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Psychopaths Have Brain Structure Abnormality

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the probably-a-funny-bump-on-the-head-too dept.

Medicine 438

mmmscience writes "A group of scientists has identified a structure in the brain of psychopaths that is abnormal when compared with controls. The change is found in the uncinate fasciculus, a bridge of white matter that connects the amygdala (emotion/aggression brain region) and the orbitofrontal cortex (decision making region). Interestingly, the greater the abnormality in the region, the more severe the levels of sociopathy in a subject. The results were published as 'Altered connections on the road to psychopathy' in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. A researcher on the team suggests the finding could have considerable implications in the world of criminal justice, where such scans could one day be presented as evidence in a trial." The study's results have not yet been replicated by other researchers.

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FIRST POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951571)

FIRST POST!!! WOIIOOO!

Corrective Surgery? (1)

Zapo_Verde (1406221) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951579)

It would be interesting if you could fix sociopathy with a knife.

Re:Corrective Surgery? (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951707)

It would be interesting if you could fix sociopathy with a knife.

Well, you can but firearms are generally more effective and easier to employ ;)

Re:Corrective Surgery? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951861)

I don't think accusing psychopaths of being brain damaged will make them any nicer....

I betcha John McCain has the balls to tell him, though.

Re:Corrective Surgery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952023)

Accusing? No, defending. You really don't get it do you... you can get out out of jailtime the crime was commited because of some mental problem. Now IANAL, but I know this is possible in some cases.

Re:Corrective Surgery? (1)

exley (221867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952051)

I betcha John McCain has the balls to tell him, though.

Must... Resist... Urge... For so many... Jokes...

Re:Corrective Surgery? (4, Funny)

exley (221867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952029)

Well, you can but firearms are generally more effective and easier to employ ;)

Hey nothing psycho about that response...

Re:Corrective Surgery? (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952241)

They don't show a causal relationship. Changing the structure doesn't necessarily 'fix' it.

And the possibility of non-psychopaths having the structure abnormality, and/or psychopaths not having the abnormality has not been ruled out.

Given our limited understanding of the human brain, it's quite possible there be multiple things that cause psychopathic tendency.

For all we know removing perceived "abnormal" structure could wind up creating an even bigger harm, or worse disorder.

Psychopath != Sociopath (4, Informative)

Smoke2Joints (915787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951581)

Sometimes they occur together, but this is not always the case.

Re:Psychopath != Sociopath (2)

Zapo_Verde (1406221) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951619)

+1 TFA says the degree of psychopathy increases with degree of abnormality, while the summary replaces the word psychopathy with sociopathy.

Re:Psychopath != Sociopath (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952203)

So how will this affect the criminal justice system?

The defense lawyer will argue his genetic makeup caused him to be a sociopath, so it's a preexisting medical condition, making him not responsible, and since there isn't any treatment for it (frontal lobotomy anybody?), it's cruel and inhuman to put him into a psychiatric facility, therefore he must be released?

Course, say hello to screening your unborn child for this problem...

Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951667)

The study lacks an important result: the distribution of this cranial abnormality among ethnic groups.

The statistical data shows that violence -- especially, violent crime -- is disproportionately committed by African-Americans and Africans (in Africa). Just look at the crime data for South Africa and Oakland, California.

Data about the distribution of this cranial abnormality could likely confirm the genetic basis of African violence.

Genetics plays a powerful role in determining both behavior and intelligence. The average IQ of the African is about 20 points less than the average IQ of, say, the Japanese.

Re:Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951703)

Who let the Republican in here?

Re:Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups (0, Flamebait)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951833)

And more interestingly, where have they gotten all these moderation points?

Re:Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups (0, Flamebait)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952227)

Thats an easy one. Just go to Slashdot and proclaim Linux as your God and the Mod points will flow in

Re:Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951731)

Of course this study lacks ethnic distribution studies. Nobody likes hearing their "race" is way more predisposed to go apeshit and kill a ton of people.

And think for a bit, anyone doing that, even if backed up by irrefutable scientific evidence, would be discredited for racist bigotry.

MOD PARENT DOWN (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951807)

Nobody likes hearing their "race" is way more predisposed to go apeshit and kill a ton of people.

