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About four years ago, Fallon made a startling discovery. It happened during a conversation with his then 88-year-old mother, Jenny, at a family barbecue.
"I said, 'Jim, why don't you find out about your father's relatives?' " Jenny Fallon recalls. "I think there were some cuckoos back there."
"There's a whole lineage of very violent people — killers," he says.
One of his direct great-grandfathers, Thomas Cornell, was hanged in 1667 for murdering his mother. That line of Cornells produced seven other alleged murderers, including Lizzy Borden. "Cousin Lizzy," as Fallon wryly calls her, was accused (and controversially acquitted) of killing her father and stepmother with an ax in Fall River, Mass., in 1882.
"Here is a brain that's not normal," he says. There are patches of yellow and red. Then he points to another section of the brain, in the front part of the brain, just behind the eyes.
"Look at that — there's almost nothing here," Fallon says.
This is the orbital cortex, the area that Fallon and other scientists believe is involved with ethical behavior, moral decision-making and impulse control.
"People with low activity [in the orbital cortex] are either free-wheeling types or sociopaths," he says.
Fallon says nobody in his family has real problems with those behaviors. But he wanted to be sure. Conveniently, he had everything he needed: Previously, he had persuaded 10 of his close relatives to submit to a PET brain scan and give a blood sample as part of a project to see whether his family had a risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.
"And I took a look at my own PET scan and saw something disturbing that I did not talk about," he says.
What he didn't want to reveal was that his orbital cortex looks inactive.
"If you look at the PET scan, I look just like one of those killers."
Fallon cautions that this is a young field. Scientists are just beginning to study this area of the brain — much less the brains of criminals. Still, he says the evidence is accumulating that some people's brains predispose them toward violence and that psychopathic tendencies may be passed down from one generation to another.
Any interpretation of that measured physical data is an abstract construct which in psychology is referred to as the mind, and is inherently and purely subjective in its nature.
"But do you not think that sociopaths are inferior? Do you not think that sociopaths should be systematically removed from society?"
As it exists, psychosis is purely theoretical, as is the entirety of behavioral psychology. Its definition relies on observer/interpreter methods that are inherently subjective.
There have been many astounding correlations observed in the physical brain as it relates to matter.
Any attempt to extract that data and formulate it into behavioral theory is an exercise in behavioral psychology, not neuroscience
Your use of NLP, neurolinguistic programming, is to frame that question in such a way as to automatically imply that a sociopath even exists at all. Some better questions would be:
So at this point I have to wonder. Are you really that naive to believe that what we think we know as a sociopath can be physically rooted out and systematically removed from society?
In this case say for example there was a Natural Disaster that occurred upon a Global Scale where Billions have died.
Sociopaths in relation to such conditions would have much better chance of surviving that most others.
In relation to the human race they are a kind of anchor in relation to survival of the species.