Although there is considerable
debate about whether psychopath is an authentic psychiatric disorder, psychopath is
typically classified under personality disorder. Psychopaths tend to be lacking in what is
considered conscience, are unable to form emotional attachments, neither to friends nor
family, are quite impulsive, and are only self-interested.
There is also considerable debate
about whether psychopaths can be changed. Leading conceptions of psychopathy originated
from a clinical perspective, which assumed abnormality and sought to explain it. This
perspective has led to three related potential explanations of psychopathy: the
psychopath as nonconformist, the psychopath as characterized by a deficiency in the
behavioral inhibition system, the psychopath as a product of poor early socialization.
Although the theory of
degeneration became obsolete by the end of World War II, its basic tenets have survived
into mainstream scientific work regarding what is known as the psychopath. The
Modern Degenerate - Nineteenth-century Degeneration Theory and Modern Psychopathy Research,
Jarkko Jalava, Simon Fraser Univ.
A Cognitive Developmental
Approach to Morality: Investigating the Psychopath. - Blair, R. J. R. Examined
the efficacy of a causal model suggesting that lack of a violence inhibitor when
confronted with distress cues may explain psychopathic behavior. Compared to control
subjects, the psychopaths made no moral/conventional distinction about transgressions, and
were much less likely to justify their responses with reference to the victim's welfare.
Personality Correlates of Machiavellianism: VI. Machiavellianism and the
Psychopath. - Skinner, Nicholas F.
Previous studies have not demonstrated hypothesized link between Machiavellianism and
psychopathy. High Machs obtained significantly higher Psychopathy scores than did Low
Machs, and Mach V totals for Primary Psychopaths were significantly greater than those of
Secondary Psychopaths. Both experiments suggest relationship between Machiavellianism and
Psychopathy and Responsibility, Walter Glannon.
Philosophers have argued that the psychopath serves as the ultimate test of the limits of
moral responsibility. They hold that the psychopath lacks a deep knowledge of right and
wrong. On this view, the psychopath's lack of moral understanding is due to a cognitive
failure involving practical reason. It is mistaken to claim that the psychopath's moral
deficiency is due solely to a cognitive failure, or that his lack of the deep knowledge of
right and wrong can be explained in terms of a defect of practical reason. Empirical evidence shows that the Kantian model of
practical reason does not provide a satisfactory account of responsibility of the
psychopath. That the psychopath is at least partly responsible for his behavior.
Benn, Piers "Freedom, Resentment, and the Psychopath"
Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology - Volume 6, Number 1, March 1999, The Johns
Hopkins University Press.
Discusses the moral responsibility of psychopaths for their anti-social actions. The paper
contrasts a variety of "normal" wrongdoers with psychopaths. If psychopaths are
incapable of moral understanding, they may not be proper targets of anger and resentment.
This may have an illiberal implication, in excluding psychopaths from possessing certain
Lynam, D.R. (1997). Pursuing the psychopath: Capturing the fledgling psychopath in
a nomological net. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 425-438.
Abstract: The present article reports on an attempt to import the concept of psychopathy
at the childhood level. A systematic construct validation approach revealed that childhood
psychopathy fits into the nomological network surrounding adult psychopathy. Childhood
psychopathy also provided incremental validity in predicting
serious stable antisocial behavior in adolescence. These results suggest that psychopathy
has a childhood manifestation that can be measured reliably
THE PSYCHOPATH - The Mask of Sanity
Special Research Project of the Quantum Future Group.
The ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically
different from theirs. Everyone assumes that conscience is universal among human beings,
hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is effortless.
Identity diffusion presenting as multiple personality disorder in a female
W Bruce-Jones and J Coid, Interim Secure Unit, Hackney Hospital, London.
A female psychopath presented multiple forms of psychopathology, including features of
multiple personality disorder. A diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, or the
psychodynamic features of borderline personality organisation, should be the exclusion
criteria for this condition.
The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain - James Blair, Derek Mitchell and
Karina Blair - Blackwell Publishing, UK.
The Inner Landscape of the Psychopath - by Hervey Cleckley, "Mask of
Sanity", 5th edition.
Narcissism is considered a less severe form of psychopathy. The surface of the psychopath,
shows up as equal to or better than normal and gives no hint at all of a disorder within.
Behind the exquisitely deceptive mask of the psychopath the emotional alteration we feel
appears to be primarily one of degree.