Mod parent down! The troll is implying that Africans mimic the behavior of mad gorrillas! AC, I humbly ask that you quit posting that flamebait before you make certain people get all uppity 'n' shit.

Re:Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951855)

Do you copy and paste this to every story dealing with crime?

Re:Psychopath != Sociopath (5, Informative)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951715)

Not sure where you got that from. The difference in terms can be traced back to different theoretical perspectives on the same set of symptoms. Over time, the pendulum has shifted back and forth regarding whether the symptoms were the responsibility of the individual or the social environment the individual was raised in. If you think antisocial personality disorder is the result of individual choices or some sort of illness, you may be more likely to use the term psychopath. If you think that the symptoms are the result of a person's social environment, you may be more likely to use sociopath. The terms themselves do not denote two recognized different disorders. Check out DSM for definition of Antisocial Personality Disorder, or there's always Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Psychopath != Sociopath (3, Interesting)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951745)

You're looking at symptoms. The terms denote different causes. Semantically, they are different words with different meanings. The parent was technically correct.

Re:Psychopath != Sociopath (2, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951993)

They're hypothesized causes. You can't make any valid claims about the correlation between causes when you can't actually test for either one, so while it may be true that conflating the two terms is improper, the OP still managed to be wrong, too.

Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952011)

The study lacks an important result: the distribution of this cranial abnormality among ethnic groups.

The statistical data shows that violence -- especially, violent crime -- is disproportionately committed by African-Americans and Africans (in Africa). Just look at the crime data for South Africa and Oakland, California.

Data about the distribution of this cranial abnormality could likely confirm the genetic basis of African violence.

Genetics plays a powerful role in determining both behavior and intelligence. The average IQ of the African is about 20 points less than the average IQ of, say, the Japanese.

Even more interesting is the rate of violent crime in Japan (and France) versus South Africa. The Japanese have one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world. Even in poor neighborhoods, you will not find armed robberies in Japan. The total violent crime in Japan is less than the violent crime in the largest city in South Africa. The anecdotal evidence of genetics-based violent crime is very convincing.

Re:Distribution of Abnormality among Ethnic Groups (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952169)

The statistical data shows that violence -- especially, violent crime -- is disproportionately committed by African-Americans and Africans (in Africa).

Is that before or after the data has been normalised against socio-economic status?

Cause or effect? (3, Insightful)

Rival (14861) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951585)

Given the brain's ability to mold itself with use, I wonder whether this abnormality is a contributing factor of the psychopathic behavior, or a result of it?

Re:Cause or effect? (0)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951605)

Yes, ye olde "correlation does not imply causation" needs to be dealt with.

Not that we won't see a slew of irresponsible "psychopaths have possibly repairable brain damage" articles.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951643)

>correlation does not imply causation

But it does present a interesting target for experimentation and hypotheses testing. So the "Possibly Repairable" bit is not off the table just yet.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951971)

Of course. It's merely irresponsible to present an article as such. Lacing your article with fudge words like "may" gives the impression that something is a lot more important or likely than any evidence suggests.

Re:Cause or effect? (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951783)

Correlation sure as shit IMPLIES causation. It does not PROVE causation, though. If we didn't use correlation, we wouldn't get anywhere.

Re:Cause or effect? (4, Interesting)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951877)

Ok, why is the increased sale of ice cream correlated to the increased number of shark attacks? Or murder?

In reality, it's probably the heat putting more people in the water, but the sale of ice cream doesn't rely imply the possibility of a shark attack. The heat too makes people frustrated and more annoyed, so more likely to snap, but these are environmental contributing factors - any individual capable of murder is capable of it during any period of hightened stress and annoyance, not just in summer.

But yes, if we didn't correlate we wouldn't have figured out that putting sticks into the fire was a good idea.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952015)

Ok, why is the increased sale of ice cream correlated to the increased number of shark attacks?

Probably that both are caused by hot weather.

Re:Cause or effect? (5, Funny)

kothmac (1609535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952093)

Ok, why is the increased sale of ice cream correlated to the increased number of shark attacks? Or murder? ...

Sharks really love ice cream, and can smell it in the water from miles away. So called "educational" shows like to say blood instead, to prevent people from freaking out.

