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Should screening for genetic sociopathy be mandatory for politicians and police?

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posted on Dec, 10 2011 @ 11:30 AM
reply to post by soficrow

Whether it is genetics or epigenetics, the result is still the same: a sociopath whose brain is wired differently, and it will still be detectable through screening.

Therefore, there is zero reason not to test, and a huge number of reasons to do the tests.

No matter what the causes, a sociopath is detectable through how their brain functions, their behavior patterns, and their responses to the Hare test.

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.

Originally designed to assess people accused or convicted of crimes, the PCL-R consists of a 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject's degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath. It is accepted by many in the field as the best method for determining the presence and extent of psychopathy in a person.


The Hare PCL-R contains two parts, a semi-structured interview and a review of the subject's file records and history. During the evaluation, the clinician scores 20 items that measure central elements of the psychopathic character. The items cover the nature of the subject's interpersonal relationships; his or her affective or emotional involvement; responses to other people and to situations; evidence of social deviance; and lifestyle. The material thus covers two key aspects that help define the psychopath: selfish and unfeeling victimization of other people, and an unstable and antisocial lifestyle.

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:
glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

The interview portion of the evaluation covers the subject's background, including such items as work and educational history; marital and family status; and criminal background. Because psychopaths lie frequently and easily, the information they provide must be confirmed by a review of the documents in the subject's case history.

Testing along the three lines I've mentioned is far more rigorous than testing someone for drug use, and far more certain.

If we can deny employment to millions of citizens based upon often-erroneous drug testing, then surely we can test for conclusive evidence of sociopathy.

Your epigenetics vs genetics argument is merely an effort at distraction from the main subject, since it makes not a wit of difference after the fact of birth and development: whatever the cause, the sociopath is still a sociopath, still dangerous, and still detectable.

Testing would do far less harm than not testing.

Btw, your accusations of testing somehow being pro-eugenics is false, too. Testing for them doesn't mean killing them, just preventing them from killing us.

Look at that list and compare it to the behaviors of our corporate leaders, politicians, and police and tell me again that testing is a horrible idea.

The most dangerous part of not testing is the fact that sociopathy is contagious: if enough sociopaths accumulate in positions of power and authority, then those around them must turn sociopathic to survive politically, economically and physically.

The good news is that if enough of the sociopaths are removed from positions of power and authority, the non-genetic sociopaths can recover their humanity.
edit on 10-12-2011 by apacheman because: (no reason given)

edit on 10-12-2011 by apacheman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 10 2011 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by apacheman

Whether it is genetics or epigenetics, the result is still the same: a sociopath whose brain is wired differently, and it will still be detectable through screening.

Therefore, there is zero reason not to test, and a huge number of reasons to do the tests.

No matter what the causes, a sociopath is detectable through how their brain functions, their behavior patterns, and their responses to the Hare test.

Maybe - but unlike changes to the DNA, epigenetic changes can be reversed (just like they are created). And what if the epigenetic changes that produce sociopaths result from vaccines? It's not unthinkable, might be likely. What then?

.......On the surface, your solution is good - but I see it being used to justify all kinds of witch hunts. Which is NOT good.

posted on Dec, 18 2011 @ 11:10 AM
reply to post by soficrow

Which is better or more dangerous?

To seek to understand and and prevent horrendous behavior that effects the entire society, or the possibility that a few might be unjustly accused?

Given that the wiring is pretty much irreversible, and that the fMRIs are conclusive, I'd rather run the risk of a few mistakes on the individual level rather than the societal one.

Who says that the effects of epigenetics is reversible on the individual level? I've seen no proof of that whatsoever. I do know that the is zero chance of curing a psychopath/sociopath. Every single study has shown that any attempt to cure them only gives them better tools with which to fool and control others.

The "contact" sociopath, i.e., those who fall into sociopathic behavior because of their social environment, like Nazis and Wall Streeters, who are not genetic sociopaths and can actually feel emotions like guilt and remorse, can sometimes be brought back into humanity, but the genetic sociopath never can because they lack the physical structures enabling them.

At least I'm not alone: hopaths-1-OWS-vs-the-Pathology-of-the-1-
edit on 18-12-2011 by apacheman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 18 2011 @ 12:20 PM
And some more good video:[editb y]edit on 18-12-2011 by apacheman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 18 2011 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by apacheman

Given that the wiring is pretty much irreversible,

That's my main point - the wiring is NOT irreversible.

Just like stroke victims can re-learn and re-wire their brains, so can others with other pathologies. In fact, unless we live completely repetitively, with unchanging lives in unchanging environments - we're all rewiring our brains all the time, although usually in smaller ways.

