Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
now socipaths are really trained to develop the required characteristics ...


The terms sociopath or psychopath often bring to mind images of sadistically violent individuals such as Ted Bundy or the fictional character of Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter in the book and movie The Silence of the Lambs.  But I believe the defining characteristic traits of sociopaths actually cover a much broader spectrum of individuals than most of us would ever imagine.  The sociopath is that truly self-absorbed individual with no conscience or feeling for others and for whom social rules have no meaning.

Neurological causes - or are they effects? - of socio-pathology have been studied and there are strong correlations¹ between sub-standard manufacture/use of dopamine in the mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways.  

IF findings from longitudinal twin studies researching schizophrenia can be applied to socio-pathology² the genetic basis for the dysfunction is:

Evidence suggests that genetic vulnerability and environmental factors can act in combination to result in diagnosis of schizophrenia. Research suggests that genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia is multifactorial, caused by interactions of several genes.

Replacing "schizophrenia" with "socio-pathology."

Biology, even molecular biology, is not destiny.  But it is strongly indicative.  Coupled with external, social, reinforcement - from whatever source: parents, peers, ad hoc - completes the internal/external reinforcement cycles for Long Term Potentiation of the neural pathways resulting in full 'flowering' of a sociopath.

OK, my point here is, for FSM's sake, ANY discussion of sociopathy must include acknowledgement of the neurological side of the dysfunction apparent in the Brain/Mind Unity.

[Note:  I may be over-reacting here due to my own neurological Long Term Potentiation from massive external stimuli of Behavioral Psychology during my impressionable years.  :-) ]

¹  Correlation is not causation

²  My position is they can be with care and only as a starting point for further research

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 01:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, schizophrenia has nothing to do with sociopathy.
Schizophrenia has a clear epigenetic origin plus some biological element (not necessarily genes). It is present in almost every culture and it always appears at the time of maximum stress in any given culture. It is a clear Main/Brain /Culture product.

On the other hand sociopathy has nothing to do with loose genes or anything similar.. here culture drives the brain.. that simple. The number of cultures with no sociopathy can be counted on the hundreds... The biological  predispositions may exist .. but are practically irrelevant. There are hundreds upon hundreds of studies on anthropology and pshychology about that. The main driving force of sociopathy are myths and social structure (as Delong said there were no sociopaths among any tribe/group before the development of hierarchical agriculture).

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:21:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree the two pathologies are different, with different etiologies.  I disagree there is no neurological component/basis for sociopathic behavior.  There are clinical histories of patients with dysfunctional sociopathy who exhibited symptoms as children , before socialization and enculturation processes are complete.  

I went through this exact discussion about schizophrenia during the heyday of Behaviorism and Freud.  They pointed to "hundreds of studies from anthropology and psychology" proving (sic) Bateson's (et.al.) Double Bind Theory.  Doubt many people take it seriously in 2010.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 08:58:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll make a distinction between clinical sociopathy, which is based on faulty neurology, and quasi-sociopathy. The latter appears when social feedback loops reward sociopathic behaviour, and also disguise the consequences of sociopathic decisions.

Profit and loss accounting is a good example of how consequences are hidden. The numbers can hide a multitude of horrors, but as they're 'only numbers' the individuals who deal with them never have to encounter those horrors personally, or the effects they have on the people who fall victim to them.

But the way to highlight this is to find new ways to tell those stories. Activist language tends to convince activists, but rebounds off those who aren't so politically minded.

This is an excellent message, but packaged amateurishly, making it easy to ignore.

A more professional effort would be an interesting thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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