Psychopaths: How To Tell Which Ones Are Criminals

Posted on August 13, 2016

Brain scans have revealed this is the critical difference between an ordinary psychopath and a criminal psychopath. Despite popular belief, being a psychopath does not automatically make someone a criminal — although it does help.

Many criminals have psychopathic traits, such as impulsive and antisocial behaviour. However, many people with psychopathic traits never commit criminal offences.

The new research used brain scans to investigate what turns an ordinary psychopath into a criminal psychopath.

Dirk Geurts, the study’s first author, explained the research: “We carried out tests on 14 convicted psychopathic individuals, and 20 non-criminal individuals, half of whom had a high score on the psychopathy scale. The participants performed tests while their brain activity was measured in an MRI scanner. We saw that the reward centre in the brains of people with many psychopathic traits (both criminal and non-criminal) were more strongly activated than those in people without psychopathic traits. It has already been proved that the brains of non-criminal individuals with psychopathic traits are triggered by the expectation of reward. This research shows that this is also the case for criminal individuals with psychopathic traits."

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Source material from Psyblog


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