There is not enough empirical research on child psychopathy and its development or indicators. There is also a lack of evidence that signifies a positive correlation between conduct disorder and other defiant problems in children to psychopathy in adults. The current review examines psychopathic characteristics that can be identified in children, disorders that are related to psychopathy, and neurobiological factors have also been considered to have a relationship with this disorder.
Findings suggest that psychopathy in children can be identified in children as young as 3. The empirical research provided in the review reveal a considerable amount of information suggesting that children with behavioral problems such as ADHD, CU traits, delinquent behaviors, and CD may have similar traits with antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy. These behavioral disorders found in children as early as 3-4 years of age may indicate that there are behavioral precursors that may lead to adult psychopathy.
For future research, researchers should further observe a brain of a psychopath and its involvement in psychopathic behaviors using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see whether there were unusual neurological displays or if there were different methods of brain processing when the participants were given different types of words, (i. e. rape and murder) or shown different pictures an videos (i. e. scenes from a homicide). Is My Child A Psychopath? During toddlerhood, a young child will normally throw various fits and tantrums.
During these episodes of fit, do children usually slam the toilet seat down repeatedly until it breaks? If so, how does one explain the motive to act out in that manner? A common answer would probably be that they are acting “like a brat”, which is exactly what nine year old Michael’s parents thought (Kahn, 2012). Michael’s parents described abnormal fits out of Michael as toddler; he’d scream and shriek terribly at any command given to him. Michael’s inconsolable tantrums lasted past his toddler years. At eight years old, Michael would cut his trousers with a pair of scissors and painstakingly pull his hair out (Kahn, 2012).
Over the course of six years, Michael was taken to eight different therapists, all which diagnosed him with something different every time. He was diagnosed as having “firstborn syndrome”, Attention deficit disorder (A. D. D. ), Depression, Obsessive–compulsive disorder (O. C. D. ) and sensory-integration disorder. It was not until later, with the help of Dan Waschbusch, that Michael’s parents found out that their son might be a psychopath (Kahn 2012). The notion that a child could have psychopathic tendencies is controversial amongst psychologists, who may categorize such behavior as simply “bratty. Psychologists argue that just like other personality disorders, it is far too complicated to diagnose truly in both children and teenagers; their brains are still developing (Kahn, 2012) and their behavior can be shrugged off with a “kids will be kids. ” Psychopaths make up one percent of the population (Clarke, 2005 as cited in Caponecchia, Sun, & Wyatt; Neumann and Hare, 2008) and the national cost of psychopathy is estimated to $460 billion in a single year, which is ten times more than the cost of depression.
This can be explained because psychopaths tend to be arrested repeatedly (Kahn 2012). Psychopathy is a serious personality disorder; it is described as a callous, shadow, and manipulative affective-interpersonal style blended with antisocial and reckless behavior (Hare, 1991 as cited in Blair, 2006). For over two decades, Paul Frick, a psychologist at the University of New Orleans has studied the risk factors for psychopathy in children (Kahn, 2012). In one instance, Frick came across a boy who cut off the tail of the family cat piece by piece, and felt no remorse.
In another instance, nine year old Jeffrey pushed a toddler into the deep end of the pool. As the boy drowned, he pulled up a chair and merely watched. Jeffrey was taken into custody and was seemingly unflustered by the possibility of jail; it was said that he looked pleased to be the center of attention (Kahn, 2012). There is no current compilation of tests or surveys that can serve as a standard to test for psychopathy in children. Even though the cause of this disorder is unknown, researchers have discovered a remarkable amount of information relating to brain abnormalities in psychopaths.
Various psychologists claim that just like autism, psychopathy is a distinct neurological condition; this brain activity can be identified in children as young as five years of age (Kahn, 2012). A study tracked the psychological development of 3,000 children, this was done over a span of 25 years, it was stated that psychopathic signs could be detected in children as young as three years of age. New high-level technology such as the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Functional Magnetic Resonance imaging (fMRI) has facilitated researchers in locating the affected sections in the brain of a psychopath.
Barry et al. (2000) conducted a study in which took a look at children who were diagnosed with both ADHD and problems with conduct. The findings suggest that children with ADHD and severe conduct problems are more likely to have characteristics of psychopathy (Barry et al, 2000). The current literature review will explore all the characteristics a child may possess that are classified as “psychopathic”, the detectable neurological indications of a psychopath, and the harmful practice of labeling a child a psychopath. Psychopathic Characteristics
Callous-Unemotional Traits and Antisocial Personality Behavior and Disorder Past research on child psychopathy has suggested that callous and unemotional (CU) traits have a direct element of psychopathy (Frick, Cornell, Barry, Bodin, & Dane 2003; Lynam, 1997, Lynam, Caspi, Moffitt, Loeber & Stouthamer-Louber, 2007 as cited in Burke, Loeber, & Lahey, 2007). CU traits possess distinguishing antisocial behaviors and psychopathic traits. These traits are recognized by consistent behavior that demonstrates a disregard for others which makes evident that the individual has a lack of empathy.
