Friday, August 14, 2009

Potholes in the brain

What a quaint way to describe a sociopath's brain. Apparently that is all researches can come up with when they are trying to interpret the results of a study about brains scans on known criminal sociopaths:
Psychopaths who kill and rape have faulty connections between the part of the brain dealing with emotions and that which handles impulses and decision-making, scientists have found.

In a study of psychopaths who had committed murder, manslaughter, multiple rape, strangulation and false imprisonment, the British scientists found that roads linking the two crucial brain areas had "potholes", while those of non-psychopaths were in good shape.

The study opens up the possibility of developing treatments for dangerous psychopaths in the future, said Dr. Michael Craig of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, and may have profound implications for doctors, researchers and the criminal justice system.

"These were particular serious offenders with psychopathy and without any other mental illnesses," he told Reuters in an interview.

"Essentially what we found is that the connections in the psychopaths were not as good as the connections in the non-psychopaths. I would describe them as roads between the two areas -- and we found that in the psychopaths, the roads had potholes and weren't very well maintained."

The scientists cautioned against suggestions the study could lead to screening of potential psychopathic criminals before they are able to commit crimes, saying their findings had not established how, when or why the brain links were damaged.

"The most exciting question when do the potholes come -- are people born with them, do they develop early in life, or are they a consequence of something else?"
Dr. Craig, who conducted the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry with colleagues Declan Murphy and Dr Marco Catani, stressed that the numbers in the brain scan study were small, with only nine psychopaths analysed and compared with nine non-psychopaths.

"Trying to get people of this particular type to take part in a study, and also then deal with all the security you need to get them into a brain scanner, is not an easy feat," he said.

The study used new brain imaging technology to further analyse psychopaths' brains after previous studies found that the amygdala part of the brain, which processes emotions, and orbitofrontal cortex, which handles impulses and decisions, are structurally and functionally different in psychopaths.

"Up until recently the technology hasn't been available to look at the connections between those two brain areas in any meaningful way," Dr. Craig said.

But a new technique, called diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI), allowed the researchers to look at the white matter tract linking the two key brain areas.

As well as finding clear structural deficits in the tract in psychopathic brains, they also found the degree of abnormality was significantly linked to the degree of psychopathy.

"As for the moral significance for society, and how society wants to deal with these things, that is a little premature," said Dr. Craig. "This is a small study and the important thing it raises is that more research needs to be done."
But seriously, just because the sociopath's brain obviously works differently than the empath's does not mean that one has "potholes" and the other is the Autobahn. Where are the studies showing the deficiencies of the empath's brain compared to the sociopath's? I guess they don't want to do those studies because "trying to get [empaths] of this particular type to take part in a study . . . is not an easy feat."


  1. "Hi guys. I have a brain disorder that makes me think I'm superior and have special abilities, just like schizophrenics and aspies. Give me some scientific research to prove that I really am superior, please, even though you already have scientific research proving that I'm just broken. If you can't, then you're being biased."

    Yeah, where are the studies showing the deficiencies in normals' brains compared to retards'? Bring 'em on, I say!

  2. Maybe if you post a study of your brain we would have something to start with.

  3. Did I strike a nerve?

    You don't even have the strength to admit your own deficiency. Go revel in your "superiority" with the narcissists, friend. Your kind make up the dregs of society, barely able to scrape by a living.

    "Oh! Oh! CEOs! CEOs!"
    Save it.
    You think they're sociopaths?
    Prove it, 'tard.

  4. Read idiot. Hare said his study would have gone into wall street on sociopathy if he wasnt allowed to study in prisons. While your at it (you know the reading thing), you might want to check up on the CEO thing before you stick your foot in your mouth.
    Your nerves must have been struck long ago to seek out a sociopath site just to strike back at them anonymously. Why dont you tell us your horror story.

  5. Here's what I see:
    1) A man you've discredited as a practitioner of junk science failed to do a study that you'd like to claim as evidence.

    2) You still don't have any proof whatsoever of the number of sociopath CEOs you fantasize about.

    Are you a CEO, pager?
    Are you anything worth mentioning, or are you just a scum sucker with delusions of grandeur?

