Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wired for risk

This was an interesting article sent to me courtesy of a reader, "Economic decision-making in psychopathy": A comparison with ventromedial prefrontal lesion patients," featuring our good friend Newman as one of the authors. The gist of the article is that "born" sociopaths share certain risking taking and economic decision-making patterns in common with people who have an impaired ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is associated with risk, fear, and decision-making.

First, the researchers make a distinction between classes of sociopaths:

“primary” (low-anxious) psychopathy is viewed as a direct consequence of some core intrinsic deficit, whereas “secondary” (high-anxious) psychopathy is viewed as an indirect consequence of environmental factors or other psychopathology. 

Next, the sociopaths were given two classic decision-making tasks, the Ultimatum Game and the Dictator Game. Regarding the Ultimatum Game:

In the Ultimatum Game, two players are given an opportunity to split a sum of money. One player (the proposer) offers a portion of the money to the second player (the responder), and keeps the remainder for himself. The responder can either accept the offer (in which case both players split the money as proposed) or reject the offer (in which case both players get nothing). “Rational actor” models predict that the responder would accept any offer, no matter how low. However, relatively small offers (less than 20–30% of the total) are rejected about half the time (Bolton and Zwick, 1995; Guth et al., 1982). The “irrational” rejection of unfair offers has been correlated with feelings of anger (Pillutla and Murnighan, 1996), suggesting that the responder’s ability to regulate anger and frustration plays a critical role in task performance. Patients with vmPFC lesions, who are known to exhibit irritability and poor frustration tolerance despite an otherwise generally blunted affect (Anderson et al., 2006; Barrash et al., 2000), reject an abnormally high proportion of unfair offers (Koenigs and Tranel, 2007). Thus the first aim of this study is to determine whether either of the psychopathic subtypes (primary or secondary) also rejects an abnormally high proportion of unfair offers.

And the Dictator Game:

In the Dictator Game, there are again two players with an opportunity to split a sum of money. However, in this case the responder has no choice but to accept whatever split the proposer offers. Thus, the amount offered by the proposer in the Dictator Game is presumed to reflect a prosocial sentiment, such as empathy or guilt. Patients with vmPFC lesions, who are known to exhibit deficits in empathy and guilt (Anderson et al., 2006; Barrash et al., 2000), offer abnormally low amounts in the Dictator Game (Krajbich et al., 2009). Thus the second aim of this study is whether either of the psychopathic subtypes (primary or secondary) also offers abnormally low amounts in the Dictator Game.

I'm not surprised at all by the results. The only thing I find somewhat puzzling is that the primary and secondary sociopaths differ. I would think that both types would try to shortsell their partners in the games. Unless the secondary sociopaths are a little bit more aware or paranoid that this may be a situation that would leave them vulnerable to the unpredictable social judgment of others?



77 comments:

  1. I'm 2nd and you're not

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  2. The article quotes posted suggest that an inability to control anger is responsible for the rejection of unfair offers by psychopaths. I wonder if the true reason for rejection is that unlike empaths, the sociopath cannot see any value in another's gain. The offerer relies on the acceptor's ability to 'be happy for the other person' and accept the smaller share.

    On the other hand, a small gain is still a gain, so it depends on a balance between fairness and desire for wealth. I would probably accept any offer because I've accepted that the world isn't fair and will take what I can get.

    This reminds me of one time I went to Olive garden and had a terrible, mean waitress. I'm sure she expected no tip at all, but I left her a relatively large one. I recall thinking at the time that I wanted her to feel guilty and ashamed for being a birch, and the tip was a small price to pay for that. Kind of like the dark side to turn the other cheek. Of course, if she was a sociopath then I lost that game handily.

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  3. Unfair or not if something is offered without any work being involved"on my part" it will be accepted. I may have to bite my tounge. But I see it as your loss n I will accept your shit. Now giving the opportunity I would prefer to take control of how much would be offered out.

    As far as tipping I always leave a good tip. Cause I'm always stereotyped that I won't tip. I like seeing the face they make when they open up the check book. I then make sure we run into each other before I leave the building. If the service was bad I'd let them know they didn't deserve that good tip n that they could of possibly made more if they didn't suck at life.

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  4. Kim Jong-illin' in the HouseOctober 8, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    I'm so Ronry

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    1. Kim Jong-illin in the HouseOctober 8, 2012 at 11:40 PM

      So Ronerrrrryyyyyyy

      Delete
  5. Finding out that the internet is full of losers who slop around on sites like this all day is almost as scary as finding out that the internet is full of cat videos/

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    1. Kim Jong-illin in the HouseOctober 9, 2012 at 12:27 AM

      I work very hard
      And make up great prans
      But nobody listens no one understands
      Seems like no one takes me seriousry

      Delete
    2. Kim Jong-illin in the HouseOctober 9, 2012 at 12:28 AM

      And so, I'm ronerrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyy

      Delete
    3. I need you kimmy. I'm illin for your Jong!

