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Brain scans show that psychopaths lack neural connections for empathy

Researchers showed prisoners, who were diagnosed as psychopaths, images of people being intentionally hurt and observed their brain reactions on fMRI scans. Parts of their brains associated with emotional learning and moral decision-making showed reduced activity.

Psychopaths are not neurally equipped to have concern for others, on UChicago.edu.

 



9 Comments on "Brain scans show that psychopaths lack neural connections for empathy"

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  1. Imara says:

    This article reminds ALL of us that at the end of the day our pain validates us as kind concerned citizens of a society.The field of neuro imaging is going to prove to be the balm that soothes MY soul!!! My pain originates from my entanglement with my ex but still resonates from my son’s behaviour….my son could have made concious choices to be pro social…he was certainly raised by ME to value righteousness….but his genetic pre disposition as well as faulty same sex parenting was ultimately too stong…
    My son has not done anything that is illegal yet, but has totally and coldly cut off any communication with ALL friends and family…moved to a different state and is being financially supported by his father. He is a bright able bodied man of 25… Yes the cost to society is humongous even when there has been no “crime”.Today is my birthday… I have had messages on facebook, phone and Texts from around the world…NO word from either father or son. My daughter spent a fabulous weekend with me, treated me, was my tech support….Yes the wireing has to be there for the disorder to manifest but to what extent free will can be excercised by these individuals is going to have to be another study!!!!



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    • betsybugs says:

      Imara,

      I am so sorry for your pain.

      Your son sounds like my daughter except she is older and not financially dependent on anyone. “My pain originates from my entanglement with my ex but still resonates from my son’s behaviour…my son could have made concious choices to be pro social…he was certainly raised by ME to value righteousness…but his genetic pre disposition as well as faulty same sex parenting was ultimately too stong…” This is my story too and these thoughts bounce araound in my brain like tennis balls.

      I wonder if the children in this situation really can make a conscious choice. They must be torn in half knowing they cannot please both parents because the parents are like night and day. I wonder if they can even see that or understand it. Are they genetically flawed or just under the influence of the evil? Are they minions?

      My daughter blames me. Is it because it is easier or because of my reactions to the psychopath? Whatever it is I may never know because she has cut me out of her life and will not let me see my grandchildren. I believe she has cut us both out of her life. Did the psychopath plan this as I believe or did it just happen? No answers or acceptance is forthcoming.

      I do have my son and his wife. She is like a daughter to me and I love them both dearly and cherish thir support and the support of my husband. The psychopath targeted our daughter after his third divorce and is now rejecting our son. I believe he has done it on purpose and I do not know that she had or has free choice. She was daddy’s little girl and the divorce devistated her. He made sure he did a full dip trauma bond on them when he left. All I can know for sure is that she would have been worse off if we had not divorced and pry that someday she comes to her senses. She had symptoms as a child but I cannot accept that she has no feelings or empathy…I know that she does and if just lost.

      I noticed you said that you did not hear from “father or son” on your birthday. Why would you expect to or want to hear from your ex? I tried forever to get him completely out of my life. To not hear from your son is devistating. I get that from my daughter now. It is cruel and hurtful and I do not know why she does it but I do know it is deliberate.

      The study of this family dynamic is in its infancy. When I was married to the psychopath, no one would have ever believed me or would have called me crazy. Things have come a long way since then but still have a long long way to go. Psychopathy is going to have to be recognized on a broad scale before there is any hope for society, thier victims or their children.

      We must all stand together against this evil.



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      • Imara says:

        Betsy,
        I agree whole heartedly!!!
        I do think that our kids had the cards stacked against them neurologically. But then they also make unsound choices….
        I don’t think that my son is just lost..I think that only someone truely disordered can cut family bonds in that way!!! We are mothers for crying out loud!!!
        My grandmother used to say that anyone who had an unhealthy relationship with their mums needed to be suspect of having relational difficulties with everyone else…She was right!!
        One of the ongoing fights I used to have with my ex was his inability to connect with even his family…
        It IS cruel and hurtful….and we did not raise them to be that.
        Ironically this year mother’s day is also my son’s birthday. And my ex mother in law’s birthday…He was born on Mother’s day so I always said he was my gift from the universe….I guess that gift took the form of needing to learn to detach from the kids and truely be who we are minus the identity that is formed from being a mom or a partner. Oh but it hurts…..



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  2. Imara – happy birthday! I’m glad that your daughter was with you.

    Yes there are genetic and biological differences in sociopaths. However, they still, as you point out, make choices. When sociopaths do something that is painful to others, they are not “hearing voices.” They are not out of control. They are choosing what to do.



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    • Imara says:

      Donna, today also happens to be my neighbor’s birthday. She is Six today. Her parents are going into a nasty divorce because according to mom “He wants to be sexually free”….
      This child is hurt, angry and acting out.
      When I was reading George Simon it occurred to me that there really IS a crisis of Charecter development in the country today. Our social fabric if you will is getting tattered by the very high cost of individualism. Should this father have societal “costs” for abandoning his family? How do we address this through regular social control measures? When MADD started we had drunk driving and the cost associated with it glaring us in the face!!! and we as a society and a culture are atleast addressing the issue.
      Could a similar tactic work?? You are involved in public education about the disorder… how can we widen the scope? how can we as victims and good citizens help make public education a priority? How do we widen the scope to bring it on every television screen in the country.?? It’s been done before!!!



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  3. Imara – I agree that the message about the disordered personalities among us needs to be much more widespread. As important as it is, I have met with resistance. The problem seems to be that people have trouble believing that evil exists. We all know how difficult it is to get people to believe that we really experienced what we experienced. We’re told “it can’t be that bad” or “you must be exaggerating.” I think the idea that human predators live among us is simply too scary for many.

    But I keep going, and I know that many Lovefraud readers have said that they want to help spread the word. I’m hoping that we’ll soon reach the tipping point where people start talking about this. This “brain scan” article and the “brain structure and violence” article have both come out in the past few days. I hope it means people are more willing to talk about it.



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  4. Imara says:

    I understand the impediments….fact is, when we talk about net $$ lost in time and productivity due to personell issues then you get people to pay attention because bottom lines are effected. My belief is that we are already at a place when society at large is in a “circle the wagons” mode. When senseless violence is perpetrated publicly people rally. We must learn to make the private pain a public health issue. At the DA’s office I see too many professionals (who I am embarassed to say share my professional credentials)who are clueless.I can think of many other major public health issues that have their roots in private pain. In the meantime… Thank You for all that you do!!



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  5. known says:

    If I show the fMRI diagnosis report to them, does it make any difference?



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