Serial Killers: What´s A Psychopath?

595 Words3 Pages
When most people think of psychopaths, they think—with a shudder—of serial killers like Ted Bundy, who seem to show no remorse or even understanding that what they do is morally wrong. Psychopathy —also called sociopathy—is indeed defined by lack of empathy, callousness and complete disregard for anything or anyone else other than one's selfish needs. But although all psychopaths meet the criteria for what the diagnostic manual calls "antisocial personality disorder"—of which psychopathy is the most extreme case—not all of them are ruthless murderers. "People don't realize that there are hundreds of sociopaths walking around [who] aren't criminals," says child psychiatrist Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D. "They end up manipulating people to get…show more content…
Almost always their manipulation skills are exceptional. A study just published in the journal Legal and Criminal Psychology found that even though they are more likely than other criminals to re-offend, psychopathic criminals are two and a half times more likely than others to charm parole boards into releasing them. The root of the problem Many researchers now believe that the core defect in psychopathy—and what most distinguishes it from other antisocial behavior disorders—is what are called "callous/unemotional traits." A child who kicks another child because he's angry and can't control himself but feels terrible afterwards may be antisocial, but he's not psychopathic. It's the kid who does it and feels no remorse—or even gets angrier because the other child's crying is annoying—who's most worrisome. What causes this lack of empathy? Many—but not all—psychopaths were abused or neglected as children. Being treated poorly early on can set up a child to see everyone else as selfish and cruel, causing them to replicate that kind of behavior as a way to cope with a nasty, uncaring world. However, the vast majority of abused and neglected children grow up to be caring, and some are even especially sensitive—far from

More about Serial Killers: What´s A Psychopath?

Open Document