What Makes a Psychopath?

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What Makes a Psychopath? Depictions of psychopaths today have become exaggerated based off of what you see in movies and films. The psychopaths in movies are believed to be dangerous or have an anti-social personality disorder. Not all psychopaths can be defined in that manner. Psychopaths are identified as people who are emotionally unstable. They are ultimately suffering from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior. There have been studies ultimately wondering if a psychopath is born, or is it raised? Genetics and environment combine to produce conditions that create psychopathology. By paying attention to environmental variables we can potentially reduce the amount of people who become dangerous psychopaths. According to research, psychopathic behavior can take many forms not all of which are violent. Ultimately psychiatrists say that there are pieces of a brain’s emotional machinery missing. As a result making psychopaths lack empathy, guilt or the ability to simply sow remorse (180rule.com). In an interview with James Fallon, a neuroscientist and neuroanatomist, states that there isn’t an acceptable definition of the word, psychopaths and that some psychologists do not even recognize it as a syndrome (Flatow). The closest way to identify a psychopath is through the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised, commonly known as the PCL-R (Hare). This test is used to determine if an individual has a mid- psychopathic disturbance, moderate psychopathic disturbance or if they are psychopathic (Brinkley). The test is scored on a 3 point scale (0, 1, and 2) with the highest score being a 40 which denotes a prototypical psychopath (Hare). When an individual scores a 30 or above it will qualify the individu... ... middle of paper ... ... living with parents or growing up in a particular neighborhood (Larsson). The idea of shared environmental aspects meaning that the parents behave the same way with all their children, and that any consequences of being around those parents will have an effect of making two twins more similar to each other. An example of non-shared environmental factors discussed is peer relationships. Since each individual in a twin pair is likely to form different friendships outside of the home, the consequences of associating with different peers can contribute to observed differences between twins (Andershed). After the contribution of genetic factors was accounted for in the study, the role of environmental effects was examined. Findings showed that the contribution of non-shared environmental effects was fairly large, while shared environmental effects were negligible.

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