They lack empathy and kill mercilessly without any remorse. Yes, c! We have seen a lot of movies based on psychopathic characters, but we seldom tried to understand the reason behind their violent nature. A recent study about the psychopaths revealed the secrets of their vehement intentions. It attempts to present a biological explanation of the antisocial behavior of psychopaths. The latest study in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that the primary reason for apathy in the behavior of a psychopath is because their brains are not capable of experiencing certain emotions.
The standard definition of psychopath suggests people lacking remorse, empathy, and superficial charm and having the sense of megalomania. Psychopathy is a mental syndrome in which people struggle to resist their instincts and act manipulatively and violently towards others. In search of the reason behind such behavior, researchers of the University of Chicago applied the brain imaging technology on psychopaths. The objective of the study was to compare the working of the brain of psychopaths with the mentally healthy individuals, in response to the circumstances where people being hurt deliberately. The researchers conducted a study on 80 prisoners between the ages of 18 to 50 to test their level of psychopathy. The researchers showed some videos of painful facial expression to these prisoners.
Researchers found that the prisoners having higher scores on psychopathy test felt less activation in the amygdala (a part of the brain that is responsible for experiencing the emotions) in comparison to the prisoners who scored less on the test. They also found that the high scoring inmates showed greater activity in the ventral striatum region of their brain for the immediate gratifying options. This region is responsible for the evaluation of various options.
Summarizing the suggestions of the study, the researchers observed that the brain wiring is responsible for the antisocial behavior of psychopaths. Their brain overvalues the immediate rewards and avoids the ramifications of their actions. Their decision making was same as the people involved in self-destructive behavior like substance abuse, alcohol addiction, eating disorders, etc. The researcher Joshua W. Buckholtz also suggested that psychiatrist can improve the lack of emotions through behavioral therapies that will make these people conscious about the consequences of their acts.
So, does the lack of empathy is a bad thing for society? Well, not exactly, the researchers revealed that some psychopathic traits are not bad for society. On the contrary, in some professions, the lack of empathy helps in performing the duties. For example, in the profession of a politician or a police officer, too much of empathy would interfere with their duties.