Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)

Anders Sandberg (
19 Oct 1999 18:29:47 +0200

"Clint O'Dell" <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> >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.
> As a neuroscientist, wouldn't you think it's they way this person reasons
> that makes him/her a sociopath?

Is there a difference? Remember, I don't see any difference between frontal lobe function and reasoning.

> I wouldn't think lack of play, emotional
> abuse, or lack of love would "damage" any part of their brain. Instead it
> would program it differently than the "social norm".

"Damage" is a tricky word. Have feral children damaged brains? Certain parts never developed well during the critical periods of development (for example language in some cases), emotional neglect and abuse have programmed very dysfunctional behavior programs and reactions into their limbic systems and deprived environments have likely decreased overall cell and synapse count. I would say they have damaged brains, their brains are not just different, they work worse than "normal" brains. The same goes for antisocial personality disorder, it is not just an alternate normative system, it is a syndrome of personality and behavior changes that usually leads to serious problems for the person and impairs their decision making ability.

> The fix for this
> should be simply to discuss reasons for doing or not doing anything. Find
> out where they're associating their reasoning and then feedback some
> alternatives.

Yes, this might help. Cognitive therapy is being tested to treat antisocial personality disorder (usually in prisons; otherwise the patients are rather uncooperative). I'm not sure how well it works, the medline abstracts I looked at had rather mixed results.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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