This is one of my favorite songs. I love the lyrics: "One child grows up to be somebody that just loves to learn and another child grows up to be somebody you'd just love to burn. Mom loves the both of them, you see it's in the blood. Both kids are good to mom -- blood's thicker than mud." Of course when I first heard the song I thought I heard "Somebody that just loves to burn," which was obviously more applicable, but the rest is true -- my family loves me just as much as my empath siblings. But with the holidays upon us, I have been thinking about socio family members. Some think that as many as 1 in 25 people are sociopaths, and if that's the case you'd imagine that even more people have a sociopath in the family. Or maybe you turn out to be the sociopath in the family, like the man in this article:
Jim Fallon recently made a disquieting discovery: A member of his family has some of the biological traits of a psychopathic killer.The moral of this story to me is be careful how much you preach about genetic testing and forced imprisonment of sociopaths because you may turn out to be one of us.
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Three years ago, as part of a personal project to assess his family's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, Dr. Fallon collected brain scans and DNA samples from himself and seven relatives. At a barbecue soon thereafter, Dr. Fallon's mother casually mentioned something he had been unaware of: His late father's lineage was drenched in blood.
An early ancestor, Thomas Cornell, was hanged in 1673 for murdering his mother. That was one of the first recorded acts of matricide in the Colonies. Seven other possible killers later emerged in the family tree. The most notorious was distant cousin Lizzie Borden of Fall River, Mass. In 1892, she was accused and then controversially acquitted of killing her father and stepmother with an ax.
As a lark intended to enliven family get-togethers, Dr. Fallon decided to analyze the data from the Alzheimer's project to see whether anyone in his family matched the profiles of killers he had studied. His initial subjects included himself, his three brothers, his wife, and the couple's two daughters and son.
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To his surprise, Dr. Fallon found that the analysis of his own brain showed he had inherited certain high-risk forms of MAOA and other various aggression-and violence-related genes.
"I'm the one who looks most like a serial killer," he says. "It's disturbing."
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"I'm still in balance, but I seem to have low emotional engagement," says Dr. Fallon, noting that the brains of many cold-blooded murderers reveal a similar picture.
Dr. Fallon thinks that one vital factor may have prevented him from becoming a killer. "I had a charmed childhood," he says. "But if I'd been mistreated as a child, who knows what might have happened?"