t lack empathy but they have a switch to turn it on and off. By default, it seems to be off. The notion psychopaths have no empathy at all was a bleak prospect. It would make it very hard for them to have normal moral development. Now that we’ve shown they have empathy – even if only in certain conditions – we can give therapists something to work with.”

Earlier this year, another study on psychopaths was conducted by anthropologists at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) that showed participants who took a test to identify whether or not they were psychopaths were found to display a ruthless behavioral response to others.

In this “behavioral economic game” those psychopaths felt wronged by others and turn to hurting those they have singled out, without remorse.

Researchers suggested that this trait was widespread throughout the population and could prove valuable.

After answering a questionnaire, participants were measured on their psychopathic tendencies. It was found that those who had psychopathic propensities would cheat those they thought of as expendable.

Kevin Dutton, author of a book on psychopaths and the benefits of being one, asks: “’Psychopath’ is a term that gets thrown about a lot in our culture. Are psychopaths misunderstood?”

Dutton states that “psychopaths have a lot of good things going for them. They are fearless, confident, charismatic, ruthless and focused – qualities tailor-made for success in twenty-first century society.”

When a psychopath sets their sights on an individual, their relentless obsession toward hurting that person can be incredible.

Without a conscience, remorse or empathy, the psychopath will do the inexplicable without consideration of how their actions will cause damage or pain for others.

Typically, a psychopath will initially seem charismatic and friendly. The first impression of those who have no psychopathic tendencies is that the psychopath is a genuine and respectable person.

This personality is artificial and is revealed after a period of time, or when the psychopath decides that they have been wronged.

Since negotiations with psychopaths is futile, it is best for others to move away from this person as quickly as possible. Although “psychopaths quite often verbalize remorse having said that thеn contradict themsеlvеs in words or steps.”

This is evidence in the back-handed apologies they make that are conditional. An example would be that they would apologize for the way others interpreted their words, but not the offensive comments themselves.

In fact, a psychopath would believe that the problem lays with the other person, so their comments and actions could not be a source of pain or suffering for those around them.

Identifiers that the person around you is a psychopath are:

• The person lacks empathy
• Makes self-serving moral choices
• Lies repeatedly and unnecessarily
• Is a master manipulator
• Deflects blame
• Shows no remorse for their actions
• Is two-faced
• Ignores their responsibly to loved ones and everyone around them
• Surrounds themselves with people who are useful to them
• Superficially charming and feigning sincerity for others for popularity


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