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(Live Science)   Why psychopaths lack empathy. "When (they) imagined the accident happening to others, their brains failed to light up in the regions associated with empathy. In fact, an area involved in pleasure...lit up instead"   (livescience.com) divider line 36
    More: Interesting, mental illness, regions associated, empathy, accident happening, brains, prefrontal cortex, diagnostic tool, accidents  
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1342 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Sep 2013 at 8:33 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



36 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-09-25 08:37:04 AM  
I thought Schadenfreude was universal?
 
2013-09-25 08:56:11 AM  
As a psychopath i'm getting a kick...etc...etc...
 
2013-09-25 08:58:25 AM  
Schaden ist das bestest freude.
 
2013-09-25 09:07:17 AM  
 
2013-09-25 09:12:02 AM  
Umm... correlation is not causation.

Their lack of empathy coincides with some sort of neural event (or non-event).  This does not prove in any way that this particular neural event is the cause of the lack of empathy.
 
2013-09-25 09:23:53 AM  

Kuroshin: I thought Schadenfreude was universal?


Meanwhile, over on the Sports tab, Yankee Elimination Day!
 
2013-09-25 09:24:23 AM  
Yeah.  I didn't RTFA, but if the headline is accurate (I know - what are the odds?), they have merely identified THAT psycopaths lack empathy on a neurological level, not WHY they lack empathy.
 
2013-09-25 09:24:36 AM  
I see they read MIley/bieber threads on fark
 
2013-09-25 09:25:57 AM  
Did they do the tests on my ex wife? Because they really should...

/biatch be cray cray
 
2013-09-25 09:34:07 AM  
F*cking Todd.
 
2013-09-25 09:35:18 AM  
Further confirming my hypothesis that most self-diagnosed "Aspies" are actually sociopaths.
 
2013-09-25 09:46:45 AM  
Its a mental illness. Those poor souls should be in a hospital where they can receive the care they need, not running multinational corporations.
 
2013-09-25 09:54:08 AM  
I think it is more that they don't see other people as "human" but more of like a very smart animal but an animal none the less.  I'd argue that sociopaths are actually the sane ones and everyone else is insane.  The sociopath is led by logic and deductive reasoning without emotion disrupting them or leading them astray.
 
2013-09-25 10:19:54 AM  
Why psychopaths Farkers lack empathy. "When (they) imagined the accident happening to others, their brains failed to light up in the regions associated with empathy. In fact, an area involved in pleasure...lit up instead"

FTFY submitard.
 
2013-09-25 10:21:44 AM  
That article paints my ex-wife to a T.
 
2013-09-25 11:20:03 AM  

lordaction: I think it is more that they don't see other people as "human" but more of like a very smart animal but an animal none the less.  I'd argue that sociopaths are actually the sane ones and everyone else is insane.  The sociopath is led by logic and deductive reasoning without emotion disrupting them or leading them astray.


Nice try Doctor Vogel but you're dead.
 
2013-09-25 11:30:11 AM  
But when the highly psychopathic inmates imagined the accident happening to others, their brains failed to light up in the regions associated with empathy. In fact, an area involved in pleasure, the ventral striatum, lit up instead. Furthermore, these individuals showed abnormal connectivity between the insula and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area important for empathetic decision-making.

What's particularly interesting about this to me is that some of those areas are characterized as having more dense populations of Mirror Neurons (the ventromedial PFC) and Spindle Neurons (insula), both of which are strongly suggested to be involved in processing social information. And, at least regarding Mirror Neurons, these are known to be abnormal in persons with other psychiatric disorders that have as a symptom poor socio-cognitive abilities, like autism. If further research reveals abnormal populations of either or both of those types of neurons in the brains of psychopathic individuals, that would contribute to understanding why some people end up psychopathic. If true, they'd still need to figure out why those regions of the brains have an abnormally developed amount of those cells - for example, whether it's a genetic thing or if early life experiences, including possibly head trauma, played a major role - but it'd still be important to know.
 
