Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sociopaths = slightly less violent than toddlers

David Dobbs writes for the NY Times about the progression from violent toddlers (everyone), to become less violent children (most everyone) to becoming hardly violent at all adults (a lot of people):

To understand the violent criminal, says Richard E. Tremblay, imagine a 2-year-old boy doing the things that make the terrible twos terrible — grabbing, kicking, pushing, punching, biting.

Now imagine him doing all this with the body and resources of an 18-year-old.

You have just pictured both a perfectly normal toddler and a typical violent criminal as Dr. Tremblay, a developmental psychologist at University College Dublin in Ireland, sees them — the toddler as a creature who reflexively uses physical aggression to get what he wants; the criminal as the rare person who has never learned to do otherwise.

In other words, dangerous criminals don’t turn violent. They just stay that way.
***
“It’s highly reliable,” said Brad J. Bushman, a psychology professor at Ohio State University and an expert on child violence, who noted that toddlers use physical aggression even more than people in violent youth gangs do. “Thank God toddlers don’t carry weapons.”
***
The rate of violence peaks at 24 months, declines steadily through adolescence and plunges in early adulthood. But as Dr. Tremblay and Daniel S. Nagin, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University, found in a pivotal 1999 study, a troublesome few do not follow this pattern.
***
To Dr. Tremblay, the findings suggest cause for optimism: that humans more readily learn civility than they do cruelty.

We start as toddlers. We learn through conditioning, as we heed requests not to hit others but to use our words. We learn self-control. Beginning in our third year, we learn social strategies like bargaining and charm. Perhaps most vital, we use a developing brain to read situations and choose among these learned tactics and strategies.

I wonder if the non-violent sociopaths were the ones that as children started focusing more on negotiation and charm to get their way (as opposed to the violent sociopaths who remained heavy-handed in their techniques).

The rest article is interesting, especially when it discusses how Tremblay became interested in human violence only because he grew up with a father who was a professional football player and was fascinated that there were certain areas of life in which violence was not only accepted, it was praised. See also, glorification of violence in media, video games, and many other areas of our entertainment lives.

29 comments:

  1. Anger is the best motivator, just needs to be channeled toward non-violent ends.

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    Replies
    1. Making people angry, without getting angry, to do what you want them to do is an art. Some empaths are good at that too.

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    2. No empaths think that they are good at that. They are not.

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    3. "Making people angry, without getting angry, to do what you want them to do is an art."

      Thats how i fucken roll

      Delete
  2. Anger is a gift and they're giving it because they care about you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, is a form of empathy? Give, care,…for “good” reasons. I don’t think so.

      Delete
    2. No, Anger is lovely, they don’t “share” it easily. Unless, they think mutual benefit of it is greater than its cost.

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    3. I was trying to be sarcastic. Sometimes things come out differently than the way I mean. I hate it when that happens.

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    4. Don’t feel bad. Here is a guilt free zone.

      Delete
    5. Let the butthurt flow freely.

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    6. Don’t resort to name calling because you lost. I understand your pain!

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    7. An empathetic audience, only grasp empathetic responses. Other way around does not work.

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    8. lols , damage, I often say things, and i'm like ok I meant to say this though. I get ya. :)

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    9. I'm feeling a lot of love right now. *barf*

      Delete
  3. There are quite a few other factors that can influence whether violent behavior escalates into teenage years and adulthood (the brain is not fully matured until the early twenties).

    Substance abuse is a huge factor. When children or teens use drugs (not recreationally but to the point of addiction) their emotional development stops or freezes (just like a developmental delay) That means impulse control and higher cognitive functions have stopped developing. This is why you see addicts or, those who have recovered at some point, in their 30's or 40's still acting like teenagers (making irrational life decisions and lacking in basic living skills and impulse control).

    Other critical factors include exposure to domestic violence, childhood abuse, and sexual abuse. There is also research starting to come out that discusses how poverty plays a huge role in violent or what you refer to as sociopath behavior.

    ME, I'm surprised that you didn't make the correlation between this topic and Autism and Asperger's because you are so fond of talking about them and this is one topic it would be right on point. Children with developmental disorders are not capable of "negotiation and charm to get their way". They are stuck at a low emotional and/or IQ level.

