Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)

Anders Sandberg (
18 Oct 1999 18:27:49 +0200

"Clint O'Dell" <> writes:

> Phil Osborn wrote:
> >The sociopath often develops a very high capacity for analyzing other
> >people's states of mind, in order to manipulate them, sometimes for what
> >they believe to be their benefit,
> Everyone does this. The sociopath is better capable of it because (s)he is
> more intellegent usualy. Aren't sociopaths usualy more intellegent than the
> average person?

I think Madame Ubiquitious answer shows that this is not the case; I also found the following medline entry:


Cognitive imbalance and antisocial personality characteristics. Author

Snow M; Thurber S

Department of Psychology, Boise State University, ID 83725, USA. Source

J Clin Psychol, 1997 Jun, 53:4, 351-4

A cognitive imbalance, in which intellectual functioning is elevated in the performance area in comparison to verbal IQ, has been posited as an antecedent condition in relation to antisocial behaviors. The current investigation was based on the notion of a developmental arrest in which verbal, analytical, controlling brain processes (analogous to verbal IQ) fail to develop commensurately with the more impulsive actions mediated by the motor areas of the cerebral cortex (analogous to performance IQ). The simple verbal IQ performance IQ discrepancy index used in prior studies was reformulated as a causal theoretical model consisting of shared and unique performance IQ variance. The participants were 325 adults including 141 prison inmates. They were administered the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) and the Psychopathic Deviate (Pd) and Mania (Ma) scales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2). These were the manifest (measured) variables in the model tested by means of structural equation modeling procedures. Several statistical indices suggested an excellent model-data congruence.

Overall, Hannibal Lecters seem to be rare, most sociopaths are simply rude losers.

As a neuroscientist, I immediately think "Aha! Frontal lobe dysfunction!" when I read the descriptions of antisocial personality disorder. Most likely they suffer from bad programming (due to upbringing and/or biological causes) in the frontal systems of foresight, impulse control and social intellince. Unfortunately it is likely hard to fix.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y