Re:Cause or effect? (0, Troll)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952125)

Countdown to the next poster from the "Slashdot School of Mathematics" stating that correlation does not equal causation...

5.4..3...2....1...

Re:Cause or effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952003)

No it doesn't, unless you purposely use the word imply incorrectly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

Re:Cause or effect? (3, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952019)

In discussions of rigorous statistics, the word "implies" is typically used in the strict mathematical sense, where it is essentially the same as "proves". In this context, an unambiguous way to convey your point would be to say that correlation suggests causation.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952187)

In this context, an unambiguous way to convey your point...

You must be new here if you think that's what he wants to achieve.

Re:Cause or effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952209)

I don't think you know what IMPLIES means.

a > b and b > c IMPLIES a > c

Something is implied if it is a logical consequence of something not explicitly stated.
Definition [google.com]

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951803)

Or, since you were wondering about the brain, did YOU give the brain the ability to mold itself?

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951945)

Given the brain's ability to mold itself with use, I wonder whether this abnormality is a contributing factor of the psychopathic behavior, or a result of it?

Really? I guess it's just me but what I wonder is whether psychopath brains taste better to zombies, or normal ones?.....BRRRAAAIIINNNSSSSZZZZ

Re:Cause or effect? (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952157)

BEGIN RANT

Our legal system is based on the concept of choice; when you commit a crime, you are assumed to be making a conscious choice, and the fact of your doing it proves the choice that you made, and thus your guilt. The laws themselves read this way: part of the definition of a crime in California is that you must INTENTIONALLY perform the illegal act, but this is almost meaningless since it's assumed that you mean to do what you do.

However, it's my belief that ultimately, there is no real choice. We are a product of our biology, genetics, epi-genetics, and experiences.We make choices based on the combination of these factors, and if it were, in fact, possible to account for all the minute variables in these factors, our decisions could be predicted in virtually every case.

The more science news I read, the more firm this conclusion, and this is no exception. And the logic is real simple: if genetics didn't make us who we are, then dogs could talk and trade stocks. But they can't, because they are dogs, and they are dogs because of their genetics, epi-genetics, and biology. Their behavior as such a dog is modified by their experiences. (dogs that are beaten as puppies behave quite differently than those that are loved, even if neither trade stocks)

So, at what point do we decide that the "temporary insanity" defense breaks down completely? If I speed because of my sum biology + experience, then can't it be argued that I really don't have a choice in speeding? (and yes, I do tend towards "lead foot", if you know what I mean) It's not anytime soon, but it's there, and if current trends continue, that point *will* be reached.

When/if the singularity happens, and our personnae can be loaded as a self-morphing program into a computer, can't it be clearly demonstrated that the program does exactly what its structure dictates? Are we going to find MS Word guilty of having Clippy pop up in annoying ways, or do we just accept that it's the way it's constructed and thus has no real choice in the matter?

We pretend that people have a choice, even as we accept that paedophiles will always be paedophiles, rapists will always be rapists, criminals will always have criminal tendencies, and that there is no true cure for any of these. Isn't that an admission that there is no choice, even if our very legal foundation is predicated upon its existence?

END RANT.

Re:Cause or effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952207)

Take an MRI, go out and kill a few people, come back and repeat. Question answered.

First Posters Have Brain Structure Frostiness (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951595)

keepin it real

real frosty

bitches

over and out

don't mod me down just because I'm right

someone's got to keep on keepin it real

word to yo momma

Re:First Posters Have Brain Structure Frostiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951761)

And first posters who ring in 5 minutes after the real first post are just retarded.

Re:First Posters Have Brain Structure Frostiness (2, Funny)

rbowles (245829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952037)

Burma shave.

Psychopathy is terminal (2, Interesting)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951631)

I don't have the reference handy but I once came across a study showing that incarcerated psychopaths who undergo treatment for the condition are statistically more likely to demonstrate a greater degree of psychopathy in the future than are those who do not undergo treatment.
Any psychiatrists out there want to back me up?

