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Are Psychopaths Violent Criminals? Is it a Psychological or Biological Condition?

In the past few years, there have been several studies on psychopathic personalities. Psychopathology has always been considered a psychological theory of crime. With these new studies (where they have tested the firing neurons in the brain), there is now a controversy over whether a psychopath would fall under the category of a psychological or biological theory.

For example, one study showed incarcerated psychopaths a series of slides that showed not only photos of happy families and pleasant landscapes but also photos of gruesome crime scenes. It was noted that in what was deemed the normal population, the neurons fired in several sections of the brain when the pleasant photos were shown and in a different section when the gruesome photos were shown. In the psychopathic population, all neurons fired in the same area of the brain.

1. Do you think psychopaths are more likely to exhibit violent criminal behavior? Why or why not?
- What factors could increase the likelihood that a psychopathic individual will engage in criminal behavior? Explain.
- What factors do you think could reduce the likelihood that a psychopathic individual will engage in criminal behavior? Explain.

2. Do you believe that the person who is deemed a psychopath would fall under a psychological theory or a biological theory? Why or why not? Explain your rationale.
- Should this make a difference in the incarceration of this person? Why or why not? Explain.

Solution Preview

1. Do you think psychopaths are more likely to exhibit violent criminal behavior? Why or why not?

Yes, psychopaths lack empathy or sympathy. Therefore, they have a propensity to engage in violence that is beyond the norm for most people because they lack the capability to feel any remorse or emotions for their victim, which dehumanizes their victim and allows the psychopath to engage in violence easier.

- What factors could increase the likelihood that a psychopathic individual will engage in criminal behavior? Explain.

Factors such as stress, relationships wherein two psychopaths are in a relationship together, and opportunity all increase the likelihood of criminal behavior by psychopaths. Stress causes those who are psychopathic to "snap" and ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines psychopaths for violent criminals.

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