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Psychopathy: Personality Disorder

explanatory Essay
2102 words
2102 words
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Psychopathy

“Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by an inability to form human attachment, aggressive narcissism, and antisocial behavior defined by a constellation of affective, interpersonal and behavioral characteristics, most of which society views as pejorative” [1]. Some of these characteristics include irresponsibility, grandiosity, cunning, deceitfulness, selective impulsivity, sexual promiscuity, lack of empathy, etc. People who are psychopathic display not only antisocial behavior but also emotional impairment such as the lack of guilt. They are able to prey on others using their charm, deceit, violence or any other methods that allow them to get what they want. A strong feature of most of the behavior exhibited by individuals with psychopathy is that it is mostly instrumental in nature. They are extremely goal-oriented with interests in acquiring wealth, sexual opportunities and increased status.

Psychopathy was first written about by psychiatrist Philippe Pinel in the early 19th century. He referred to it as “insanity without delirium” and described individuals suffering from this as being “morally neutral”. In 1941, Hervey Cleckley wrote a book 'The Mask of Sanity' which is today considered as the cornerstone of the study of psychopaths. He wrote that the psychopath is capable of “concealing behind a perfect mimicry of normal emotion, fine intelligence, and social responsibility, a grossly disabled and irresponsible personality.” This supports the theory that not only is talk therapy inadequate as a treatment, but on the contrary it has the potential to make the condition worse as it enables the individual to practice the art of manipulation. Today worldwide, we use a checklist c...

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...study of criminal behavior. Research has shown that psychopathy is a powerful predictor of violent recidivism and dangerousness. Understanding the minds of psychopaths and their personality and behavioral traits allows authorities to design strategies that more likely will work with them. Psychopathy has been described as “the single most important clinical construct in the criminal justice system.” And even more recently, it is considered “the most important forensic concept of the early 21st century.”

Despite the absence of a cure, there are still many new theories being developed on how to better identify and manage the problem.

REFERENCES

[1] Jacqueline B. Helfgot: Criminal Behavior: Theories, Typologies and Criminal Justice

[2] DeLisi and Vaughn (2008)

[3] Williamson S, Hare RD, Wong S: Violence - Criminal Psychopaths and Their Victims (1987)

In this essay, the author

  • Describes psychopathy as a personality disorder characterized by an inability to form human attachment, aggressive narcissism, and antisocial behavior, which society views as pejorative.
  • Explains that psychopathy was first written about by psychiatrist philippe pinel in the early 19th century. hervey cleckley wrote 'the mask of sanity' which is considered as the cornerstone of the study of psychopaths.
  • Explains that the amygdala is involved in aversive conditioning and instrumental learning and is responsible for all the processes that, when impaired, produce the same functional impairments displayed by psychopaths.
  • Explains that the amygdala and ofc are implicated in psychopathic pathology. dr. craig and his colleagues studied the connectivity between the two brain regions involved in psychopathy.
  • Explains that the term psychopath is synonymous with terms like serial killer and rapist, but the characteristics that define it do not necessarily imply or involve criminal behavior.
  • Explains that a psychopathic personality is prone to criminal behavior because of their underdeveloped super-ego, which removes them from empathy and remorse.
  • Explains that psychopaths are goal-oriented and driven by self gain. they are more proactive, predatory, and purposeful, with a desired external goal being the driving force.
  • Explains that psychopathy has a complex relationship with sexual offense where despite its association with various types, its relationship to overall sexual offending has been found to be weak.
  • Distinguishes between primary and secondary psychopathy. primary psychopaths engage in antisocial behavior as a result of genetic or biological predispositions that occur during infancy.
  • Explains that secondary psychopaths pass through the developmental stages needed to form human attachments and show more anxiety, empathy, and guilt than their primary counterparts. their antisocial behavior cannot be narrowed down to one psychological phenomenon.
  • Analyzes how cleckley preempted the current research into the multiple factors of psychopathy and noted that not all psychopaths exhibit antisocial behavior.
  • Explains that a number of professionals who are ceos, doctors, lawyers, politicians exhibit similar scores to psychopaths on scales of histrionic, narcissistic, and compulsive personality disorder.
  • Explains lykken's theory that psychopaths are merely individuals with low fear quotients who can perceive most other emotions but not fear.
  • Explains that psychopathy is relevant to law enforcement, corrections, courts, and others working in related fields. psychopaths make conscious decisions to commit crimes, yet their choices may have been predetermined in early infancy.
  • Explains that psychopathy is a powerful predictor of violent recidivism and dangerousness. understanding psychopaths and their personality and behavioral traits allows authorities to design strategies that more likely will work with them.
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