Brain Plasticity--An Overview

What is brain plasticity? Does it mean that our brains are made of plastic? Of course not. Plasticity, or neuroplasticity, is the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. As we learn, we acquire new knowledge and skills through instruction or experience. In order to learn or memorize a fact or skill, there must be persistent functional changes in the brain that represent the new knowledge. The ability of the brain to change with learning is what is known as neuroplasticity.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

***Contrary to common ideas as expressed in this diagram, brain functions are not confined to certain fixed locations.

Neuroplasticity is a non-specific neuroscience term referring to the ability of the brain and nervous system in all species to change structurally and functionally as a result of input from the environment.[1] Plasticity occurs on a variety of levels, ranging from cellular changes involved in learning, to large-scale changes involved in cortical remapping in response to injury. The most widely recognized forms of plasticity are learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage. During most of the 20th century, the general consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure is relatively immutable after a critical period during early childhood. This belief has been challenged by new findings, revealing that many aspects of the brain remain plastic even into adulthood.

The Brain Plasticity And Cognition

"Brain plasticity refers to the capacity of the nervous system to change its structure and, its function over a lifetime, in reaction to environmental diversity. Although this term is now commonly used in psychology and neuroscience, it is not easily defined and is used to refer to changes at many levels in the nervous system ranging from molecular events, such as changes in gene expression, to behavior."[1] Three main forms of plasticity are described below: synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis and functional compensatory processing.

posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 03:01 PM

Psychopaths Caused the Financial Crisis

Bloomberg notes:

The "corporate psychopaths" at the helm of our financial institutions are to blame [for the financial crisis].

Clive R. Boddy, most recently a professor at the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University, says psychopaths are the 1 percent of "people who, perhaps due to physical factors to do with abnormal brain connectivity and chemistry" lack a "conscience, have few emotions and display an inability to have any feelings, sympathy or empathy for other people."

As a result, Boddy argues in a recent issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, such people are "extraordinarily cold, much more calculating and ruthless towards others than most people are and therefore a menace to the companies they work for and to society."

Same source:

Until the last third of the 20th century, he writes, companies were mostly stable and slow to change. Lifetime employment was a reasonable expectation and people rose through the ranks.

This stable environment meant corporate psychopaths "would be noticeable and identifiable as undesirable managers because of their selfish egotistical personalities and other ethical defects."

For Wall Street - a rapidly changing and highly dynamic corporate environment if there ever was one, especially when the firms transformed themselves from private partnerships into public companies with quarterly reporting requirements - the trouble started when these charmers made their way to corner offices of important financial institutions.

Then, according to Boddy's "Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis," these men were "able to influence the moral climate of the whole organization" to wield "considerable power."

They "largely caused the crisis" because their "single- minded pursuit of their own self-enrichment and self- aggrandizement to the exclusion of all other considerations has led to an abandonment of the old-fashioned concept of noblesse oblige, equality, fairness, or of any real notion of corporate social responsibility." ews/2012-01-03/did-psychopaths-take-over-wall-street-asylum-commentary-by-william-cohan.html

Outlook Over the years I've met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its restraints, the monsters have proliferated.

In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled "The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis", Clive R Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths.

"They are," he says, "simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or empathy." And he argues: "Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis'.

And Mr Boddy is not alone. In Jon Ronson's widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare told the author: "I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies."

Cut to a pleasantly warm evening in Bahrain. My companion, a senior UK investment banker and I, are discussing the most successful banking types we know and what makes them tick. I argue that they often conform to the characteristics displayed by social psychopaths. To my surprise, my friend agrees.

He then makes an astonishing confession: "At one major investment bank for which I worked, we used psychometric testing to recruit social psychopaths because their characteristics exactly suited them to senior corporate finance roles."

Here was one of the biggest investment banks in the world seeking psychopaths as recruits. 2.html

I see I am not alone in thinking that the corporate sociopath needs to be removed from positions capable of inflicting societal pain, suffering and destruction.

Yes, the brain is plastic, but what some fail to account for is the fact that genetic sociopaths are wired differently from the start, and the range of their plasticity is limited. No matter what, they will never become "normal", i.e. non-sociopathic.

edit on 4-1-2012 by apacheman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 03:53 PM
post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions

posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 03:57 PM
post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions

posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 09:55 PM
reply to post by apacheman

I see I am not alone in thinking that the corporate sociopath needs to be removed from positions capable of inflicting societal pain, suffering and destruction.

I have been writing about corporate sociopaths for years on ATS - criticizing corporations and corporate laws that mandate sociopathic behavior. So no, you are not alone - you never were.

However, your thread is about some unproven malady called "genetic sociopathy" and specifically refers to politicians and police, NOT corporations, corporate culture or business law.

Yes, the brain is plastic, but what some fail to account for is the fact that genetic sociopaths are wired differently from the start, and the range of their plasticity is limited. No matter what, they will never become "normal", i.e. non-sociopathic.

