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The Mind of a Sociopath

 
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:43 pm
@Setanta,
My understanding is that "sociopath" is the older term and "psychopath" is the accepted modern term. (I could be wrong, of course. All of the psychologists I've met have called it psychopathy.)

It represents a theoretical, or perhaps theological, disagreement about whether the disorder is because of society, or an aberration in individuals, but they describe the same set of behaviors.

Dlowan did not differentiate between sociopath and psychopath. She discussed psychosis. While psychosis and psychopathy share the same first six letters, they have little relation to each other.
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:44 pm
@dlowan,
I tend to digress from time to time. Sorry about that.

Thank you for you post. I'm glad this thread went somewhere because I find everyones perspectives and thoughts very interesting. A good read on my end.

Thanks again.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:48 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad,

I trust peer reviewed research as peer reviewed research. It means that the experiment was done in an scientifically valid way. This means the findings are credible, but you have to understand what the findings are. Going any further than the findings leads into speculation. The brain wave finding cited earlier is an example of that... the finding said nothing about causality (i.e. were the brain waves because of genetics or because of their treatment in prison or society).

I am very interested in the question of whether psychopaths can be good people (i.e. law-abiding and productive in society). In this case, the fear in the original posts in this thread would be overblown. It may even be to my benefit to seek out psychopaths in my business or as a drinking buddy.

I suppose it is the stigma to the word that I find the most problematic-- the idea that one group of human is less valuable than others... based solely on some arbitrary line drawn in the reasonably even distribution of human personalities raises my skepticism and irritates my sense of fairness.

I may add the Snakes in Suits book to my reading list (I am not sure if I will get to it).


DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 04:57 pm
@ebrown p,
You may wish to address your question of whether brain waves can be a predictor of behavior the the person that posted it. I am not familiar with any research along those lines, although I'd be interested in the findings.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:02 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
I am very interested in the question of whether psychopaths can be good people (i.e. law-abiding and productive in society). In this case, the fear in the original posts in this thread would be overblown. It may even be to my benefit to seek out psychopaths in my business or as a drinking buddy.

Let me know how that works out for you....

Wikipedia wrote:
The prototypical psychopath has deficits or deviances in several areas: interpersonal relationships, emotion, and self-control. Psychopaths lack a sense of guilt or remorse for any harm they may have caused others, instead rationalizing the behavior, blaming someone else, or denying it outright.[64] Psychopaths also lack empathy towards others in general, resulting in tactlessness, insensitivity, and contemptuousness. All of this belies their tendency to make a good, likable first impression. Psychopaths have a superficial charm about them, enabled by a willingness to say anything without concern for accuracy or truth.

This extends into their pathological lying and willingness to con and manipulate others for personal gain or amusement. The prototypical psychopath's emotions are described as a shallow affect, meaning their overall way of relating is characterized by mere displays of friendliness and other emotion for personal gain; the displayed emotion need not correlate with felt emotion, in other words.

Shallow affect also describes the psychopath's tendency for genuine emotion to be short lived and egocentric with an overall cold demeanor. Their behavior is impulsive and irresponsible, often failing to keep a job or defaulting on debts.[64]

Most research studies of psychopaths have taken place among prison populations. This remains a limitation on its applicability to a general population.

It has been shown that punishment and behavior modification techniques do not improve the behavior of what Hare and other followers of this theory call a psychopath. They have been regularly observed to respond to both by becoming more cunning and hiding their behavior better. It has been suggested by them that traditional therapeutic approaches actually make psychopaths if not worse, then far more adept at manipulating others and concealing their behavior. They are generally considered to be not only incurable but also untreatable.[65]

Psychopaths also have a markedly distorted sense of the potential consequences of their actions, not only for others, but also for themselves. They do not, for example, deeply recognize the risk of being caught, disbelieved or injured as a result of their behaviour.[66]

Psychopaths may often be successful in the military, as they will more readily participate in combat than most soldiers.[67][unreliable source?]
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:22 pm
Thanks David.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:26 pm
@Montana,
Montana wrote:

Thanks David.

My pleasure, Montana.
When I wrote that, I failed to see that u had already
put him on ignore, and u therefore had no need of my advice,
so I deleted it.





David
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:29 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
It's ok David, I read and appreciate what you said. First time I use ignore and it does work quite well.
Thanks again Very Happy
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:32 pm
@DrewDad,
I believe that your friend Mr. Hare distinguishes between sociopathy and psychopathy, and i believe that Miss Wabbit did also in an earlier post.
Setanta
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:34 pm
While David and Montana are waxing sanctimonious, i'll be happy to point out that she was the one who called me names, and that i did not call her any names.

I already knew that I'mSickDavid is a mealy-mouthed hypocrite, apparently Montana is applying for the same position.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:34 pm
@Montana,
Its kinda like the fasers on Star Trek
( classic Trek with Capt. Kirk ):
u aim at the bad guy, trigger it, and he completely disappears !

never to darken your world again
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:37 pm
@DrewDad,
This mix is new to me, but then again, I don't follow all this.

So, listening.

I'm pretty sure some life circumstances build characters who can be taken to be antisocial - but with discernment can be understood to be quite sane in their way. . while some would call them sociopathic. The so-called criminal element fits here, to me. May be sociopathic behavior.. but may be more sociologic.

When I say sociopathic, I mean something different - people, often smart, with no real cognisance of, or if so, no grasp of.. societal values (lame choice of words).

