by Christopher Wanjek | January 28, 2015 12:26pm ET
Psychopathy is marked by impulsivity, an absence of guilt over hurting others, and often superficial charm.
Credit: Dan Scandal, Shutterstock
The brains of psychopathic violent criminals have abnormalities in regions related to punishment that are not seen in the brains of violent criminals who are not psychopathic, according to new research using brain scans.
These MRI scans suggest that psychopaths don’t grasp punishment . . .
In previous research, Blackwood has described psychopaths as “cold-hearted” and other violent offenders as “hot-headed.”
To understand this difference, Blackwood and his colleagues conducted MRI scans . . .
In the group of criminals who were psychopathic, the scientists observed lower volumes of gray matter in brain regions involved in empathy, moral reasoning, and the processing of social emotions such as guilt and embarrassment. They also found abnormalities in white matter fibers leading to the prefrontal cortex, in regions involved in learning from reward and punishment.
The other violent criminals performed similarly to the people who were not criminals in this test, the researchers found. http://www.livescience.com/49613-psychopaths-brains-punishment.html
They can’t imagine losing. This is one of the major psychopathy throughlines. Where a particular psychopath falls on the ability to grasp punishment or foresee possibility of losing and then acting accordingly is a major factor in where that individual falls on the successful-failed psychopath spectrum.
This pathological optimism can be a great edge for them however. For example, George Armstrong Custer played a very important role at Gettysburg through a fools attack on JEB Stuarts superior forces that succeeded through sheer audacity (Stuart thought the attack was a feint and didn’t respond full force). In the end, of course, his luck ran out at Little Bighorn. Pizzaro‘s luck never failed him, though it’s hard to imagine any one other than a psychopath attempting conquering the Incas with his meager forces. Many explorers were no doubt psychopaths — ‘What me worry about falling off the earth?’. Stacey Castor‘s luck did run out however, she had sought to coverup the murder of one family member by killing another one (https://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/ah-those-spectacular-female-psychopaths-stacey-castor-the-black-widow/).
Before I saw the Livescience article I had a ‘Stacey Castor disease‘ post on my to-do-list to cover similar material. Though it, the inability to grasp possibility of punishment, to imagine being unsuccessful in endeavors, obviously affects male psychopaths also, it seems to be a dominant trait of female psychopaths.
Here’s a think test for you, my gentle readers. However I don’t want you think at all, just blurt out the first name that enters your mind. . . . Ready? . . . No, no, no, you’re putting on your thinking caps!! I can tell! . . . OK, here we go. Name a famous female journalist that has made her name siding with and championing psychopathic criminals, and is a psychopath herself? TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK . . . EXACTLY!! How could she possibly have thought her own psychopathy would remain hidden? STACEY CASTOR DISEASE, that’s how.
Live science has a number of articles on psychopathy: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.livescience.com+psychopathy