You don’t have to look very hard to find a news story about a violent crime committed by someone who seems to display a callous disregard for the consequences of their actions.
It is estimated that about 1 in 100 people are psychopaths, but although many violent offenders fall into this category it does not mean all psychopaths will be violent. Nor does it mean all violent people are psychopaths.
Is the tendency towards psychopathic behaviour something that people are born with, or is it something caused by our upbringing? Find out about the indicative behaviours doctors look out for when making a diagnosis of psychopathy.
2.A violent mind?
In brain scans of violent psychopaths, there are differences in the activity of some areas compared to non-psychopaths. If these differences could be seen at a young age, this could suggest there is a genetic basis to psychopathy.
However, If we imagine the brain as a muscle, it could be that psychopaths fail to exercise certain areas enough, leading to decreased activity, which could be a result of upbringing and the environment.
3. Can we spot psychopaths?
Psychologists tend to agree that certain patterns of behaviour are associated with psychopathy. However, It is perfectly normal to identify with some of these behaviours and exhibiting one or more of them is not the same as a diagnosis of psychopathy.
Psychopaths may lead ‘parasitic’ lives – in which they do not take responsibility for their actions nor make long-term plans, seemingly unable to know how to make their plans achievable.
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