2013-09-25 12:13:37 PM  
I think the most important thing in this article is the very last paragraph:

"In fact, past research has shown psychopaths can feel empathy, when explicitly asked to, suggesting this ability to understand another person's feelings may be repressed rather than missing entirely in psychopathic individuals. "

So it isn't that they can't feel empathy, it's that this is repressed...in people who are in prison. Did they control for how long these people had bene in prison for? Repressing empathy may be a survival response as much as anything else.

More importantly, they can feel empathy when someone asks them to care, so all that's happened is that in these people the instinctive empathic response was turned off, by whatever means. Perhaps then repeated excerises in doing just that - deliberately feeling empathy - could return them to a more average state of mind?
 
2013-09-25 12:22:08 PM  
FTA: "past research has shown psychopaths can feel empathy, when explicitly asked to, suggesting this ability to understand another person's feelings may be repressed rather than missing entirely in psychopathic individuals."

Meh. Part of sociopathy often is acquiring behavioral skills needed to appear as though one is empathetic, in order not to stand out as the sociopaths they are. They don't become more empathetic, they only learn to recognize situations wherein normal people feel empathy. Asking sociopaths to feel empathy is little more than calling on them to put on the act.
 
2013-09-25 12:25:56 PM  
Wardrobe malfunctions are considered accidents, right?  I hope?  You know the "Its too late, I've already seen everything!" kind?
 
2013-09-25 12:38:47 PM  
More fMRI pseudoscience about brains "lighting up"? If they ever showed people what the SNR of an fMRI image looked like they would never believe these studies again.
 
2013-09-25 01:10:23 PM  
That would explain Trevor
 
2013-09-25 01:29:17 PM  

KerwoodDerby: FTA: "past research has shown psychopaths can feel empathy, when explicitly asked to, suggesting this ability to understand another person's feelings may be repressed rather than missing entirely in psychopathic individuals."

Meh. Part of sociopathy often is acquiring behavioral skills needed to appear as though one is empathetic, in order not to stand out as the sociopaths they are. They don't become more empathetic, they only learn to recognize situations wherein normal people feel empathy. Asking sociopaths to feel empathy is little more than calling on them to put on the act.


That was one of the caveats of that particular study. The authors said one of the biggest constraints on how they can interpret their data is they can only go so far as to say the psychopaths' brains show activity, when explicitly prompted to think a certain way, similar to non-psychopaths' brains do spontaneously, but can say nothing definitive or even anything stronger than mildly suggestive about their phenomenological experience of actually empathizing with another's pain. Of course, press write-ups of these types of studies tend to leave out careful caveats like that because they don't make the story sound all that grand to the general lay-public.
 
2013-09-25 01:42:27 PM  

KerwoodDerby: FTA: "past research has shown psychopaths can feel empathy, when explicitly asked to, suggesting this ability to understand another person's feelings may be repressed rather than missing entirely in psychopathic individuals."

Meh. Part of sociopathy often is acquiring behavioral skills needed to appear as though one is empathetic, in order not to stand out as the sociopaths they are. They don't become more empathetic, they only learn to recognize situations wherein normal people feel empathy. Asking sociopaths to feel empathy is little more than calling on them to put on the act.


Exactly

I really am I a nice person, I promise. Can you help me load this into my van now?
 
2013-09-25 01:47:36 PM  
I read an interesting article years ago that stated that psychopathy was a learned trait. That basically, from an early age, psychopaths related their success (a reward of some sort) with the pain of others. therefore their brains became desensitized to the pain of others and could even invert to the point of seeking out the pain of others to bring pleasure to themselves.

For example: baby is crying, father gets angry, hits mother, mother takes care of baby: baby observing pain was a direct correlation to baby receiving a reward (getting picked up by mother). If baby is then also harmed, masochism can enter in - baby expects pain in order to gain reward. The more often the system is repeated, the more likely it becomes hardwired in and almost impossible to rewire.

At least that's what I remember from it. A very interesting article indeed.
 