These behaviors show dishonesty, fear of social judgment, and lack of emotion, and behavior that is classified as antisocial (Yang & Raine, 2008). Psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder (APD) share a number of the same traits and have a common historical lineage (Zeier, Baskin-Sommers, Hiat Racer & Newman, 2012; Burke, Loeber, & Lahey, 2007). In accordance, Cooke and Michie (2001 as cited in Loney et al. , 2007) along with Frick et al. (2000 as cited in Loney et al. , 2007) state that psychopathy has antisocial tendencies and lifestyle sub dimensions.
Antisocial personality encompasses irresponsibility, impulsivity, irritability, and disobedient behavior; where the individual does not obey the law or respects the rights of others (American Psychiatric Association, 2000; Zeier et al. , 2012). Behaviors such as fighting, bullying and lying before the age of 15 can indicate that the individual has APD and such behaviors will persist into adulthood (Zeier, et al. , 2012). Research suggests that antisocial personality in childhood predicts adulthood results of psychopathy (Lynam et al. , 2007 as cited in Burke, Loeber, & Lahey, 2007).
Burke et al. (2007) predicted that callousness and antisocial behavior was a predictor of psychopathy in young adulthood and their prediction was confirmed. The ages of the 177 male participants at the beginning of the study ranged from seven to twelve. The children (and their parents) were assessed annually until the children were 17 years of age (Burke, Loeber, & Lahey, 2007). Once the participants were 18 years old, parents no longer needed to complete interviews. At the age of 18 and 19, there were 163 participants that were assessed.
Results indicated that earlier antisocial behavior and callousness gave way to young adult antisocial behavior (Burke, Loeber, & Lahey, 2007). Even though callous-unemotional traits and APD are at the core of psychopathic personality, temperament and conduct disorder are also risk factors that can distinguish if a child can be labeled as a psychopath. Temperament and Conduct Disorder Research states that temperament in children contributes to the development of callous-unemotional traits in numerous ways (Kochanska, 1993 as cited in Frick et al. , 2003). Glenn et al. 2007) stated that social measures of temperament commonly found in adult psychopaths can be identified in children as young as age 3.
The study measured temperament by evaluating the children’s crying behavior, sociability, verbalizations, relationship with the tester, exploration away from their mother and social play with other children. Those that scored high in psychopathy at the age of 28 scored exceptionally high in sociability. They also scored high in verbalizations, social play, and friendliness towards the experimenter when they were first assessed at the age of 3 (Glenn et al. 2007). Glenn et al. (2007), suggest that sociability in children will later convert into the same traits that psychopathic adults demonstrate. In adults, psychopathy can be characterized by traits such as superficiality, phony charm, conning, and manipulation (Forsman, Lichtrnstein, Andershed, & Larson, 2008). Children with these traits are determined to gain rewards through the use of aggression, disregarding the harm that can be done to themselves and others (Frick et al. , 2003).
Adult psychopaths display the same distinguishable and unique temperaments as these children (Frick, 1998; Hare, 1978 as cited in Glenn et al, 2007). Research concludes that children with psychopathic traits are certainly likely to act aggressively (van Baardewijk, Stegge, Bushman, & Vermeiren, 2009). Aggressive behavior out of a child who scores high in psychopathic traits will encounter conflict with others, this can be explained by their lack of empathy or their reduced sensitivity to the distress of others’ (Sentse, Veenstra, Lindenberg, Verhulst, &Ormel, 2009; van Baardewijk et al. 2009). Research states that there is also a correlation between temperament styles and conduct problems in school-age children (Blackson, Tarter, Martin, & Moss, 1994; Caspi et al. , 1994 as cited in Frick and Morris, 2004). Children with conduct problems who also show CU traits are more than likely to demonstrate antisocial and aggressive behavior, which are elements of psychopathy (Frick & Morris, 2004; Weizmann-Henelius et al. , 2007). Conduct disorder is commonly diagnosed in youth, especially in boys (Sevecke, Kosson, & Krischer, 2009).
The American Psychiatric Association (2000) identifies the following criteria for conduct disorder: aggression towards people and/or animals in which case the child must physically be cruel to the person or animal, intentional destruction of property, deceit or has committed theft, and must violate rules. Reportedly, the early appearance of CD is an indicator that the individual will exhibit lifelong antisocial behavior (Sevecke et al. , 2009). Sevecke et al. focused on the interaction between CU traits and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) as a component of psychopathy (2009).
