Essay on Psychopaths and Sociopaths: Innate Morality?

Essay on Psychopaths and Sociopaths: Innate Morality?

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Children are born with an ability to communicate their immediate needs to their mothers, nurses or caregivers by crying or displays of other emotions. As they develop more knowledge of language they are able to point, look at objects and smile to acknowledge they are pleased with, or otherwise, what they are receiving.
Just as children are born with the ability to communicate needs and emotions, and a desire to seek out new things and master them, it only makes sense that they have many other unexplained desires including the desire to please and to love and feel empathy for others. Many studies have been done on infants in nurseries who cry at the sound of other infants crying. Some would argue this crying reaction is really a warning sound, so to speak that lets the other babies know there may be something to fear coming. If a warning was the case it would seem the babies would not cry over a dirty diaper or hunger. I like to image that the other infants actually do feel a sort of empathy for the original crier and display it through their concerning cries.
This is a type of display created by nature that is seen also with smaller animals. In a litter of puppies, when one starts to cry all the others start to cry as well. Apes display a consolation behavior, “which is defined as providing reassuring body contacts to distressed others” to show empathy (De Waal). Studies have shown that body contact has an effect on calming others in distress. Perhaps this body contact also benefits the ape offering it by lowering its own pain caused by seeing the other in distress.
Our emotions greatly influence how we process information and make moral judgments. We take these emotional feelings and turn them into information about our situatio...


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...themselves in other ways though he is not a murderer. He displays poor sympathy towards others, has sublimated aggression, and enjoys making other people mad. There are many psychopaths and sociopaths who display these obstructive behaviors who do not go on to be murderers and criminals. Some of the best lawyers, CEOs, surgeons, clergymen, and policemen are fully functioning, law abiding citizens.
The Nature versus Nurture debate has been one of longest most withstanding debates of our world. Despite all the differences in beliefs, I believe significant evidence suggests that there is a reason to believe that our morality is not simply learned from imitation, coached ethics, or social cues (though those do play a part in growing it), but that it, like so many other natural abilities of the body, is a part of us beginning with the development of our brains in utero.

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