      Delete
  6. Kim Jong-illin in the HouseOctober 9, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO RONERRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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    1. Kim Jong-illin in the HouseOctober 9, 2012 at 4:04 AM

      So ronery and sadry arone
      There's no one, just me onry

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    2. This is making me hungry for Chinese food.

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    3. ^ try Korean bro

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    4. Kim (Jong il) chee

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    5. ^ Ha! – that’s some funny foreign culinary wordplay humor there folks.

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  7. Ive had a really bad two days guys (this being one of them) Iam drinking gin in the morning........

    I have a reason to...... I took 110mg's of methadone and 7 2mg xanax too.........

    Unless I get clean from xanax they are kicking me off my methadone program

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  8. Oh yeah, and Good Morning Sociopathworld!

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  9. Actually, unless I get down to 2mg's a day they are kicking me off my program.........

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    Replies
    1. I was on ativan and it took a while to get off it. Even cut to 1/4 of a .5 mg tablet wean.

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    2. ativan and xanax are very similar.

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    3. it is hard to not go from one addition to the next. im not even talking about drugs here. i'm talking about anything which serves as a crutch that is self- destructive.. eve when i obssess over something or someone it feels like a drug. it puts me into my "happy place" but at the end of the day, it is not the happy place i really crave.

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    4. I have detoxed off xanax many times, its really easy for me actually......... Ive never had a problem getting off benzos as long as I do it slowly.........

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    5. dont people who are oing off alcohol get addicted tthe sugar in the alcohol and then have to beat that?

      I imagine an addiction to drugs is like the addiction to satan-like people.

      Does it feel like the drugs are people to you, rich? ?

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    6. oh that's good. i have a hard time going off my ssri medicine. it is addictive. i know we are talkig a little apples and oranges, but it is whart i can relate to. also, i think i have replaced benzo with weed.

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    7. I am going to go now. have a good day sw

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  10. Put your number on my FB and I will call you.

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    1. I dont think you wanna talk to me right now Monica...... I toos Seven (Yes 7) 2mg xanax and ive been drinking, Iam really fucked up...... But if you are up for the task I will do it.......

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    2. I am up for it. I am all man

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    3. Call me soon, with 5 or 10 mins..... Iam about to go for a walk and would like to talk to you while walking :)

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    4. I can't get through. Look on your FB. I told you why.

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    5. I kinbda feel untrusted by you now......... lol

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    6. It is not you, at all, Rich! xxx

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  11. what does it mean when someone here says they are an uberempath?

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    1. It’s an exclusive SociopathWorld neologism combining the German prefix (über) meaning ‘over’ or ‘above’ with the informal word for a non-sociopath – ‘empath’.

      It was inadvertently coined by Mr Rich himself who originally went under the pseudonym 'RichLookingForfriends' although another SociopathWorld regular – TNP – was quick to provide us with its ('über-empath') definition [see: ‘Sociopath Quote: The Lie as Romance - Sunday, September 16, 2012]

      It was then used in retaliation in spite of TNP's definition and has since been adopted into SociopathWorld common parlance.

      I hope this answers your question.

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    2. Pretty good answer there Anon..... You covered all the bases!

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    3. Thank you for the explanation, anon. I looked up the sw reference.

      But Rich, no he did not cover the bases. Not for me. I would like to know what a super empathic person is like, without the definitions including the words "pussy" and"weak" Those words do not connote uber anything.

      I liked what you said in the sw reference, Rich, but I need more info, if you do not mind.

      I would like to know what it is that a super empathic person does. I have met plenty of people who do things for others all the time when they are in distress, I have had a teacher who was very caring, I, myself, can read what a person is feeling (I think that must be a super empathic thing).

      But too be super "uber"empathic seems like a burdn, and I have read that somewhee here a while ago. I don't know whether that person still exists here, or whether they thought themselves uberempathic or not.

      WHat I am after are the details. What is the life like? WHat movie character can I compare it to? Melanie in "GOne WIth the WInd?? SHe seemed like a saint.

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    4. I have a friend who said she has an "empathy problem " ?? Her life is being a slave to a spoiled daughter and a physically abusive ex husband who mooches off her.

      If her friends are in distress, she can feel their sadness so much that her problems feel insignificant to hers (her words) and she will not "bother" them.

      Is this uber-empathic???

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    5. Here is a great site to explain empaths

      http://healing.about.com/cs/empathic/a/uc_empathtraits.htm

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    6. Anon @ 10:30, that is part of being an uber empath, yes.

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    7. Rich is the empath Messiah. Even though he may not realize it yet.

      He has been chosen to cast the sociopaths asunder and lead the empathy-weary to the glory-hole of über-empathy.

