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Junior Project Essay

1393 words - 6 pages

“One of the things about these kids is that they don't pay attention to the deep emotions or the deep concerns of other people. They can just look at it in the face and go “whatever” and move on.” (Malcolm) Whereas some may argue that psychopaths are developed more from their environment, the characteristic traits and neurological data prove genetics are the main cause of psychopathy.
Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a constellation of interpersonal, affective and behavioral characteristics. (Harc, 1998) There are many personality traits that accompany those who are considered to be a psychopath. High levels of aggression or delinquency, and antisocial behaviors are all seen in youth with personalities correlating to those of psychopaths. Child psychopathy has not been emphasized as much within the scientific community as much as it is for adult psychopathy. Most clinicians believe this disorder can potentially be treatable and youth showing psychopathic traits can benefit most from this. (Dolan). Some benefits could include: Identifying high risk offenders, ramifications for kids, improving and bettering treatments, and planning for youth with these traits to have more intrusive therapeutic help. As of today, very few treatments are offered for young people with psychopathic traits.
Now focusing on the more neurological side of psychopathy. The part of the brain called the amygdala which controls normal behavior functions and psychiatric conditions. (LeDoux) When these functions are compromised show the same weakened state that of psychopaths. Studies show that reduced volume of the amygdala have also been found in high levels of psychopathy. (James). Numerous studies have proven elevated levels of conduct disorder have been found within adult psychopaths. Conduct disorder is usually diagnosed within youth, and researchers have argued that it is a serious indicator of likeliness of criminal behavior throughout the lifespan. (Beauchaine, 286). Youth with histories of repeated violence also tend to have low levels of arousal and plasma control suggest neurobiological factors the blame. Subsequent studies in youth with conduct disorder show that the parents socialization with their children has less of an affect upon the development of conduct problems, suggesting more genetic significance in youth who are notably callous. (Dolan). Mental retardation, lower intelligence and inability to learn basic communication and language skills have been reported in youth considered psychopathic. Also reported is the severe psychopathy occurring from the youths parents. These parents have issues such as “extreme maladjustment, chronic alcoholism, and many incarcerations for criminal acts. (Bezdjian).
In order to confirm, tests have been made to assess psychopathic traits in youth. These tests have been recreated from the adult versions.
The psychopathy checklist is a scale test used for youth ages thirteen to eighteen, it has ...

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