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Gabby Maldonado

on 25 April 2014

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Transcript of Psychopaths

What is a Psychopath?
The dictionary definition of a psychopath is "a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior; an unstable and aggressive person." Psychopaths are typically profoundly selfish and lack emotion.
Fun Fact: Psychopathy affects approximately 1 percent of the United States general population and 20 to 30 percent of the male and female U.S. prison population.
6% of the general population are born genetic psychopaths.
Is Psychopathy genetic or developed?
What is the difference between psychopathy and sociopathy?
What are traits often associated with Psychopathy?
Harms, William. “Psychopaths are not neurally equipped to have concern for others”. April 19, 2013. UChicagoNews. April 19, 2014. Web.
“Brain Structure and Function”. May 29, 2010. US National Library of Medicine (PMC). April 18, 2014. Web.
Simon, Dr. George. “Is Psychopathy Genetic?”. August 24, 2012. Dr. George Simon. April 19, 2014. Web.
Stenson, Jacqueline. “Destined as a Psychopath? Experts Seek Clues”. April 20, 2009. NBCNews.com. April 19, 2014. Web.
“Psychopathic personality traits: heritability and genetic overlap with internalizing and externalizing psychopathology”. May 2005. US National Library of Medicine (PMC). April 18, 2014. Web.
Schug, Dr. Robert. “Aftermath Radio: Genetic and Environmental Factors in Psychopathy”. 6 February, 2012. Aftermath Radio. April 20, 2014. Web.
“Psychopath vs Sociopath”. No Date of Publication. Diffen. April 19, 2014. Web.
Dolan, Mairead. “Psychopathic personality in young people”. October 2004. © 2014 The Royal College of Psychiatrists. April 19, 2014. Web.

What causes psychopathy and what parts of the brain are affected?
It is important to understand that criminal Psychopathy is not only circumstantially but also biologically affected. Scientists have conducted several test using a new technology, DT-RI, which allows them to see the difference in brain activity between the control group of non-affected people and psychotic subjects of the same IQ and age. It has come
Gabriela Maldonado p.7
Psychopathy is branching off of the general category of Antisocial Personality Disorder. ASPD generally affects the subject so they have considerably less empathy and an increased sense of self-interest. They are typically unaware of others as actual human beings like themselves and demonstrate basic disregard for other people . As the name is self explanatory, subjects with APD typically have a more difficult experience in trying to establish healthy relationships with others.
More about Psychopathy...
Such areas of the brain were identified as the amygdale, ie the area associated with emotions, fear and aggression, and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the region which deals with decision making. There is a white matter tract that connects the amygdala and OFC, which is called the uncinate fasciculus (UF). However, nobody had ever studied the UF in psychopaths. The team from King's used an imaging method called in vivo diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) tractography to analyse the UF in psychopaths
Psychopathy is a brain disorder that could be inherited or developed through unhealthy environmental factors* presented to the subject. Because of this, scientists have conducted several experiments to pinpoint the causes and damaging parts of Psychopathy. As of current time, this brain disorder is incurable and is only able to be treated through psychiatric guidance and mental insight.
So what does this have to do with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood?
In Capote's In Cold Blood, the reader is provided with an insightful documentation into the events and perspectives of multiple key characters in the investigation and murder of the Clutter family, including the murderers themselves. Provided with the perspectives and also backstory/ upbringing of Richard Hickock (Dick) and Perry Smith, one can use these clues to reach a more profound understanding of Dick and Perry's mental states before/during/after the murder. Though these assumptions are not entirely confirmed, Dick's actions point to sociopathic behavior, whereas Perry's are more psychopathic.
Psychopathy is often associated but not limited to these traits:
Psychopathic/Sociopathic Symptoms that Richard (Dick) Eugene Hickock exhibited:
- superficial social appearance/charm
- violation of people's rights without remorse
- actions seem personally justified
- manipulation
- pathological lying
- promiscuous sexual behavior
- inflated sense of self-worth
- criminal behavior (patterned/recurring)
Psychopathic/Sociopathic Symptoms that Perry Smith exhibited:
- manipulation for personal gain
- emotional instability
- attention seeking
- manic states of depression (seeks fame. fortune, power, and grandeur.
- delusional/unrealistic
- "paranoid orientation of the world"/ suspicious
- unmanagable anger
-suicidal threats that were never carried out
- emotional detachment in certain aspects of relationships
Almost Done, you guys. Try not to fall asleep...
It is important to understand that one individual can be diagosed with multiple mental/behavioral disorders, and that these diagnoses are not completely confirmed due to the lack of comprehensive testing and analysis of the subjects. There are a number of additional disorders believed to have affected both individuals, but they're considered semi-supported assumptions that cannot be completely proven without scientific evidence.
** Heritability for psychopathology ranges from 20-60%.
*Psychosocial factors include physical/sexual abuse, marital violence, divorce, and affected by cumulative life stress.
Why did I choose this subject?
The concept of self-awareness has always interested me. It's just amazing what role psychology can play in your life. You get to learn about how the mind works, how our attitude affects our being, and why people actually behave the way they do. I want to study the evolution of consciousness and perception.
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