Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Melissa Hogenboom — Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch

Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research....
Christian Keysers from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and senior author of the study, said it could change the way psychopathic criminals were viewed.
"The predominant notion had been that they are callous individuals, unable to feel emotions themselves and therefore unable to feel emotions in others.
"Our work shows it's not that simple. They don't lack empathy but they have a switch to turn it on and off. By default, it seems to be off."
The fact that they have the capacity to switch empathy on, at least under certain conditions, could have a positive side to it, Prof Keysers said.
"The notion psychopaths have no empathy at all was a bleak prospect. It would make it very hard for them to have normal moral development 
"Now that we've shown they have empathy - even if only in certain conditions - we can give therapists something to work with," Prof Keysers told BBC News.
But he explained that it remained unclear how this wilful capacity for empathy could be transformed into the spontaneous empathy most of us have.

BBC News
Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch
Melissa Hogenboom | Science reporter


3 comments:

Matt Franko said...

" this minority conceal their condition by playacting an emotion's exterior signs (facial expressions, exclamations, body language). However, they do not actually experience the emotion in question. Their deception is revealed in the laboratory, where they respond to words like DEATH, CANCER, DISEASE, as if they were DAY, CREAM, or PAPER. They lack the ability to comprehend the emotional “punch” that certain words contain. They use others’ emotional reactions as cues, and they adjust their behavior to portray the correct ‘emotional’ behavior. (Hare, 129-30)"

http://ponerology.com/psychopaths_1.html

Looks like this site disagrees... they assert that they can only APPEAR to have emotion... although looks like they only think GOPers can be psychos.... so perhaps these people have a blind spot of their own...

I have a tendency to agree with these Ponerology people on this one... Melissa is practicing wishful thinking.

rsp,

Dan Kervick said...

Matt, have you read the research study that Keysers has authored?

Matt Franko said...

Dan,

It looks like the ponerology people would say that the psychos are alerted or cued to "put on their act" when the scientist asks them the question... so they get brain activity as a result of this...

Its like they think "oh that's right, I'm supposed to act concerned or something..." when prompted by the researchers then they go into their mimicry of others whom they have observed over time who actually possess the empathy...

rsp,