Should we discuss psychopathy?
© 2013 NeuroInstincts | All Rights Reserved | No Unauthorized Reproduction Permitted in any form
Some might say that researching and discussing the facts of psychopathy intrudes upon their rights and stigmatizes a group of individuals. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that the symptoms of this disorder is congruent with painful (at the least) and potentially fatal (at worst) consequences to others in society. An individual with strong psychopathic traits can cause harm to their co-workers, company, employees, significant other, children, and strangers.
This condition is unique, as it is one of the only disorders that violates the rights of others, potentially placing their target’s life, health, finances, security, innocence, or mental health at extreme risk.
Many researchers and clinicians have decided that it’s important to share the information that is known about the condition and the behavior of this population. To not do so would be irresponsible.
Unfortunately, we miss the opportunity to discuss psychopathy each time we have a non-mentally ill perpetrator harm or kill large groups of innocent people. There is a strong possibility that some of those individuals had psychopathic traits. Many leaders in society tend to have the wrong conversation after these tragic events (regardless of political party). Rather than attempting to figure out what type of person would callously hurt strangers, the focus becomes something else entirely. A public discussion regarding psychopathy and its impact on our society is necessary.
Again, one might question:
Does it intrude on the rights of someone with psychopathy to discuss behavioral patterns and research findings with the public?
No. Sharing scientific or educational information is not an intrusion. The very criteria, traits, and behavior of psychopathy are violating and socially dangerous. Hence, we cannot and should not withhold neurobiological, neuropsychological, legal, social, and behavioral findings.
We are fortunate to be at a time where researchers in the area of psychopathy have gathered immense amounts of information regarding this condition. For most of us in this field (clinicians/ researchers/professors), we also feel there is a “pressure to do something with that information.” Society provides that pressure as well, by using neuroscience information to better understand certain behaviors – particularly as they relate to criminal behavior/ This information could help protect potential future victims. However, society and leaders have to be ready and receptive to have a conversation about psychopathy.
“If we can predict, then that information causes a pressure to do something with it. It’s very hard for us to get information and not do anything with it. But what we do with it has implications that we’re really are just beginning to think about.” – Geely
© 2013 NeuroInstincts | All Rights Reserved
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