    This is exactly what happened with Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook). He had a developmental delay that was not being treated, no prior arrests or violent behavior, he as not exposed to other risk factors (substance abuse, childhood abuse, or domestic violence, poverty). He was allowed to be socially isolated and fixated on his obsessive thoughts with guns and violence (video games).

    In hindsight, we can see how Adam Lanza was a tragedy waiting to happen.

    MelissaR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah.

      Gotta hate those nerds.

      Whenever I see one of those awkward looking kids walking around, I just know that they're secretly planning something devious.

      Like playing duck-hunt in a school yard.

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    2. MelissaR- I really like your perspective here. Substance abuse is HUGE in determining behavior patterns because (like you said) it keeps people from progressing to maturity once the addiction takes over.

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    3. just cuz someone fits a profile doesn't mean they did it. Its highly possible that someone used that stereotype to choose their scapegoat. maybe he was framed

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  4. You find the best resources to further educate this audience. There's a very good book called Born,Not Raised, Voices From Juvenile Hall that is a great exploration of this topic. One of the endorsements of the book states, "If only judges could have access to the writings,photographs,and stories of the young Lankford has met, juvenile court would be much more rehabilitative."

    Lankford spends a year at juvenile hall getting to know some of the youth. The book explores the neurobiological impacts of childhood trauma. It goes on to say,"that unnurtered youth, with all their dreams and deficits, can be reparented and rewoven into the social fabric.

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  5. The best book ever written about sociopathic criminals is
    "Inside The Criminal Mind," by Stanton E. Samenow P.H.D.
    You'll simply never need to read another book on the topic
    of criminality after reading that.

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  6. There are people here, who like to frame others for personal gain –gossipers. What people like him are doing is ethically, morally and legally wrong, but empathetically well-justified.

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  7. yes, exclude the kids Mach, i agree.
    sadly, the kids have probably been molested themselves or subjected turmoil/emotional/ or some type of physical abuse.
    Anon 6:27 we dont know if its a scam, just speculate. i am believer of exploiting child molesters - because sexual perversions destroy the soul of a child. it has such catastrophic effects. it can ripple through generation to generation. The ramifications to survive sexual child abuse will be a life long process and it takes dedication, hard work, support, and assistance to not feel overthrown by it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super Chick, We all see the issue from our perspectives, Macha seems to care about kids, you are hyper-vigilant about sexual issues, and I always stand for underdogs.

      Delete
    2. I think what bothers me most is the deliberate attempt to incite outrage. This is a smear campaign where the author faces no risk, and the target probably has no idea he and his family are being smeared. It's not a fair fight. Not to say that guerilla warfare (psychological or literal) is always wrong- just that we need information that can be independently verified before a post like this can be taken seriously (after that, then we consider the ethical complications). For all we know this is a spurned lover or still bitter middle child looking to exact revenge.

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    3. anon, 7:37 very true. we all see things from our own interpretations. and, yes, mach does care about children, i never suggested otherwise. :) im hyper-vigilant because i have no choice to not be, i was targeted. and the world needs more individuals like you. to stand for the under dogs.

      true Mach, i see that side too. i understand what yr statin' here. it isn't a fair fight to have family names smeared. there's no way in knowing if these allegations are true.

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    4. “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
      Winston S. Churchill

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  8. And if it's true. If he did abuse and prey on hundreds or even helps thousands to seek it out. You most did a most excellent job in manipulating the conversation on this thread and help fend for a child predator "rights" all in the name of "lets not bash him people." Bravo.

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    Replies
    1. If he did do this and there was independent verification of this I think you'd see a different reaction from this crowd. But those who identify with the label sociopath know a thing or two about "guilty unless proven innocent". Pedophiles are a similarly vilified lot, but convicted sex offenders are not always pedophiles- there's a lot to be said for avoiding the hysteria of a witch hunt.
      If it's true then I would hope the individual who possessed this knowledge would have the courage to publicly bring charges rather than simply incite a smear campaign.

      Delete
  9. Not directed at you Super Chick.

    ReplyDelete

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