Monthly Archives: July 2016

Does misdiagnosis of psychopathy increase psychopathic behavior?



Found an interesting question in the civgene comments from Julia, part of a junior scholars program.

If psychopathy is blamed on the brain, people may feel less morally responsible for their own psychopathic tendencies and therefore may be more likely to display those tendencies. We will also assess public recognition of these potential negative consequences of neuroscience communication.

Very interesting premise.  Before you dig too deep you should look at ‘century of the self’  A BBC special.  It points out that the only people who’s behavior are reliably predictive by game theory are economists (Aware of the studies conditions) and psychopaths.  Also consider Hare and many others work that there is NO behavioral technique alone that makes actual psychopaths better.

I’d say that your study has merit only if people falsely believe they are psychopath, when they are in fact not one.  An actual psychopath will remain the same.   So first you’ll need to know if your subject is a psychopath, or be prepared for a wider range of error.   Also please read the warning at the end before you proceed.

As part of the premise of civgene I think all people have the entire psychopath behavioral set available to them, but the conscience is not voluntary so must be malformed, underdeveloped, manipulated or otherwise stymied for psychopathic behavior to increase it’s share of realized behavior.

Shunning is the healthy reaction to known psychopaths and it simulates conscience for the psychopath externally.  If your subjects (false psychopaths) are tested under conditions of shunning and only shunning, they should not react with increased psychopathic behavior.  In fact they may become far more humble and introspective.

If you charge your subjects up with emotional energy, it may dampen or otherwise drown out the messages from the conscience, and yes psychopathic behavior will increase.  Like an overstimulated young child.

Please keep in mind there are special risks with narcissist stage psychopaths, should the actual psychopaths not be successfully screened out.   I think that psychopaths progress though logical stages with similar attributes to id, ego and superego.  A narcissist (the first stage) may react to being called a psychopath with violence against what they see as a misbehaving projection.  This is known as narcissist rage.  If you can’t be certain you have screened out all psychopaths from the subject pool, security will be necessary.

Thanks to Julia I am interested in how it turns out.  Please stay in touch.