Re:Psychopathy is terminal (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951743)

I don't have the reference handy but I once came across a study showing that incarcerated psychopaths who undergo treatment for the condition are statistically more likely to demonstrate a greater degree of psychopathy in the future than are those who do not undergo treatment.
Any psychiatrists out there want to back me up?

Where's Dr. Melfi when you need her?

Re:Psychopathy is terminal (3, Informative)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952007)

I'm not a psychiatrist, but I believe you may be thinking of this study and its precursors [nih.gov] : Rice, M. (1997). Violent offender research and implications for the criminal justice system. American Psychologist, 52(4), 414-423. At least, a number of sources seem to cite to it for this claim, which is actually very interesting. One explanation was that the therapy served to increase the subjects' sense of self-worth and confidence, which made them even more dangerous. For them, only medication seemed to do any good. If the research the article describes can add more options, that seems to me like a good thing.

Causal, Relational, Caused By, or Correlation? (3, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951637)

A much larger study is going to be needed to see if having this deformity is (a) unique to psychopaths, and (b) always present in them. If that's the case, great. A screening can be done early. If not, it sounds like a pretty scary way to lock people up in advance of them doing anything (which itself is a very very bad idea).

Re:Causal, Relational, Caused By, or Correlation? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951663)

My immediate thought, exactly (except for the added punctuation):

Aw fuck, that's gonna mess alot of shit up for a long time, if not for the rest of forever

For real, the implications of putting people in jail before they commit a crime is fucked up even if we can see the damn future. [Citation: Minority Report]

Re:Causal, Relational, Caused By, or Correlation? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951773)

Since TFA doesn't give numbers, then the trap is fairly obvious. The public will read it as follows:

  • Convicted "psychopaths" have an identifiable abnormality in their brain.
  • "Normal" people don't have this abnormality.
  • Therefore, anyone with this abnormality is (or will be) a convicted psychopath....thus leading to a real life Future Crimes Office.

The real questions (and I'm sure that defense attorneys will pile on this one), are "How many people with this abnormality do not end up convicted of violent crimes?" and "How many people convicted of violent crimes do not have this abnormality?"

Not everyone with a fskced-up brain is dangerous, and not everyone with a "normal" brain is safe. I would argue that your average human being is fairly dangerous as a single unit....and that danger goes up exponentially as the group size increases. Mob justice, anyone?

Re:Causal, Relational, Caused By, or Correlation? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951853)

minority report, anyone?

Re:Causal, Relational, Caused By, or Correlation? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951907)

On the contrary, it may serve as an effective way to help prosecutors/psychologists/courts/etc understand a physiological relationship between a psychopath's brain and his/her actions that we want him/her held responsible for.... and the decisions for the consequences of... say... a dog that barks because dogs bark, or a dog that deliberately hacked an iPhone for use in terrorist plots...

bad analogy, I"m sorry, I read a lot of slashdot..

Re:Causal, Relational, Caused By, or Correlation? (2, Interesting)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951963)

When I was in school 10 years ago they taught us that Psychopathy is the deprecated term for Antisocial Personality Disorder [wikipedia.org] (APD). People with APD have a different physiological response to pain, lying, and suffering than the general population. Research has linked it with both genetic and environmental factors. It's quite possible, even likely, that law-abiding people have the same physiological characteristics as Psychopaths but were raised in an environment which countered those characteristics.

This research has important implications for developing a treatment for APD. A treatment could take the form of drugs, therapy, or both.

Regarding this being brought up in court, it seems likely to me the defense would use it to argue for a reduced sentence since the defendant, through no fault of his own, didn't have complete control of his faculties. Since he has discovered that he has APD he can seek more effective treatment than a prison sentence.

Corporate leadership screening wanted (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951647)

Perhaps one thing that might restore sanity to the world is a bit of screening for this characteristic and perhaps some surgical corrections.

Yeah, I know that would never happen... "these" particular sociopaths are our leaders and our heroes. We shouldn't identify them with negatives should we... so let's continue supporting our sociopathic world leadership as we always have.

Re:Corporate leadership screening wanted (2, Informative)

hax4bux (209237) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951737)

Ha, that was my first thought as well.

You could brand it as a "leadership" test.

Re:Corporate leadership screening wanted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951943)

Psychopath =/= sociopath. There is a HUGE difference between the two.

