37
   

The Mind of a Sociopath

 
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:11 pm
@DrewDad,
Do you want to take a stab at the other two questions I asked?
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:11 pm
In reading everyones posts, it's hard not to be torn where it comes to labeling people.
I personally have issues with labels, but at the same time, there are people out there, such as the creep at work who obviouly had issues.
The symptoms of a sociopath describe this man to a tee and it's difficult not to label it as something.
My ex, however, who was diagnosed with several psychoic disorders doesn't fit into most of the signs of a sociopath.
He has a huge heart and he cries more than myself and most women I know. He was a damn good con artist, but that's how he got his booze and that's the only time he'd try to con people is when he was desperate.

Here's where I'm with some of the others regarding not liking the labels.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:12 pm
@Setanta,

Setanta said:
Quote:
All right ! ! !

Let's bring back phrenology, too.


That's not what I said - I didn't state that I thought their features were an indication that there was an innate criminal tendency. I said that I wondered if the fact that they had unusual and less typically attractive features had made them the target of discriminatory or abusive or bullying behavior from a very young age, which may have contributed to antisocial behavioral tendencies.
0 Replies
 
Montana
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:12 pm
@Setanta,
Bullshit!
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:12 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
I don't care if you respond to me or not, and i'm here because, after a page or two, the discussion got interesting--i'm not here either to take jabs at you, nor to provide you with a justification for your paranoia.


LOL (you are a bad man...)
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:17 pm
@Montana,
Believe what you like--i assure you that you are insufficiently important to me for me to go out of my way to "take jabs" at you. I saw this thread when you began it, and was not interested. Then today, i looked in again, because there had been more responses, and it looked like getting interesting. Then i did what most members do in such a situation, i went through the posts in order, and commented on what i had read. It is hardly my fault that you provided such a confusion of ideas upon which to comment. Having commented on that, i continued to read the posts in order, and commented on them in due course.

I suggest to you that you have become a legend in your own mind. You're jus not that important.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:18 pm
@ebrown p,
Well, i do try to enjoy myself.
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:23 pm
@Setanta,
If this was true, there wouldn't be a "I wanna be" thread"!

You can lie through your teeth all you want, but we both the truth, don't we Setanta Wink

Now, I'm interested in what others have to say, so I'm not gonna ruin the thread with this nonsense!
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:24 pm
@Setanta,
Yeah, at other peoples expense!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:28 pm
@Montana,
"We both the truth?" Was that supposed to be a sentence in the English language?

As i said, you're a legend in your own mind. The "I wanna be thread" was a response to the idiotic thread which Rockhead started. Get over yourself.

You don't fool me for a moment--you'll go on and on like this for pages because you love the tit for tat game. That's how you screwed up that other thread, trading schoolyard insults with Water Boy. It's really hilarious, though, you know--you say you're not "gonna ruin the thread with this nonsense"--and you have the very next post, a comment on a response i made to someone else. Keep this up as long as you like, i'm game.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:34 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

Do you want to take a stab at the other two questions I asked?

Okiedoke.

ebrown p wrote:
How do you know that the experiences of prisoners who have been labeled "psychopathic" didn't change their brain function?

The fact that you don't think I answered this already tells me that you either didn't bother to read my previous reply, or that you failed to understand it.

"Diathesis-stress model" means that experiences did shape their brain function to a greater or lesser degree.

1. They have a genetic or developmental predisposition.
2. Environmental factors ("experiences"), in concert with the predisposition, cause the brain to work abnormally.

ebrown p wrote:
And how did they determine which prisoners were psychopathic in the first place?

This is actually an interesting issue. The difficulty with researching psychopaths is in first identifying them.

Robert Hare is probably the leading authority on criminal psychopathy. My understanding is that he focused on incarcerated criminals in his research, at least initially. He developed the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (as well as several variants), and has written extensively in both peer-review journals and the popular press.

If you are truly interested in the research, I suggest you investigate his website: www.hare.org.

The Wikipedia article is short, but includes links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hare_(psychologist).

Psychopathy is rather fascinating, in that these people's thinking is so radically different from the norm.
Montana
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:37 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks again for your consistant abuse asshole!
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:40 pm
@Montana,
You're a hoot . . . you call someone an asshole in the same post in which you accuse that someone of consistant [sic] abuse. Keep it up, i'll play for as long as you want. Or, you could keep your paranoia to yourself and let others read and respond to the topic. Suits me, either way.
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:44 pm
@Setanta,
You can play with yourself because you are now on ignore.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:53 pm
@Montana,
Ya gotta love that!
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 03:57 pm
@DrewDad,
Ok DrewDad, clearly I am quite skeptical... but I am curious enough to want to continue this discussion. You clearly have faith in psychopathy, and you express an expertise. Since we both know where we stand...

I am interested in psychopaths who are not incarcerated (since incarceration adds all sorts of other variables; by this time you are incarcerated you have been rejected by society and labeled... and since I am not incarcerated).

1) I am curious about your claim "these people's thinking is so radically different from the norm. " Is there objective research to back this up? I am skeptical because first of all it presumes a "norm" (whereas I would expect that any measure of people's thinking would show a wide variety), and second because it is hard to believe that any metric wouldn't show a smooth curve (and thus any line would be arbitrary).

2) You didn't answer my post about the differences between psychopathy and other mental conditions-- such as Autism. As I noted, there are people with Autism who function quite well in society (and there are others for whom the condition is dibilitating).

If someone with all the traits of a psychopath lives a law-abiding and fulfilling life... is she still a psychopath? Autism is considered a disorder, but the traits can provide benefits, in fact some people with Autism are heralded as geniuses. (The same is also true with bi-polar disorder). The unique stigma given to this one disorder is suspicious.