I suggest you go back and brush up on neuro-plasticity. You seem to have missed the main points.

edit on 4/1/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 09:56 PM
That is an excellent question....does the individual's right to privacy supercede what is best for the greater good?

posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 09:58 PM
I love it! Technically sociopathy is a mental illness, and you know we can't discriminate against the mentally ill, but Damn! That would be awesome if we did, and oh how I wish we would. Not police officers, that's just silly, but definitely YES to politicians and wallstreet!

posted on Jan, 5 2012 @ 02:18 AM
reply to post by soficrow

Sorry, I thought you were aware of this:

Mandatory screening of multinational executives for sociopathic tendencies

I've actually already called for corporate checking before this. Then I started following the latest research in more depth and with greater persistence, resulting in this thread with an expanded focus. As I had already called for corporate testing, I automatically assumed you were aware that this is an extension of that thought, and I certainly wasn't excluding them, quite the contrary.. My bad for not mentioning it earlier.

I've linked enough evidence to show that there are at least three fairly definitive tests for sociopathy: brainwave, fMRI, and the Hare test, with the genetic aspects beginning to get nailed down: we know it is heritable through the mother's line, and that there is a fifty-fifty chance of expressing without considering environmental factors, the probability of expression skyrockets when a bad environment is added to the mix.

So basically we have four different ways of confirming whether or not someone is a sociopath, and whether that sociopathy is due to solely the environment. Remember, I said that sociopathy is contagious: if you hang out with or work with sociopaths, or are ruled by them, you pretty much have to adopt their model to survive. The difference is that those who are wired genetically to be sociopathic cannot be "cured" of it, anymore than you can cure someone of being blonde, redhead, or a dwarf, while the situational sociopath might possibly be cured. It takes time and hard work and constant monitoring, but it is feasible anyway.

The fMRI and brainwave test results cannot be faked by the testee: they show in realtime the activity taking place in the brain, one with blood flow and the other electric impulses. If the centers of the brain that light up or activate in normal people in empathic situations doesn't light up with someone, they are lacking in the ability to feel empathy: it isn't a matter of choice, anymore than being gay is. Couple those with a definitive score on the Hare test plus a check of the environmental factors known to contribute to the development of sociopaths plus a look at the behavioral history, and at some point you have to admit that yes, this person is indeed a sociopath. As we study the issue and are able to do better genetic research on it, our understanding of the genetic component may be further refined into not a predictive tool through random testing but a confirmatory one.

The inability to feel empathy should be considered an emotional disability, for truly that is what it is, at least from our point of view, i.e., those able to feel it. Having certain disabilities disqualifies you from many jobs already, so why shouldn't we create a classification of profession for which having that ability is part of the job requirement? I think that view would better sit with some than the idea that all sociopaths are natural predators upon non-sociopaths, even though both are true and both are excellent reasons to deny them access to some segments of the economic and social controls.

Sure there are many ethical questions raised. Given that it follows bloodlines, through the mother, does this lead us to keeping an eye on certain families, and if so, what sort of eye? There's a lot to worry about there, but even more to worry about if we ignore the problem of their presence at all levels of our society. You shouldn't give people who cannot physically give a crap for consequences and who need extreme stimulus just to feel anything at all the keys to the economy and government. Unfortunately I believe that's precisely what has happened, just look around you: you really think rational people who actually feel empathy could have created this big a mess?

We have enough tools that look at the same thing from different angles, so let's use them. When they all show the same result, then let's as gently as possible inform those people that some careers are off-limits, just as we do for the deaf or the colorblind. No one, at least I am not, is saying that anything further should be done, merely setting a boundary on which fields they may not enter. Just because they're a sociopath doesn't make them a criminal automatically or even evil; an asshat maybe, but not necessarily criminal.

posted on Jan, 5 2012 @ 02:26 AM
reply to post by angeldoll

Personally, I think we do need to make sure the guy we give the power of life and death to actually cares about the difference.

We've had far too many instances of borderline sociopathic behavior, and clearly sociopathic behavior by some police (not all, but some). Ensuring that sociopaths don't walk around armed with both lethal force and the knowledge that they can get away with pretty much anything if it is framed correctly would seem to be a priority for a civilized nation.

posted on Jan, 5 2012 @ 09:02 AM
reply to post by apacheman

Like sociopathy, the rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease have skyrocketed over the past few decades. Trust me - all the victims are NOT related. The only way to conclude these diseases are "genetic" is to argue for divine or alien intervention in the human genetic code.

You continue to focus on the products, not the cultural and legal processes that create sociopaths. Worse, you remain stuck on the mistaken and dangerous notion that sociopathy is genetic - saying, "it follows bloodlines, through the mother," implying society needs to identify "family lines" and conduct genetic screening and monitoring of these lines - all pure bs, and leading down a very slippery slope straight into Nazi eugenics.

posted on Jan, 5 2012 @ 09:12 AM

A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act.

"Using the scanner, we could look around the brain for this information and read out something that from the outside there's no way you could possibly tell is in there. It's like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall," said John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who led the study with colleagues at University College London and Oxford University.

The use of brain scanners to judge whether people are likely to commit crimes is a contentious issue that society should tackle now, according to Prof Haynes. "We see the danger that this might become compulsory one day, but we have to be aware that if we prohibit it, we are also denying people who aren't going to commit any crime the possibility of proving their innocence."

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