  6. Yes I am, but please, dont let that stop you. Educate us with your wealth of knowledge on the subject. You sound very educated on psychology. I want to hear your opinion.
    How was your childhood anonymous? Did you think your mother was a sociopath, because she sucked stranger's dicks in front of you for money when you were only ten. Is that why you came on here?

  7. Thanks for the honesty.

  8. OK! Nice now we know that inprisoned (violent, mordering) criminal, clinical psychopaths, have "potholes", but how about non-criminal, non-violent psychopaths, how about sub-clinical or sub-criminal psychopaths?

    Or how about people with AsPD, or malignant narcissism (AsPD + NPD)?


  9. Normal is what is common, median, typical, average.

    Sociopaths, uber-empaths, autistics, geniuses, retards, are uncommon, atypical, extreme brains, unique.

  10. Successful CEOs are often workaholic and good at what they do. But just because they are also usually unempathetic, charismatic and fearless doesn’t neccessarily make them sociopaths, although they do have many sociopathic characteristics.

  11. Exactly, Anon.

    It comes with the territory.

    There's a difference between having control over your emotions, or even being largely unaffected by them, and being a sociopath.

    It's too bad these tools can't see it.

    I'm still waiting for my proof, Pager. That burden is on you, after all. You're the one making claims.

  12. Unless you've all been psychopaths from birth, then this does not apply. "Sociopaths" in the clinical sense are environmentally caused. The ones in prison, without the ability to look inward and stop their impulsive behaviours, were mostly that way from birth.

  13. STFU, fool.

  14. Hawhawhaw. Clever as ever.

  15. “Sociopath” is a matter of definition.

    I prefer to use it to describe overall patterns of behavior, and not specifically psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, antisocial personality disorder, schizoidism, dissocial personality disorder, aspergers, autism, or any other non-empathetic conditions which all have a combination of genetic and environmental causes.

  16. Quote: "I guess they don't want to do those studies because "trying to get [empaths] of this particular type to take part in a study . . . is not an easy feat."

    Again, what a load of Baloney. Empaths certainly wouldn't have any problems to take part in such a study. Most, if not all, woldn't have a problem with it, I'm pretty sure.

  17. As far as I'm concerned, Bill Gates -formerly both Microsoft's CEO and world's richest man-, has Asperger's, as does Steve Ballmer -his successor-. On the other hand, Ian Brady and Ted Bundy, confirmed sociopaths, were forced to, respectively, live in prison, and die by the government's hand. Greatness is on the Aspie side of the spectrum, Sociopaths/Psychopaths are far too destructive for their own good.

  18. Would anyone care to count the number of sociopathic comments above? I'm pretty sure that insults, scapegoating, self-obsession, intimidation, glibness, over generalization, lack of empathy, etc. are pretty good indicators. But aside from that, let's leave it to the growing number of neurophysiological studies correlating behaviors with brain structures to determine exactly what causes sociopathy. As for discussion of individuals, we should start by labeling behaviors that fit the Hare Psychopathy Checklist and correlate more with manipulation than with critical thinking, and progress toward depersonalizing the entire topic by eventually keeping all people with disordered behaviors out of politics and monitoring those who become CEOs.

  19. You can't really label a person as a "sociopath"-- it's confrontational, just doesn't accomplish anything positive. But you can analyze their behavior patterns to see whether they match the manipulative side (e.g., intimidation, obstruction, lust for power and control, fear-mongering, negativity, lack of empathy, etc.) more closely that the "empath" side (encouraging critical thinking, considering all possibilities, collaborative, positive outlook, etc.) and reject the manipulators when you vote.

  20. I would just like to say- I do not quite understand why this statement would be in the end of this article

    But seriously, just because the sociopath's brain obviously works differently than the empath's does not mean that one has "potholes" and the other is the Autobahn. Where are the studies showing the deficiencies of the empath's brain compared to the sociopath's? I guess they don't want to do those studies because "trying to get [empaths] of this particular type to take part in a study . . . is not an easy feat."

    Im an Empath. I would honestly love to participate in a type of study like this.

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