Psychopaths are not as fearless as thought

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Some psychopaths may not be as fearless as previously thought, according to a new study.
    The study assessed 50 white male prisoners aged 18 to 45. To determine psychopathy, researchers interviewed individual participants and placed them into groups, which included nine primary psychopaths, 10 secondary psychopaths and 31 controls.
    Each participant was connected to machines to measure brain functioning and skin conductance. Using Pavlovian fear conditioning, participants viewed a continuous array of images, one of which was always associated with a 500 millisecond shock. Researchers examined participants’ brain and body responses to the images.
    Results showed that the brain and body response was different based on whether the participant was a primary or secondary psychopath. Interestingly, primary psychopaths exhibited the same fear responses as the control group–increased activity in the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as well as increased skin response. Secondary psychopaths exhibited the opposite reaction–inhibited amygdala and ACC activity–which is more typical of how psychopaths have been generally viewed.

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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Personally, I could care less about fear; I'm more concerned with empathy in psychopaths.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    What's the difference between a primary psychopath and a secondary one? (Too lazy to read the article and want somebody else to do the work for me.)
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  7. Bells Staff Member

    Primary psychopaths are seen as being genetically driven, while secondary psychopaths can be more environment driven (such as from the result of abuse or repeated trauma as a child could see said child grow up with a lack of empathy or desire to cause harm to others).

    The difference between the two leans more towards the primary psychopath being what one views as the traditional psychopath with narcissistic tendencies in that they don't care, they do not respond to punishment, they feel absolutely no guilt or remorse. And they were born that way. They will often exhibit behaviour and lack of empathy from a very early age. The type of kid who tortures small animals or other kids without any remorse. They simply lack the ability to care about others.

    Secondary psychopaths would probably be better described as being people who have concerns and are easily influenced by stress, but they seem to be attracted to stressful situations that can endanger them or others. Think of the type of people who keep doing dangerous things over and over again, upping their stress because they thrive off it. They are attracted to it. Sort of like the kind of person who can never get enough and just keep pushing and pushing and doing things that are more risk prone, either to themselves or towards others. They might be attracted to the thought of harming someone and they'll start small but feel the pull of doing more and more until they eventually kill someone. They get off on it and they also feel no compassion or empathy. Whatever happened to them in their lifetime, simply resulted in their becoming like they are.

    And then of course you have a further breakdown in the primary and secondary psychopaths because even within these two sub-groups, you then have two different sub-types that exist in both groups.. The manipulative and charming sociopaths who lack empathy and remorse, and who are exceptional liars and very selfish. And the violent, angry psychopath who can be prone to violent fits and outbursts, although I suppose one can be both. Charming and charismatic one second and violent and angry in another.

    It is an interesting study though. Because one would assume that the primary psychopath would be ones to show less response to fear or feel fearful. But I suppose it makes sense that because they are so self absorbed and narcissistic and selfish, they would probably respond with fear for themselves. While secondary psychopaths would have learned to control their fear response because their psychopathy is driven by what they have been exposed to in their lifetime.
    Edont Knoff and Plazma Inferno! like this.

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