the response modulation hypothesis
November 24th, 2010 12:54 pm
Whereas most people automatically anticipate the consequences of their actions, automatically feel shame for unkind deeds, automatically understand why they should persist in the face of frustration, automatically distrust propositions that seem too good to be true, and are automatically aware of their commitments to others, psychopaths may only become aware of such factors with efforts. (Newman, 1998, p.84)
--Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
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Date:December 6th, 2010 - 03:48 pm
Is that hypothesizes to be true or is it definitional?
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Date:December 6th, 2010 - 03:49 pm
"hypothesized" even.
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Date:December 8th, 2010 - 12:23 am
Well, there is a lot of disagreement about the definition of psychopathy. The two competing perspectives seem to be: psychopathy is a misnomer and is in fact the same as antisocial personality disorder; and that psychopathy is a distinct disorder, a subset of people exhibiting with antisocial behavior. I follow the second way of thinking.

The closest thing you're going to get to a clear definition of psychopathy is found in the factor analysis in Hare's PCL-R. (There are other variants to the two factor model listed here, but it will serve for the purpose of this conversation.)

Theories on causes and mechanisms abound, and there is not a conclusive explanation. However from my own view, that quote eloquently describes a cognitive mechanism that is at the core of psychopathy and something that is quite difficult for most people to wrap their heads around.

(One might note that aspects of that description are quite similar to the cognitive process for aspergers. Since people are more likely to have encountered people with at least mild cases of aspergers, and understand to some extend the deal with it, it might be easier to extend that understanding to psychopaths. If one was so inclined.)
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