Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is sociopathy a real thing? (part 2)

My response:

This is a very insightful question.  I think this is one of the issues that comes from basing the diagnosis of sociopathy primarily on behavior.  First of all, I agree.  I am not sure that sociopathy is even a "real thing".  I do think it's interesting that there seem to be people that are very similar to each other, but I think that is bound to happen in the spectrum of human personalities and behavior -- that you would be able to find people clumped together in any part of the spectrum.  Sociopathy may just be a particularly intriguing segment of personality traits because of the disparately large effect they seem to have on the lives of others and the unique motivations that drive their behavior.  Yes, I think that sociopaths brains may look different, but our brains are constantly adapting and are constantly being impacted by our experiences, thoughts, and decisions (caveat, there is some evidence that aspects of the brain you wouldn't expect to see changing in a lifetime are also statistically different in sociopaths than the general population).  There's just so much we don't know about sociopathy that I am hesitant to actually come to any conclusions myself about its nature.

Even assuming that sociopathy is a "real thing" (as much as anything can be real), I think that it is difficult to study and understand.  There's a chicken and the egg problem in terms of coming up with a diagnosis -- you need to identify sociopaths before you can make a list of their traits and you need a list of their traits to identify them.  To the extent that there is somewhat of a history of what constitutes a "sociopath," that helps, but there really is so much variation between even modern researchers in terms of their conception of the defining characteristic(s) of a sociopath.  On top of that, everyone seems to agree that environment plays a big role in any gene expression, and particularly a tendency to become a sociopath, with some researchers believing that certain subtypes are born while other types are made.

I personally don't feel like most of my behavior is all of that shocking or antisocial, particularly when compared to certain populations like the prison population.  It's interesting that you say that [Eastern Europe] has a calloused population.  I've visited other places that have an overall low baseline level of empathy and prosocial behavior (the Netherlands, Israel, Egypt, Vietnam, among others).  I don't know what sociopaths would look like in those cultures.  My guess is not necessarily any worse than the general population, just like uranium pollution may be difficult to detect in an environment with a high baseline level of radioactivity.

One thing is for certain, sociopaths do not have a monopoly on calloused behavior.

29 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgJInVvJSZg

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    2. <3 Same to you David

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  2. I Like to Bend my PenisMarch 8, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    ZzzzzZzzzzzz (((Burp))) ZzzzzzzZZzzzzZzz (((scratch))) zZzzzzzZZZzzzZzz (((fart))) zZZzzzzZzzz

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  3. You got my vote for the all time best name on SW

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  4. I Like to Bend my PenisMarch 8, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    They say the truth hurts, in my case it feels great!

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    Replies
    1. SW has THE most original people on the planet :D

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  5. yo can stop if it turns blue

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  6. I need to borrow 500$. I'll pay it back... you can trust me.

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  7. ok you can pick it up at the slaughterhouse you can trust me come in the back with the cows

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  8. I will be right there!

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  9. Wow, just, wow. This video man. Wow.

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  10. david what's your favorit mask mine's the shrink lol (the guru a close 2nd)

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  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmFp0I8AZqw

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  12. You need to take more risks, ME. Why are you so careful with your blogs. I want guts! Pull your guts out, dammit! I want to see major organs here!

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    Replies
    1. You are SO STOOOOOPID Raven

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    2. Why? Because I don't lick ME's ass? People who want to go beyond the average, enjoy being challenged. So I challenge people to go past what's comfortable to them? How is that going to affect a sociopath? Why is that so bad? I want more!!! Give me more!!! I won't stand for less!

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    3. YOU are so average Raven. You have no originality yet you think you are this ground breaking person when you are a fucking sheep.

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    4. I agree, Raven. Not that I want blood and carnage, just that I feel ME plays it safe. I came here hoping for insight into the sociopathic mind and I feel I have gotten more from the comments and the forum participants than from ME.

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    5. Maybe ME wants to talk about topics and not have immature people messing up the place with childish behavior he he

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    6. @Sarah

      I agree. I've gotten more out of, and have learned a lot more from the comments and forum section, than the actual blog posts.

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  13. I found that rather amusing.


    - The Malefactor

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  14. Nah.. M.E. is simply keeping to his/her reality which is nothing like your fetishes Raven. How about you spill some real blood and guts instead of getting your PA kicks from vicariously trying to experience who/what you're obsessing about.

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  15. lol they put the boy in the trash. thats priceless

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  16. Actually in China its pretty common for people to adopt orphans and maim them and set them out in public places to beg for money. The idea is that they will garner more sympathy from passersby if they are seriously injured. I've seen it myself. People mostly do ignore the kids because if they gave money then it would encourage the "owners" of the kid to do it to other children. I've seen it myself over there.

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