To be used in court cases how? (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951649)

The summary mentions use of such scans in court cases. Frankly, that worries me a fair bit. Saying to a jury "look, this guy's brain shows that he's likely to kill people, so he's probably the murderer" is worrisome. It is all the more worrisome because of the implied argument that the individual should be locked up anyways. There's also the additional issue that when there are brain differences detected with MRI and similar methods they are often at a large-scale statistical level and there might be a substantial fraction of normal people whose brain structure looks close to that of a psychopath. I can't access the original study, so I can't tell.

This does also bring up the standard issues of free will and such. At minimum, if someone commits heinous crimes due to brain problems it makes it ethically problematic to engage in essentially punitive imprisonment.

Re:To be used in court cases how? (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951777)

I think the idea is simple,just like DNA. But instead of guilt/innocence its more along the lines of the infamous insanity defense. I think that once the lawyers understand the tech, then they could expedite the trials for the ones really need to be hospitalized. Then the courts can get on to the really important stuff. Like the RIAA!

Re:To be used in court cases how? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951829)

To me, it seems more likely that we'll be seeing such scans used by the defense. "My client is a victim here, too. A victim of his chromosomes".

Re:To be used in court cases how? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951903)

XYY defense:

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/XYY+Chromosomal+Abnormality+Defense [thefreedictionary.com]

I suspect that this will have all the same weight in a courtroom: little to none.

--
BMO

Re:To be used in court cases how? (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952197)

Yes, you're better off using the Twinkie Defense.

Re:To be used in court cases how? (4, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951947)

Do you know that 2% of the regular population has antisocial disorder? Do you know that 70% of prison inmates have it? .... a little factoid I like to share when I talk about dogs that bark, birds that fly, and genetically differentiable humans that do things differently.

But my point is to ask you... what do we do with them? So we confirm they're a psychopath, we acknowledge its bad to really 'punish' them because it was unavoiadble.... but then what? I guess the answer is a nice cushy white box with 3 hots and a cot...

Re:To be used in court cases how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951965)

well, a consistent and ongoing application of camps and gas chambers will eventually provide a final solution

Re:To be used in court cases how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952057)

Sources>?

Re:To be used in court cases how? (0)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952225)

You can use google. I'm sorry, but my source is myself from research I did 3 years ago for a paper I was writing about capital punishment.

Google it. or better yet, google:scholar it.

Re:To be used in court cases how? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952083)

So we confirm they're a psychopath, we acknowledge its bad to really 'punish' them because it was unavoiadble.... but then what? I guess the answer is a nice cushy white box with 3 hots and a cot...

Three hots and a cot sounds peachy keen to me. Just as long as they are able to earn it. In the arena. Pitted against folks like themselves.

Somehow I can't see them objecting.

"You want me to what? Kill that guy? No problem. He's armed you say? That'll make it interesting."

Re:To be used in court cases how? (3, Insightful)

UncleMidriff (935137) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952137)

The brain is a physical thing, and the brain is what makes us do stuff, like think or act. I'm relatively certain that if we stick around long enough, we'll figure out what parts of the brain cause anyone to do anything, and thus every action, from eating cereal to stabbing puppies, will be subject to a "I couldn't help myself" kind of defense. That's fine with me, but we still need to figure out what to do with the people who "choose" to skip breakfast in order to stab more puppies.

Certainly, we can sympathize with them if they truly could not help themselves, but the fact remains that we'd like to have as few puppy stabbers running around as possible. "3 hots and cot" seems like the best option to me; isolate them from the society that they can't fit into for that society's benefit, but don't go out of your way to make life hell for them either. It'll be a long time before that view is accepted though. We really want to believe that the puppy stabber is a bad person who must be punished, and that we would have chosen differently given the exact same brain.

Or, I'm full of crap and scientists will soon discover FreeWillnium, a substance not subject to the laws of physics, found in the brains of all humans and sufficiently cute puppies.

Yeah, lets scan your brain while we are at it (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952043)

Look, the prosecutor rarely WANTS this, it is often the defender who makes claims of mental illness to get his client off. Personally I never understood that. if you would come to me with two cases, one who murdered simply for say a wad of cash and another because the voices told him too, guess which one would be first to fry? You can reason with a cold blooded killer, a psycho...