      However, he has a few demons of his own first to cast out. Xanax the Stupifyer, Methadonewithdrawllor etc.

      He's the meth pied piper of Opium for SociopathWorld

      Delete
    8. Anon @ 10:22 read my link..... Plenty of great info.

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    9. Rich, thank you for that link.

      Delete
  12. The lowball offer is rejected because psychopaths are shallow effect and so the gain means less to them, and their machiavellian side gets satisfaction from knowing how pissed off the other person will be. also, the decision to reject the offer is the only control they have in the situation...

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  13. In the dictator scenario i fail to understand why anything would be offered to the other person.

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  14. SociopathWorld Forum Digested ReadsOctober 9, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Purse Psychology – Lively debate discussing ‘The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy’ and a chin-strokingly interesting thought experiment about a found purse on a park bench. Unfortunately the discussion has now descended in throwing verbal hand-bags at each other as is almost customary on most SociopathWorld forum threads that begin with well- intentioned reasons. I mean – you try getting a whole lot of anonymous nutbars with personality disorders trying to agree on anything let alone what is the actual definition of a personality disorder. It’s the exercise in futility equivalent of telling Spatial Mind he’s completely full of shit. Nevertheless, the dust will eventually settle, the wounded will be bayoneted and the battle-hardened SociopathWorld regulars will nurse whatever bruised egos they may have and then resume the business of what they do best here at this never-ending war of attrition we call SociopathWorld – i.e. abusing each other for no good reason other than it’s better than not abusing them.

    Convince – Meanwhile SociopathWorld’s own pseudo psychopath pop psychologist takes a crowbar to the cerebral cortex to all within Spitting cobra distance of what sounds like a game of truth, dare or promise with the Fritzl family. This nasty piece of knitting would make Hannibal Lecter choke on his own venomous tongue. Best served with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

    Its not me is it?? – Strictly for SociopathWorld seasoned professionals, linguistic cryptographers or just fanatic exponents of the macabre. Your guess is as good as ours here at SociopathWorld Forum Digested Reads with this little brain-defiling bobby-dazzler. If we tried to digest this we’d probably require an exorcism afterwards. Is it a desperate cry for help or H.P. Lovecraft ‘Call of Cthulhu’ exhortation? You decide – it’s not my job’s worth.

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    Replies
    1. I love these things! Who are you?? Are you the Rat Mole?

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    2. Have you never heard the expression - curiosity killed the squirrel?

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    3. Not really. I could die of curiosity though. Why the mystery? It's genius material!

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    4. No I've never heard the expression either until I made it up just now ; )

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    5. I'm so glad you offer this daily rundown free of charge to the public.

      Delete
  15. Check this socio out: Werner Erhard...

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    1. That's hilarious. A good female friend of mine convinced me to depart with my hard earned cash to attend a 'Landmark Forum' a while ago now.

      Now it makes sense why I couldn't wait to get out of that freak-show. I watched aghast as otherwise normal upstanding citizens were transformed in a bunch of cry-baby suckers.

      Damn you sociopaths and your sociopathic ways!!!!

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    2. Oh man. One of the first shrinks who tried to therapise me was into him.

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    3. Someone tried to recruit me to aspire to be a leader at landmark! I met this woman in the street and talked about my business and we clicked on another level, and then she teared up like she saw herself in me. It was very, very strange. Then she tried to butter me up with the compliments saying I am a born leader.

      She saw dollar signs is what she saw.

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  16. Time to drink myself into another blackout.............

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    1. Yes oh wise über-empathetic one - we must all drink until we blackout.

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  17. Didn't read the article yet but I'd:

    -Probably reject any offer made to me unless it favored me unless I needed the money or could otherwise sleight the person later. Maybe I'd let a 55-45 slide. Would likely go for a 70-30 or 60-40 (depending on amount and the 'appeal' of the split number) type of split so they didn't reject my offer.

    -Probably go for an 80-20 in the dictator game. It might depend on the sum of the money, though. If it were a very large sum I'd probably go much lower, and if it were a small sum I'd consider going a bit higher. It'd be enough where they aren't going to extract revenge over it.

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    1. I could easily see myself just accepting any offer too, because either way I come out ahead. I dunno. It would really depend on who the person making the offer was. If it was someone in competition with me or with authority I'd probably do as I said, because that's the assumption I wrote with. If it is not someone described that way I'd probably just slam accepts with a smile.

      After actually reading the study, in the context of that game, I'd probably just accept.

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  18. This comment makes ME wonder, on the possibility of a cure, is there some sort of bio-genetic implant available? Do Humans have that technology yet? What if scientists took a Hybrid approach, like part Human and part Sociopath, you know, just to bridge the gap? Thanks for your valuable time and energy, and thanks again for your blog :)

    ReplyDelete

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