What Makes a Psychopath?
Depictions of psychopaths today have become exaggerated based off of what you see in movies and films. The psychopaths in movies are believed to be dangerous or have an anti-social personality disorder. Not all psychopaths can be defined in that manner. Psychopaths are identified as people who are emotionally unstable. They are ultimately suffering from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior. There have been studies ultimately wondering if a psychopath is born, or is it raised? Genetics and environment combine to produce conditions that create psychopathology. By paying attention to environmental variables we can potentially reduce the amount of people who become dangerous psychopaths.
According to research, psychopathic behavior can take many forms not all of which are violent. Ultimately psychiatrists say that there are pieces of a brain’s emotional machinery missing. As a result making psychopaths lack empathy, guilt or the ability to simply sow remorse (180rule.com). In an interview with James Fallon, a neuroscientist and neuroanatomist, states that there isn’t an acceptable definition of the word, psychopaths and that some psychologists do not even recognize it as a syndrome (Flatow). The closest way to identify a psychopath is through the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised, commonly known as the PCL-R (Hare). This test is used to determine if an individual has a mid- psychopathic disturbance, moderate psychopathic disturbance or if they are psychopathic (Brinkley). The test is scored on a 3 point scale (0, 1, and 2) with the highest score being a 40 which denotes a prototypical psychopath (Hare). When an individual scores a 30 or above it will qualify the individual for a diagnosis of psychopath (180rule.com). There are twenty traits that are tested on the PCL-R, including: pathological lying, callousness, poor behavioral controls, grandiose sense of self worth and also criminal versatility (180rule.com). Fallon quotes, “they're very manipulative, and they don't show this sort of manipulation, because they're quite clever about it. So they know how to model or mirror behaviors very well. They can look like they're normal. That's what's so insidious about it.” Dr. Hervey Cleckley would also agree that psychopaths can convey a normal human being. However, Cleckley considers this to be a “mask,” he says that, “a psychopath can wear a number of masks, [ultimately] portraying different personalities as the situation requires.”
Scientists are continually studying the regions of the brain to see where psychopathic behavior comes from. They have been studying one region in particular, the...