And not all psycho's are criminals so we still have free will. We humans are wired for more things then you probably realize, doesn't mean we have to listen to it. Our body needs to breathe, but we can drown ourselves. Our body hates pain, but people put themselves on fire out of protest. We need to eat, yet some starve themselves to death. If we can be heroes against our nature then we can at least expect others to remain normal against their nature.

What will be really interesting/scary... (1)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951651)

..is when they can "fix" the abnormality. Who will be the one to decide whether or not one needs to be Fixed?

Re:What will be really interesting/scary... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951691)

The survivors.

Re:What will be really interesting/scary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951985)

+5 irony
nice ;)

Test Bank CEOs (4, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951665)

There's a hypothesis that CEOs are disproportionately selected for sociopathy. If that is true, particularly in the case of banks (which are too big to fail -- ie: they have a taxpayer sponsored safety net), then we have a vested interest in finding out if the hypothesis is true.

http://www.google.com/search?q=sociopath+executive [google.com]

Given the lack of remorse, the ease with which they claim entitlement in the face of their own catastrophic failure, and that we have been left holding the tab, it seems that a concrete test like this might be reasonable.

Just a thought.

Re:Test Bank CEOs (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951905)

so what exactly are you proposing, banning people from becoming CEO's if they have a certain brain structure abnormality?

Re:Test Bank CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951921)

This is why social pseudo science can be so dangerous. You can use it to stick those you don't like into lunatic asylum.

Re:Test Bank CEOs (1)

netfool (623800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951927)

...so what if some, a lot, or all CEOs happen to be sociopaths? 1) It shouldn't matter if anyone is a sociopath as long as they do not break any laws. 2) How would you actually go about getting people people to take this so called concrete test? Would someone have to take this test in order to start their own company? 3) If they are deemed a sociopath, then what? That's not illegal. This is a slippery slope my friend.

Re:Test Bank CEOs (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951955)

You have to admit, at least some people have been forced into an early death as the result of such failures.

"I realize that you're thirty minutes away from pension and health insurance for the rest of your days, but I need another payment for my boat. Get the fuck out."

Re:Test Bank CEOs (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951959)

not only will all interenet threads eventually end up talking about Nazis...... they will end up talking about the recession...

Re:Test Bank CEOs (1)

bjackson1 (953136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952001)

I hate to quote a previous post, but
Psychopath != Sociopath

I would like a study that... (1)

rouge86 (608370) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951671)

examines whether or not the brain was always abnormal before the person exhibited the behavior of a psychopath.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951689)

explains my ex-girlfriend

That explains the Harris government. (2, Funny)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951717)

Well that certainly explains why Mike Harris closed down all those mental hospitals. All the seriously ill mental patients were all holding office.

If this is true, here is my suggestion (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951723)

Scan every single world/religious/business/military leader.

Cause/effect doesn't matter. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951757)

A researcher on the team suggests the finding could have considerable implications in the world of criminal justice, where such scans could one day be presented as evidence in a trial.

My response:

"There is a tendency... today to explain human behavior, to remove purpose - motive - from serious consideration. We tend to accept the notion that mechanical, not purposive, causation accounts for the things people do. Joe Sinister is a criminal because his parents beat him or because of a chemical imbalance in his brain or because of a genetic disorder that removed the function we call conscience... These explanations of human behavior may be accurate... but the issue of accuracy is, in fact, quite irrelevant to human societies. A human community that uses mechanical causation to account for human behavior cannot survive, because it cannot hold its members accountable for their behavior. That is, no matter how you account for the origin of a human behavior, a community must continue to judge the perpetrator on the basis of his intent, as near as that intent can be understood (or guessed, or assumed). That is why parents inevitably ask their children the unanswerable question: Why did you do that? Terrible as that question is, it at least puts the responsibility back on the child's head and forces the child to ask himself the question that society absolutely requires him to answer: Why do I do the things I do? And how, by changing my motives, can I change my behavior?... We must believe in motives for human behavior, or we cannot maintain community life."
~ Orson Scott Card, from the Introduction to "Cruel Miracles".

