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

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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.

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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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Antisocial Personality Disorder Case Study

I have the following case study to diagnose. I am sure it is 301.7 Antisocial Personality Disorder. But often there are other disorders that accompany this. Any thoughts or suggestions that I may have overlooked would be appreciated.

Gary grew up in a family that consisted of his father, mother, and an older brother. He indicated that there was not much closeness in his family. He was always left to fend for himself and got in trouble very early. Despite being bright, he received poor grades in school because he "wasn't interested". At the age of 14 he was sent to a youth correctional center for stealing a car and was at the reform school for 18 months. Almost immediately after being released, he started burglarizing.

When Gary was 20, he was sent to Oregon State Penitentiary for 18 months for burglary and robbery. In prison, Gary gained a reputation for brutality to other inmates and was known as "the enforcer" and "hammerhead". He tattooed obscene words and pictures on the backs and forearms of ineffectual and disliked inmates. After release, he committed armed robbery several times within the next month. He was sent back to the penitentiary and was transferred to a federal prison.

Gary met a woman after being released from prison which was reportedly the first close relationship that he had ever had. Gary indicated that he did not know how to respond to her for any length of time because he was used to violence and fighting. In his words, he was thoughtless in the way he treated her. Her two children reportedly bugged him and sometimes he would get angry and slap them because they were too noisy.

Two months later, Gary pulled up near a gas station and told the man at the service station to give him all of his money. He then took him to the bathroom and shot him. Gary stated that, "The guy didn't give me any trouble, but I just felt like I had to do it".

Axis I ?
Axis II 301.7 Antisocial Personality Disorder
Axis III None
Axis IV ?
Axis V GAF = 50 (current)

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