I just wanted to say your blog is really great, interesting, and I was wondering what you could tell me about psychopaths/sociopaths and maybe the neuroscience behind it rather than simply the psychology people are used to hearing about it. I’m hoping to be either a criminology major or do something in psychology or neuroscience, I think it would be interesting on how they connect.
Hey, thanks! I seem to be getting a lot of questions relating to the criminal mind nowadays…
Here’s an abstract of an article by one of the leading people in that field:
Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford, CT 06106, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychopathy is a complex personality disorder that includes interpersonal and affective traits such as glibness, lack of empathy, guilt or remorse, shallow affect, and irresponsibility, and behavioral characteristics such as impulsivity, poor behavioral control, and promiscuity. Much is known about the assessment of psychopathy; however, relatively little is understood about the relevant brain disturbances. The present review integrates data from studies of behavioral and cognitive changes associated with focal brain lesions or insults and results from psychophysiology, cognitive psychology and cognitive and affective neuroscience in health and psychopathy. The review illustrates that the brain regions implicated in psychopathy include the orbital frontal cortex, insula, anterior and posterior cingulate, amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus, and anterior superior temporal gyrus. The relevant functional neuroanatomy of psychopathy thus includes limbic and paralimbic structures that may be collectively termed ‘the paralimbic system’. The paralimbic system dysfunction model of psychopathy is discussed as it relates to the extant literature on psychopathy.
If you click on the title of the article, it will take you to the PubMed page where you can download and read the full article for free!