The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain

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Hendrik Bulten, R. Jan Verkes, I. Toni, K. Testosterone modulates altered prefrontal control of emotional actions in psychopathic offenders.

ScienceDaily, 21 January Radboud University. Testosterone influences regulation of emotions in psychopath's brain. Retrieved November 8, from www. By observing neuronal activity in the brain, researchers have been able to map the cerebral regions we use to interpret vocal emotional This can be concluded from research carried out into the Below are relevant articles that may interest you. ScienceDaily shares links with scholarly publications in the TrendMD network and earns revenue from third-party advertisers, where indicated.

Stressed to the Max? But we must be clear about what sorts of contributions the neurosciences can offer. For example, a major responsibility of the law is to evaluate past mental and motivational states of individuals, such as whether a defendant feared for his life on a particular evening last year. At present, the neurosciences are not well-equipped to answer retrospective questions about fleeting mental states and should not be used in this way. On the other hand, neuroscience can inform other types of inquiries, such as questions that rely on stable, group-level data, for example, if it is known that most people with a particular brain disease lack the capacity to regulate their emotions in the way that a healthy, reasonable person would.

If the defendant is a member of this population i.

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Such inquiries can be relevant to legal decision making as long as we have cross-validated ways e. In some cases, neuroscientific research could become more helpful to the law if it specifically targeted legal concerns. For example, in legal settings the question is often not whether or not the defendant had a certain emotion, but why they failed to have a certain emotion given that they had the capacity for it.

This paper has set out to examine issues in the application of neuroscience to questions of emotion in legal decision making. We argued that before the neuroscience of emotion can be responsibly used in legal settings, it is important to appreciate how neuroscientific definitions of emotion differ from legal ones in terms of their functions, stability, and availability to conscious awareness. We focused on the example of psychopathy because courts remain unmoved by the scientific evidence on psychopathic emotion processing, obviating the need to further specify criteria for responsibility.

Yet, many remaining questions must be addressed before our intuitions about responsibility can be formalized into a set a criteria that painlessly integrate scientific knowledge about emotion processing with our ethical and legal standards. Our present purpose is not to advance any substantive normative, legal, or scientific claims, but to provide a potentially useful approach for evaluating scientific questions about emotions and law. Aharoni, E. No skin off my back: Retribution deficits in psychopathic motives for punishment.

Anderson, S. Impairment of social and moral behavior related to early damage in human prefrontal cortex. Nature neuroscience , 2 11 , Baron-Cohen, S. The amygdala theory of autism. The extreme male brain theory of autism. Trends Cogn Sci — Bartels, D.

The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas. Cognition , 1 , Blair, R. Cognition, 57 1 , Moral Reasoning and the Child with Psychopathic Tendencies. The amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in morality and psychopathy. Trends in cognitive sciences, 11 9 , Passive avoidance learning in individuals with psychopathy: modulation by reward but not by punishment. Personality and Individual Differences , 37 6 , Mitchell, K. Peschardt, E. Colledge, R. Leonard, J. Shine, L. Perrett a. Mitchell, R. Richell, S.

R. J. R. Blair, D. Mitchell & K. Blair, The psychopath. Emotion and the brain - PhilPapers

Kelly, A. Leonard, C. Scott Borg, J. Do Psychopaths Make Moral Judgments?. Handbook on psychopathy and law , DeSteno, D. Prejudice from thin air the effect of emotion on automatic intergroup attitudes. Psychological Science,15 5 , Ermer, E.

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1. They use empathy to their advantage.

American Journal of Jurisprudence 20 1 : Gordon, H. End Biological Psychiatry, 56, Greene, J. Cognitive load selectively interferes with utilitarian moral judgment. Cognition , 3 , An fMRI investigation of emotional engagement in moral judgment. Science , , Hare, R. Some empirical studies of psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, , — Psychopathy as a clinical and empirical construct.

The Psychopath. Emotion and the Brain

Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 4 , — Hauer, A. Kiehl K. Smith, R. Hare, A. Mendrek, B. Forster, J. Brink, et al. Biological Psychiatry, 50 9 , Koenigs, M. Economic decision-making in psychopathy: a comparison with ventromedial prefrontal lesion patients. Neuropsychologia , 48 7 , Damage to the prefrontal cortex increases utilitarian moral judgements. Nature , , Kana, R.

Atypical frontal-posterior synchronization of Theory of Mind regions in autism during mental state attribution. Social neuroscience , 4 2 , Lykken, D. A nice trick of compartmentalization. You learn to do this in the military, when to feel empathy and when not to. Anders Breivald claimed he taught himself to do this in order to do what he did in Norway 2 years ago. Perhaps these folks have a psysiological dedisposition that makes it easier to do this and makes it therefore a viable coping machanism for them when they run into situations when guilt or empathy don't feel like safe emotions to have as children.

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Thank you for an interesting article. Thank you for your kind feedback. I didn't know they teach that in the Army, but it makes sense! I do fully agree with you: I suspect that psychopathy is not something qualitatively different from normality. We all have the potential to switch empathy off under certain circumstances. They might simply have a 'particular' and dark talent to do so habitually. No your mistaking learned sociopathy often found in environments with psychopaths in them from psychopaths themsleves Breivik was an extreme narcissitic psychopath unchecked and feeding off his own grandiose idea of where he was to stand in history,, full regalia,, absoloutely no insight This confusion of this issue has the hallmarks of a psychopath posting it.

People tend to underestimate how tribal they are. It is easy not to have sympathy for someone who has been painted as your enemy in times of war. This brings me to say that the study is flawed. Were the supposed psychopath's reacting in pleasure to seeing their enemy getting torture or a tribal member getting tortured. Nice article, but i see here some problems that are typical for the approach to understand behavior by looking at the brain.

That a Psychopath can show the same brain responses, witch are linked to empathy, doesn't mean that the psychopath actually feel in the same way like the "normal person". Here's the problem: when the psychopath seduces a victim and uses for that the ability of empathy, he still feels gilt, like other people.