posted on Jul, 6 2017 @ 09:21 PM
There are people out there whose brain's fashion stories liberally plucked from the scientific literature, and used in ways, of course, that fit
their particular social, emotional and psychological needs.
There is such authority and determination in the ego under-certain-conditions - what may be called the "hermeneutical background". The background
sits quietly, silently, determining the directionality and probability of behavior, behind human attention. No one inquires? The background merely
sits there, not wanting to hurt the Human being - just being what it is: the semiotic background that subserves our ego consciousness and its various
Being rich is such a taken-for-granted support in helping people "feel the way they want", no? So its an important condition. It
Anywho, the point of this thread, this time, is neurodevelopmental - with an emphasis on so-called "gene-environment" G x E interactions.
Firstly, let's explore what it means at a genetic and functional level what "sociopathy" means. Sociopathy is a psychological condition which
appears to be an emergent property of a particular body-environment coupling. The coupling - or the interactive history - is genetically implicit in
any person's constitution, inasmuch as we all inherit within ourselves the genetic i.e. interactive histories of our ancestors, all the way back to
the first homo sapiens.
There are people today who believe, like the novelists HG Wells, Edward Bulwer Lytton, etc, that a "new race" will arise among Human beings, and
this new race, it seems, possess a "genetic uniqueness", which might indeed be detectable today via developmental neuroscience. So what does such
Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Systems: Activating and Inhibiting: The Way of Attunement
So there is something very fundamentally important about our nervous systems - and all nervous systems - and this is that they are regulated by two
different chemical systems which work according to activating (dopamine) and inhibitory (serotonin, MOAO) principles.
This is of course common sense: organisms either approach what they want, or withdraw from what is destructive to them, and so hence the reason why
dopamine and serotonin systems are alike in all animals with a complex brain. The former is always excitatory, and the latter always inhibitory.
There are three well-known genetic polymorphisms related to environmental experiences: monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR),
and dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4); MAOA is located on the X chromosome, which encodes the MAOA enzyme which metabolizes neurotransmitters such as
norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, rendering them inactive. Low activity of the MAOA allele is associated with antisocial behavior, as well with
children who have a history of abuse and neglect. Children with high level MAOA activity (a different allele) have substantially less childhood
maltreatment. The 5-HTTLPR is found in region SLC6A4, which codes for the serotonin transporter. The two main variants are differentiated by a short
allele (s/s, s/l) and a large allele (l/l). The short allele is associated with reduced expression of the serotonin transporter molecule, which is
involved in the reuptake of serotonin from the synaptic cleft, and thus related to depression. People with the short-allele variant have been
consistently associated with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are linked to an actual history of emotional abuse, maternal
attachment issues, and adverse childhood environments. The neuroscientist Jay Belsky describes this allele as a “for-better-and-for-worse”
dynamic. Finally, the DRD4 gene differs by the number of 48-base pair tandem repeats in exon III, ranging from 2 to 11. The 7-repeat variant is
associated with ADHD and high-novelty seeking behavior. Similar to the serotonin transporting gene, individuals with this allele are both sensitive to
abuse as well as a high-nurturing environment. In a study that sought to correlate gene to environmental history, as it relates to donations to a
charity (UNICEF), Belsky reports that children with the 7 repeat allele with a history of sensitive parenting donated the most coins to UNICEF,
whereas those with the same allele but a history of parental abuse donated the least coins.
“The observation that the same putative plasticity genes are associated with a more reactive amygdala, negative emotionality in infancy, and also
physiological stress reactivity suggest that the very children who are characterized by these traits could often be one and the same. This lends
empirical support to the hypothesis that heightened susceptibility to environmental influences – demarcated by genetic, physiological, and
behavioral factors – may be characterized and driven by a more sensitive central nervous system.” – Michael Pluess, Suzanne Stevens, & Jay
Belsky, Differential Susceptibility, in The Infant Mind: Origins of the Social Brain; pg. 90, Guliford, 2013
Belsky ultimately concludes that the key determinant, or the most dynamical input with regards to possible change, is the degree and sensitivity of
maternal attunement. Apparently a kind and responsive mother helps program the brain-stem and amygdala to experience the world in a less threatening
way. Belsky marvels at how the most vulnerable children also end up becoming the most resilient, wondering, without answering, how maternal
sensitivity can afford such psychological resilience - defined as the ability not to externalize i.e. project their problems, but process them in
Belsky's description of the developmental process from the fetus onwards describes the genetic, epigenetic and behavioral elements:
“developmental plasticity in early infancy (A) can be considered a function of genes, the prenatal environment, and the interaction between both.
Developmental plasticity in childhood (B), then, is a function of genes, the postnatal environment, and the interaction between prenatally programmed
plasticity (A) and the postnatal environment. This postnatally programmed plasticity (B) interacts further with consequent environmental factors
throughout childhood/adolescence and predicts, together with main effects of genes and environmental factors, the developmental plasticity in
adulthood. According to this developmental model, plasticity can be understood as a primarily genetic potential that unfolds o different degrees
dependent on successive environmental factors.” – Michael Pluess, Suzanne Stevens, & Jay Belsky, Differential Susceptibility, in The Infant Mind:
Origins of the Social Brain; pg. 88-89, Guliford, 2013
Belsky concludes that perhaps the bigger problem population is not those people with the serotonin-coding allele with the 7 repeat, low MAOA
production, or the DRD4 dopamine gene, but those people with the 10 repeat, low MAOA, and low DRD4, who, being cast as "low-reactive", seem
impervious to environmental input, although, of course, this is the illusion cast by the present moment, and then reified.