Re:Cause/effect doesn't matter. (2, Interesting)

kzieli (1355557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951859)

Its simple enough. Eventually we will find the biological basis of every opinion you hold. Then we will find how to correct any abnormalities. Once we have done that their will be an end to crime, an end to decent. Oh yes elections won't be necessary either as the clinical records of your last brain scan will clearly indicate who your preferred candidate is. And if you don't like it we will change your mind : )

Re:Cause/effect doesn't matter. (0, Troll)

Ummite (195748) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952049)

Hi girintraining

I did drink some scotch, but I hope moderators will raise you, since what you just said is absolutly right. I mean, everything have a causality, and if this lead to not put in prison people that does did offence to what we consider ok, everything will find a causality to people behavior and this will lead total collapse. We cannot accept "as superior knowledge people" the behaviour of inferior one because they did have a physical excuse or pre-adult bad learning experience.

I'll change subject a little bit, but since we are overpopulated, why not sent to forced labor for life everything that is now > 2 years in prison offence, and never include excuses for lower sentences?

Re:Cause/effect doesn't matter. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952097)

So "your" response is just to parrot someone else's prose? That makes it not your response.

Re:Cause/effect doesn't matter. (1)

SigmaTao (629358) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952289)

We already make assessments as to how much effective choice an individual has with regards to the actions they pursue. Those with diminished capacities are not treated as 'evil' per say but needing of help. It does not undermine our ability to have people with all their facilities being held to account for their actions. Nor does it stop us preventing people with dangerous behavior being taken out of the general society to protect us from them. Accuracy is paramount in this regard because the choice between treatment and punishment is dependent on that assessment. Treatment, if possible, is superior to punishment because I would hope it would be more likely to change the behaviors.

Quick... (0, Troll)

johnshirley (709044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951837)

Scan Obama's brain for that abnormality. You might find it there.

Can you say Minority Report? (2, Insightful)

OpinionatedDude (1323007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951843)

This is scary as heck. And you think it's a pain in the backside having to take your shoes off at the airport now. "Sir, please place your head in the scanner..." Clang! "hey, how come that metal ring just tightened around my neck?" scary stuff... jp

Re:Can you say Minority Report? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952105)

No, it's scary if we DON'T figure this stuff out. Psychopathy and sociopathy are "scary as heck". If we can diagnose and treat people early, and reduce the prevalance of psychopaths in society, that is the opposite of scary my friend.

What really scares me... (1)

ViciousJello (1387581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951919)

Is the possibility that scientists will discover a genetic link to this brain disorder.

It scares me because:

1). It would be another way for juries to deny justice be cause "that poor person can't help the way (s)he was born."

2). It may mean the serious beginnings of research into removal of that gene in people which

3). may mean the disappearance of unique forms of intellect/creativity that might actually benefit from the person's brain not being wired just like everyone else's.

Who to scan first...? (2, Insightful)

OpinionatedDude (1323007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951979)

Scan everyone involved with the design, construction, sales, and use of the scanner...

Psychopaths Have Brain Structure Abnormality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951997)

Wow...really?

Doesn't Captain Obvious mean anything anymore?

Psychology (1, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952009)

If the results can be replicated, maybe, just maybe, "psychopath" can actually be defined with some degree with concreteness, with physiological distinction. It'd be a big step for the pseudo science toward becoming less of quackery.

But I doubt it.

Make people ... better (1)

rbowles (245829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952017)

On one hand, science and knowledge are inherently good, in and of themselves. For some odd reason, it still plants a seed of worry in my gut...

I think Mal put it best:
"Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that."

ICP fans have brain damage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952061)

Science confirms it!

Uggh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952113)

Way to go Cesare Lombroso!

Now we can start with the physiognomy of homosexuals to get that 'early detection' in...

Ugh.

in otherwise, psychopaths a b*tree structure :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952141)

..or how else they can produce source code abnormalitys like the ReiserFS ;)
Makes sense for me..

Well it worked out so well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952151)

...for Cesare Lombroso.

Next up, the physiology and physiognomy of /.ers.

Abby Something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28952159)

Abby... Normal.

For the LOL impared (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28952257)

crazy people haz crazy brain
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