In my lifetime, much of psychosis has turned out to have brain biochem bases - which, as usual, I'm not up to date on.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:38 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I believe that your friend Mr. Hare distinguishes between sociopathy and psychopathy, and i believe that Miss Wabbit did also in an earlier post.

I'd love to see where.

I see references from someone named Lykken about sociopathy, but I haven't seen anything by Hare.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:40 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad, What you are posting is not making me any less skeptical. I want research backed arguments that I can apply reason to.

What you are posting are value judgments. I see no research to back them up (nor do I know a way to make a scientific experiment to test them).

Consider these problems in the argument you posted...

1. The word "deficit" is without question a value judgment. How is this whether a trait is a "deficit" or a "strength" measured scientificially? As the quote you posted noted, some traits listed as "deficits" come in handy if you are in combat.

There is no reason to believe that these traits you label "psychopathic" wouldn't be considered beneficial in a business or a barroom... you certainly haven't provided any research to this affect.

2. What scientific instrument can distinguish between "pathological lying" and normal everyday lying. I have certainly lied for personal gain (in fact I don't think I have ever told a lie without personal gain). And who the heck hasn't feigned friendliness for personal gain?

3. There is also the problem of free will. I have certainly been presented with multiple circumstances where I had to choose between honesty and integrity, or personal gain (i.e. something that I wanted). I don't think I am alone in saying that I have not always acted with integrity. Yet, I have a good productive life with a strong marriage and a strong emotional attachment to my children. The propensity to make to choose integrity or the needs of others over personal desire is a spectrum, not a true/false choice (I would love to see research that contradicted this).



There is nothing here to challenge my suspicion that "psychopathy" is nothing more than a subjective label; an arbitrary line drawn around some of the vast range of human personality types.

There is no research that you have presented to support your assertion that it is best to stay away from "psychopaths".

And... even if you should stay away from these bogeymen... it is highly dubious that you could pick them out from among your co-workers or casual acquaintances.

Of all we have discussed, and all the links I have read (including the ones you have pointed me to) I haven't seen anything to suggest that the word "psychopath" has any value (except maybe to predict recidivism in prison populations).
Montana
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 06:01 pm
@ebrown p,
My thoughts exactly. Without scientific proof, all we have are labels, in my opinion and that was my arguement when I disagreed with my sons ADHD diagnosis.

I have also done things on that list of signs and I've manage to lead a normal life without anyone questioning my sanity.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 06:07 pm
@DrewDad,
Hare and Lykken are both referenced in your wiki link

Quote:
Relationship to sociopathy

Main article: Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R)

The difference between sociopathy and psychopathy, according to Hare, may "reflect the user's views on the origins and determinates of the disorder."[58]

David T. Lykken proposes that psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He holds that psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. Sociopaths, on the other hand, he believes to have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. Both personality disorders are, of course, the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.[53]
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 06:31 pm
@JPB,
This article seems to do a good job of discussing the history of the naming conventions.

Quote:
...Concerns about validity were a particular problem for the behavioral disorder under consideration, which was termed antisocial personality disorder (APD) and defined purely behaviorally in terms of chronic antisocial behaviors, such as stealing or failure to meet financial obligations. These behaviors could be objectively observed or discovered reasonably accurately and thus independent raters could agree about whether the person under consideration met the criteria, but the diagnostic criteria omitted the less observable, clinical inferential criteria, such as the ability to feel empathy or guilt, that many clinicians thought were the touchstone of the disorder. Such clinicians believed that antisocial behavior could certainly be a product of underlying psychopathology, but antisocial behavior could be produced by many other variables as well. Thus, DSM-III's behavioral definition apparently failed to distinguish true psychopaths, whose antisocial behavior was produced by the underlying clinical pathology, from people whose similar antisocial behavior might be produced by poverty, subcultural influences, or other potential causes. But until good operational measures of the underlying pathology could be developed, it was impossible to make conceptual and empirical progress.source
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 06:38 pm
@ebrown p,
By all means, perform your own research. I pretend to be neither an expert, nor an educator.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 06:39 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Setanta wrote:

I believe that your friend Mr. Hare distinguishes between sociopathy and psychopathy, and i believe that Miss Wabbit did also in an earlier post.

I'd love to see where.

I see references from someone named Lykken about sociopathy, but I haven't seen anything by Hare.


No I didn't.

I distinguished between psychosis and "sociopathy/psychopathy".


I am no expert on the sociopath area, so I didn't feel entitled to comment re those labels.....but I have been reading about it a bit lately.

The instrument used (I think there is more than one, but there is one most commonly used currently) would give guidance re such a diagnosis, but, in the absence of the kinds of physical evidence available in some medical illnesses, all such judgments remain somewhat subjective....that is, it's a clinical judgment.

Often such demarcations are most useful for research purposes...that is, so that there is agreement across the board about who is/is not included in studies, so that data from different research studies can be compared and compiled and add to the body of knowledge about this troubled and troublesome group. (I think there is clearly a core group who fit the current DSM IV description, although individuals at the margin might be assessed differently by different assessors.)

The brain stuff is, indeed, fascinating...though I agree with ebrown that the presence of different patterns of brain activity does NOT justify a judgment that these folk are "born, not made", because we know more and more that brains (especially infant brains) are moulded by experience.

My hunch, for what it's worth, would be that there is some genetic vulnerability, but whether this vulnerability is expressed or not might frequently be affected by the (especially for the first 3 years) person's environment.

But that IS a hunch.











roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 06:42 pm
@dlowan,
You mean I'm going to have to reevaluate my ideas on preventative justice?
 

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