A Brief about Psychopathy

A big number of psychological problems can be assuaged or even eliminated by treatment (medical, therapeutic, analytic …) within varying lapses of time and with varying constraints. Nonetheless, they ARE curable. But one case eludes treatment, that of Psychopathy. The reason? Purely physiological.

Indeed, the psychopath’s lack of feelings such as guilt, remorse, empathy , anxiety or compassion are apparently due to an innate-glitch in a major cerebral component : the amygdala. In fact, “[p]eople who are anxious, angry, or depressed show increased activity in the amygdala and the right prefrontal cortex”.[1] In other words:  “The amygdala is the primary headquarters for emotional processing.”[2] So this currently incurable malfunction makes the psychopath insensitive to punishment in case of crime or misbehavior, thus making them prone to repetitive infractions.

Psychopaths seem to forget what they feel after committing a heinous act, and are compelled by their fascination to repeat it. Compassion means projecting oneself unto a situation,  or identifying it with oneself, which implies that a lack of it allows us to look at a gruesome scene without as much as a flinch. A psychopath’s eyes would rather glitter with curious fascination. Combine that with a deep sense of manipulative egocentricity and the ability to mimic others’ emotions, and you get a Psychopath.

Hence many pertinent questions arise : Should we treat Psychopaths as Humans? Is there a true Human Being underlying their ego or do they give the term “Pure Evil” a new embodiment?

Before I end this “brief”, I’d like you to think about this  : “I wondered if sometimes  the difference between a psychopath in Broadmoor [hospital for psychopaths] and a psychopath on Wall Street was the luck of being born into a stable, rich family”[3]… So decision making in society might just be “incurably” compromised…

[1] : Encyclopaedia Britannica : http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/185972/emotion/283143/The-neurobiology-of-emotion

[2] : Psychology Dictionary: What is AMYGDALA? definition of AMYGDALA (Psychology Dictionary) http://psychologydictionary.org/amygdala/#ixzz2ZPq99dLo

[3]: RONSON, Jon, The Psychopath Test, Picador editions, p 276


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