Psychopathy: a brain disorder that may explain why some people suffer from it

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  • Psychopaths or people with psychopathic traits are defined as patients with a selfish and antisocial personality.
  • The striatum coordinates multiple aspects of cognition, such as decision-making, motivation, reward perception, motor planning, and action.
  • During human development, the striatum typically becomes smaller as the child grows, suggesting that psychopathy may be related to differences in brain development.

Recently, neuroscientists from Nanyang Universities in Singapore, Pennsylvania and the State of California in the United States revealed a biological difference between people with psychopathy and those without the disorder. To reach this discovery, researchers conducted a study published in the journal Journal of Psychological Research. “Previous research has indicated increased striatal size in adults with psychopathy, but has not definitively determined the effect of striatal size on behaviors”They said.

As part of this work, Singaporean and American scientists hypothesized that the size of the striatum, the inner part of the brain that regulates impulses in particular, is greater in people with psychopathic traits, and that this association with size results from the need for stimulation and impulsivity.

In psychopaths, the striatum is 10% larger.

For the purposes of the study, the team measured the striatum size of 108 men using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The researchers also questioned participants using the Psychopathic Checklist – Revised, a psychological assessment tool to determine the presence of psychopathy traits in patients. Subgroup and exploratory analyzes were performed on a small sample of women.-Can we read in the works.

According to the results, the striatum was 10% larger in psychopaths compared to participants with little or no psychopathic traits. The authors linked a greater striatum to an increased need for stimulation, through arousal and arousal, and a greater likelihood of impulsive behaviors. According to research, psychopathy in women has also been associated with increased striatal size.

Their brain ‘does not develop normally during childhood and adolescence’

“We found that in addition to environmental and social influences, it is important to consider that there may be biological differences, in this case the size of brain structures, between antisocial and non-antisocial adults,” Olivia Choi, an author of the study, said in a statement. “Biological traits, such as striatal size, can be passed down from parents to their children. These findings provide further support for neurodevelopmental views of psychopathy, that is, psychopath brains do not develop normally during life. Childhood and adolescence, Added Adrian Raine, author of the works.

According to neuroscientists, a better understanding of the evolution of the striatum is needed. “It is likely that many factors are involved in why an individual is more likely to exhibit psychopathic traits than others. Psychopathy may be related to a structural defect in the brain that may be of an evolutionary nature. At the same time, it is important to recognize that the environment can also have effects on the structure of the scheme”, Olivia Choi explained.

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