3) I read a bit on Richard Hare (I find this stuff interesting in spite of my skepticism). I plan to read more. I am happy to know there is a real instrument to measure whether a person is a psychopath or not... but the determination still seems awfully arbitrary? It would make me feel a bit less skeptical if people were either clearly psychopathic or clearly non-psychopathic (with no one on the border)... but I suspect this is not the case-- I would love to see research on this question.



Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:12 pm
@ebrown p,
These are my thoughts as well ebrown. I remember us talking about something in the past which was related to this.
I think it was ADHD, which my son was diagnosed with and we were discussing that, but I'm not certain if that was the subject. Either way, we both had an issue with the labels.
I still have a problem with the label because it's too easily given, when there's plenty of room for doubt.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:19 pm
@Montana,
People do not normally warrant such casual and, frankly, ill-informed labels as "psychotic" as a general description.

It would be more accurate to say that people may have episodes of psychosis.

Some experience this once only. Some experience multiple episodes of psychosis in the course of a long illness, such as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.

Someone may be considered to suffer from schizophrenia but not be psychotic for very long periods, if, for instance, their meds are working.

Generally one would talk about someone experiencing an episode of psychosis, rather than labelling them as psychotic, which is a blanket term and not accurate about most people's experience.

Some people (many people with schizophrenia, for instance) retain some positive symptoms, such as auditory hallucinations, in an ongoing way, but at manageable levels. I think they would be described as having some psychotic symptoms, but not as being psychotic.

I know that some people can be experiencing florid symptoms of psychosis, and appear relatively normal at first glance, but many people experiencing psychosis (which is often utterly terrifying) look utterly terrified and it is quite obvious that they are unwell.

People in remission from periods of psychosis function at various levels of wellness. Some continue to have negative symptoms, and are clearly "different"...some are as normal as anyone gets.

Given that you are talking about sociopaths/psychopaths I am unsure why psychosis came up.

These people are not "normal" but they are not generally suffering from what we label as psychosis.

DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:30 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

Ok DrewDad, clearly I am quite skeptical... but I am curious enough to want to continue this discussion. You clearly have faith in psychopathy, and you express an expertise. Since we both know where we stand...

I do not claim an expertise. I'm an interested layperson, and I've had reasonably close relationships with folks who have extensive experience.

ebrown p wrote:
I am interested in psychopaths who are not incarcerated (since incarceration adds all sorts of other variables; by this time you are incarcerated you have been rejected by society and labeled... and since I am not incarcerated).

I suggest you read Snakes in Suits.

Excerpt here.

http://www.hare.org/images/snakes.jpg

ebrown p wrote:
1) I am curious about your claim "these people's thinking is so radically different from the norm. " Is there objective research to back this up?

Yes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy_Checklist-Revised_(PCL-R)

ebrown p wrote:
I am skeptical because first of all it presumes a "norm" (whereas I would expect that any measure of people's thinking would show a wide variety), and second because it is hard to believe that any metric wouldn't show a smooth curve (and thus any line would be arbitrary).

I believe the Hare Psychopathy Checklist is a scaled measurement.

Wikipedia wrote:
Psychopathy is most commonly assessed with the PCL-R, [43] which is a clinical rating scale with 20 items. Each of the items in the PCL-R is scored on a three-point (0, 1, 2) scale according to two factors. PCL-R Factor 2 is associated with reactive anger, anxiety, increased risk of suicide, criminality, and impulsive violence. PCL-R Factor 1, in contrast, is associated with extroversion and positive affect. Factor 1, the so-called core personality traits of psychopathy, may even be beneficial for the psychopath (in terms of nondeviant social functioning). A psychopath will score high on both factors, whereas someone with APD will score high only on Factor 2.[44]



ebrown p wrote:
2) You didn't answer my post about the differences between psychopathy and other mental conditions-- such as Autism. As I noted, there are people with Autism who function quite well in society (and there are others for whom the condition is dibilitating).

Autism is not psychopathy. Autism has been linked to multiple genetic transcription errors.

There are many mental conditions. They are debilitating to various degrees (schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc.). The affect other people to various degrees (borderlines are disruptive in their personal relationships, obsessive compulsives affect mostly their own lives). But the psychopaths of the world are the ones that make me believe in evil. They are the Charles Mansons, the Ted Bundys, the Al Capones. (Which is not to say that every psychopath is Ted Bundy.)

ebrown p wrote:
If someone with all the traits of a psychopath lives a law-abiding and fulfilling life... is she still a psychopath? Autism is considered a disorder, but the traits can provide benefits, in fact some people with Autism are heralded as geniuses. (The same is also true with bi-polar disorder). The unique stigma given to this one disorder is suspicious.

You are free to remain suspicious. But I assume your scientific training taught you to be careful about making assumptions about other people's specialties. I will trust that Hare knows what he's talking about though, since it appears to me to be good, peer-reviewed science.

ebrown p wrote:
3) I read a bit on Richard Hare (I find this stuff interesting in spite of my skepticism). I plan to read more. I am happy to know there is a real instrument to measure whether a person is a psychopath or not... but the determination still seems awfully arbitrary? It would make me feel a bit less skeptical if people were either clearly psychopathic or clearly non-psychopathic (with no one on the border)... but I suspect this is not the case-- I would love to see research on this question.

That very border is where the term "borderline personality disorder" came from, if my recollection does not fail me.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:36 pm
@dlowan,
Thanks. One thing which has bothered me since this thread started was the casual, and rather stupid, assumption that a sociopath and a psychopath are interchangeable terms.
 

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