Archive for April, 2010

Some recent research of interest concerning psychopathy and moral understanding;

Damage to Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Impairs Judgment of Harmful Intent. By; Young et al. Neuron, Volume 65, Issue 6, 845-851, 25 March 2010.  (pdf)   Here

Economic decision-making in psychopathy: A comparison with ventromedial prefrontal lesion patients. By; Koenigs M, Kruepke M, Newman JP. Neuropsychologia. 2010 Apr 16.   Here

Do psychopathic patients use their DLPFC when making decisions in moral dilemmas? Molecular Psychiatry (2009) 14, 908–911.   Here  

The neural correlates of moral decision-making in psychopathy Letters to the Editor. By; A L Glenn, A Raine and R A Schug. Molecular Psychiatry 14, 5-6 (January 2009 – see earlier post)   Here

Damage to the prefrontal cortex increases utilitarian moral judgements. By; Michael Koenigs, Liane Young, Ralph Adolphs, Daniel Tranel, Fiery Cushman, Marc Hauser and Antonio Damasio. Nature,  446, 908-911 (19 April 2007)   Here

Neuroticism and psychopathy predict brain activation during moral and nonmoral emotion regulation. Harenski et.al. (2009)   Here

Psychopaths know right from wrong but don’t care. Cima et. al. (Jan. 2010 – see earlier post as well)  Here

Following write-up from last year by  Neurological Correlates, also of interest; White collar psychopath fraudfeasors who use other people as tools for conning, duping, manipulating and perpetrating fraud: brain scan study. Does a broken moral neural circuit excuse evil? (March 2nd, 2009)   Here

Last but not least; Psychopaths and morality (Feb. 9, 2010) Video  Here


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It is exiting to see how the interest in psychopathy is growing and how more and more people are becoming aware of these gravely disturbed individuals who sooner or later cause harm to others.   Knowledge/Education is the key to protect yourself, your loved ones, your fellow human beeings and to put an end to the  abuse caused by these individuals.   In other words, the more you know the better!  One of the latest articles I came across and that I would like to share  is that by,  By John M Grohol PsyD, A Psychopath’s Brain on fMRI (19 Apr 2010)  Here    Some research includes that by, Paul Babiak, Ph.D., Craig S. Neumann, Ph.D. and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk  (Apr 2010)  Here   Suggested reading concerning work;  Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work  Here

Psychotic is NOT the same as Psychopathic!  Here   This short write-up explains the difference between psychopathy and psychosis. To note; Psychopathy/Sociopathy is not treatable, not yet anyway, too many structural and “chemical” abnormalities involved.   Another article of interest, this one by; Simone Hoermann, Ph.D., Psychopathy And The Brain   Here     More research concerning psychopathy that is  also of interest,  by;  Gao, Glenn, Schug, Yang and Raine (2009),  The Neurobiology of Psychopathy: A Neurodevelopmental Perspective   Here

Last but not least via Lovefraud.com10 Signs that you’re dating a sociopath (12 April 2010)  Full post   Here    

“If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He or she might be a sociopath.”

“1. Charisma and charm. They’re smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting.

2. Enormous ego. They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.

3. Overly attentive. They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and friends.

4. Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.

5. Blame others. Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.

6. Lies and gaps in the story. You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they’d make out better telling the truth.

7. Intense eye contact. Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.

8. Move fast. They quickly proclaim that you’re their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.

9. Pity play. They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.

10. Sexual magnetism. If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

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A recent study of interest concerning psychopathy and emotional intelligence (EI),  Psychopathic and antisocial, but not emotionally intelligent.  By; Beth A. Visser, Darlene Bay, Gail Lynn Cook and Jean Myburgh, pdf  Here came to the following conclusion;

“Psychopaths are characterized as skilled manipulators, yet they are also said to be deficient in recognizing others’ emotions. These two depictions suggest opposing predictions for the relation of ability-based emotional intelligence (EI) to psychopathy. The current study investigated EI, psychopathy, and antisocial behavior in a sample of 429 undergraduate students from three universities. Results indicated that, as expected, EI was negatively correlated with antisocial behavior, and psychopathy was highly positively correlated with antisocial behavior. Total EI was significantly negatively correlated with all psychopathy scales for both sexes. There were no positive correlations between any EI subscales and psychopathy in either sex, suggesting that psychopathy is not related to high ability in any aspect of EI.”  
(“Primary-secondary distinction”  Here )

Other studies of interest along the same lines, The emotional manipulation–psychopathy nexus: Relationships with emotional intelligence, alexithymia and ethical position, by; Rachel Grieve and Doug Mahar, takes a closer look at the relationship between emotional manipulation, emotional intelligence, and primary and secondary psychopathy. Study, Here   and
 Empathy deficits and trait emotional intelligence in psychopathy and Machiavellianism (2009) Here  
Psychopathy and Trait Emotional Intelligence (2008)  Here

Power and control over others is always the “bottom line” when it comes to psychopaths thus the following says it all;  ” A lie plus a lead to belief equals control” , Predator Awareness  Here

Liars’ Brains Wired Differently (2005)   Here

Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation   Here

The more you know, the better you can protect yourself – in other words; knowledge concerning these individuals give you the power.

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According to research from MIT, moral judgements can be altered by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to the right temporo-parietal junction.   Damage to this area could thus explain the psychopath’s lack of insight and deficit concerning moral judgment.   Below the study and further reading of interest; 

Disruption of the right temporo-parietal junction with transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces the role of beliefs in moral judgments. By; Liane Young, Joan Albert Camprodon, Marc Hauser, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Rebecca Saxe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010. Here

A write-up by Science Daily; Moral Judgments Can Be Altered: Neuroscientists Influence People’s Moral Judgments by Disrupting Specific Brain Region (Mar. 30, 2010) Here

Magnetic Field Behind Right Ear Alters Moral Judgments – My magnet made me do it. (March 30, 2010)   Here

From MIT, 2008;  Exploring The Mechanics Of Judgment, Beliefs: Technique Images Brain Activity When We Think Of Others. ScienceDaily (May 18, 2008)   Here

Brain Potentials Implicate Temporal Lobe Abnormalities in Criminal Psychopaths. By; Kent A. Kiehl, Alan T. Bates, Kristin R. Laurens, Robert D. Hare and Peter F. Liddle. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2006, Vol. 115, No. 3, 443–453.   Here

Are all types of morality compromised in psychopathy? By; Glenn AL, Iyer R, Graham J, Koleva S, and Haidt J. Journal of personality disorders 23(4):384-98, 2009 Aug.   Here

Impaired self-awareness and theory of mind: an fMRI study of mentalizing in alexithymia. By; Moriguchi Y, Ohnishi T, Lane RD, Maeda M, Mori T, Nemoto K, Matsuda H, Komaki G. Neuroimage. 2006 Sep;32(3):1472-82.   Here

The Role of the Right Temporoparietal Junction in Social Interaction: How Low-Level Computational Processes Contribute to Meta-Cognition. By; Jean Decety and Claus Lamm. Neuroscientist, 13(6): 580–593, 2007.   Here

Paul Litton, Responsibility Status of the Psychopath: On Moral Reasoning and Rational Self-Governance. ( * A great number of research concerning psychopaths and moral responsibility found on this site as well)   Here

Question: Is it possible, by the same method, to do the reverse,  by artifical means make the psychopath do “the right thing”?  Then again, maybe that is too much to wish for since the psychopath also, among other things, lack empathy.

“Walk the Talk” (Not an ad) Click Here

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