2013-09-25 02:21:10 PM  
We should combine prisons with sheep ranching to teach inmates empathy.  Inmate privileges would be based on how they cared for their animals and inmates that abuse their animals could be held indefinitely.

It worked for Australia.
 
2013-09-25 05:01:12 PM  
Can we stop calling the psychopaths sociopaths? They are different animals...
 
2013-09-25 05:05:02 PM  
2.bp.blogspot.com

i217.photobucket.com
 
2013-09-25 05:53:30 PM  

lordaction: I think it is more that they don't see other people as "human" but more of like a very smart animal but an animal none the less.  I'd argue that sociopaths are actually the sane ones and everyone else is insane.  The sociopath is led by logic and deductive reasoning without emotion disrupting them or leading them astray.


As a psychopath I can tell you that at least for me, I do view other people as human.  We aren't vulcans who operate in states of emotionless logic.  I can feel for other people, and I can experience empathy, but it's very... disassociated?  Often it's a day or a week later when I'll think back on something, and then feel empathy for the people, but it's not often at the same time.  But I know what people want to hear, and the motions, so I'll behave in the correct manner.   I take the time though to consider my actions with regard to people to think it through.   Giving myself time to pre-process things is a habit I'm trying to work into my interactions so that I can trigger that 'retrospective empathy' that normally happens, but closer to real-time.
 
2013-09-25 05:57:37 PM  

Zazzy: I think the most important thing in this article is the very last paragraph:

"In fact, past research has shown psychopaths can feel empathy, when explicitly asked to, suggesting this ability to understand another person's feelings may be repressed rather than missing entirely in psychopathic individuals. "

So it isn't that they can't feel empathy, it's that this is repressed...in people who are in prison. Did they control for how long these people had bene in prison for? Repressing empathy may be a survival response as much as anything else.

More importantly, they can feel empathy when someone asks them to care, so all that's happened is that in these people the instinctive empathic response was turned off, by whatever means. Perhaps then repeated excerises in doing just that - deliberately feeling empathy - could return them to a more average state of mind?


That's how I've been dealing with it.
 
2013-09-25 06:43:15 PM  

KerwoodDerby: FTA: "past research has shown psychopaths can feel empathy, when explicitly asked to, suggesting this ability to understand another person's feelings may be repressed rather than missing entirely in psychopathic individuals."

Meh. Part of sociopathy often is acquiring behavioral skills needed to appear as though one is empathetic, in order not to stand out as the sociopaths they are. They don't become more empathetic, they only learn to recognize situations wherein normal people feel empathy. Asking sociopaths to feel empathy is little more than calling on them to put on the act.


Or perhaps in order to climb the social/corporate/political ladder it is often necessary to suppress empathy to a sociopathic level. That would make it largely a cultural construct, and it is society in general which is at fault. Do many small remote tribes or villages in other cultures appear on average to have more empathic and responsive leadership?
 
2013-09-25 07:08:11 PM  
This just in: broken people are broken. In the head.

Someone should fix that.

/stop
//hammertime
 
2013-09-25 08:08:16 PM  
With a nice and scientific illustration of what a psychopath might look like.
i.livescience.com

Geez, what's with all the psychopath hate?
 
2013-09-26 07:39:25 AM  
Pleasure centers light up when bad things happen to other people?

Guilty. I only watch auto races and figure skating for the crashes.
 
2013-09-26 08:47:53 AM  
NAME met a practising psychiatrist once, and asked how she would define the term "sociopath". She replied that there was no such thing, and there absolutely never had been. She began to get agitated, and ticked me off in a rasied voice  for even daring to ask! "NEVER MENTION THAT WORD AGAIN ARRRRRGHGHGHGHH!! YOIU BASTARD!! GNNNARRARAGGHGHGH!!!!" before smashing some crockery and storming off.

I learned a couple of things that day.
 
2013-09-26 12:58:26 PM  
I read the headline as Why psychologists etc.....

Still makes sense.
 
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