Disorders Related To Psychopathy Both ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms are assessed when looking for psychopathic features in adolescents (Loney et al. , 2007). ODD can be categorized along with CD as a discrete diagnosis, because they both reflect a single conduct problem (Loney et al. , 2007). It is important to state that studies have shown that the incidence of ADHD diagnoses has increased in prison inmates and in forensic patients with psychopathic traits (Eisenbarth et al. , 2008).
Research suggests that children with ADHD who also exhibit severe conduct problems are at increased probability of having psychopathic characteristics (Barry et al. , 2000). The early appearance of CD in youth is a predictor of the likelihood of criminal behavior throughout the child’s adulthood (Sevecke et al. , 2009). According to Fischer et al. (2002) hyperactivity in children may well lead to antisocial personality disorder in adults. Fischer et al. (2002) included participants between 4-12 years of age.
There were two follow-ups; when the children were 12-20 years of age and when they were between of 19 and 25 years of age (Fischer et al. , 2002). The participants were asked to recall on their hyperactive behavior when they were children and adolescents, the answers were recorded using a questionnaire (Fischer et al. , 2002). It was shown that high levels of both hyperactivity and conduct problems were associated with antisocial personality disorder and, later adult psychopathy (Fischer et al. ,2002). Neurological Indications Serotonin and Youth Psychopathy
It has been demonstrated that both emotional and behavioral symptoms of psychopathy are correlated with the dysfunction in a number of brain regions (Ermer, Cope, Nyalakanti, Calhoun, & Kiehl, 2012). Kiehl, (2006 as cited in Ermer et al. , 2012) suggests that psychopathy may be in fact neurodevelopmental in nature. Recent research on genetic correlates of psychopathy has found psychopathic tendencies emerge in childhood; this can be detected in the developmental pathways of youth with such predispositions (Sadeh, Javdani, Jackson, Reynolds, Potenza, Gelernter, Lejuez, and Verona, 2010).
The most current research to date that has examined any sort of genetic correlates of psychopathy in youths was conducted by Sadeh et al in 2010. Previous research documents that deficiencies in serotonin (5-HT) results in individuals being more aggressive, antisocial, and have impulsive behavior (Carver & Miller, 2006 as cited in Sadeh et al. , 2010). These studies all agree that the serotonin transporter is a very important area to research in terms of psychopathy. The 188 participants had reported to have psychopathic tendencies; they were all recruited from treatment agencies and ll the participants were assessed using the 20-item self-report Antisocial Process Screening Device (Sadeh et al. , 2010). The average age of the participants was 14. 3 (Sadeh et al. , 2010). The youth that scored the highest on the impulsivity subscale in fact had serotonin dysfunction (Sadeh et al. , 2010). Research (Sadeh et al. , 2010) suggests that the impulsivity in psychopathic individuals is closely correlated with the main effect of the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR).
Impairment of the serotonin transporter, has been linked to impulse control problems and psychiatric disorders (Beitchman et al. 2006; Haberstick, Smolen, & Hewitt, 2006; Ni et al. , 2006 as cited in Sadeh et al. , 2010). The 5-HTT short allele can also be a leading cause for the risk and development of antisocial behaviors (Sadeh et al. , 2010), which is a core characteristic of psychopathy. In order to understand the neurological precursors of a pediatric psychopathy, Sadeh et al. (2010) suggest that the amygdala should be further explored since it also contributes to the development of psychopathic tendencies through poor behavioral control and impaired decision-making (Yang, et al. , 2010). Blair et al. 2006) found that impairment of the frontal lobe is linked to psychopathy. With this information available, Yang, Raine, Colletti, Toga, and Narr (2010) focused on making the distinction in morphological changes in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
Studying the prefrontal cortex is important because previous research has reported that reduced gray matter volume in the prefrontal cortex has been found in individuals with antisocial personality disorder who have also reported high psychopathy scores (Raine, Lencz, Bihrle, LaCasse, & Colletti, 2000 as cited in Yang et al. 2010). Yang et al. , (2010) looked at both unsuccessful psychopaths; those who do have not committed a violent crime, and successful psychopaths; those who have committed a violent crime. Previous studies have shown a significant structural difference in the brain between successful and unsuccessful psychopaths (Raine et al. , as cited in Yang et al. , 2010). The sample was made up of 16 unsuccessful psychopaths, 10 successful psychopaths, and 27 individuals who had no history of psychopathic traits (Yang et al. , 2010).
In order to make clear distinctions in the images, Yang et al, (2010) split the regions of the brain into two categories. The first category was the MFC, which consist of the frontal cortex and the middle frontal cortex (Yang et al. , 2010). The second region was the OFC which was made distinct by looking at the interior frontal cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex (Yang et al. , 2010). Results indicated that the brains of the unsuccessful psychopaths showed gray matter and also a decrease in the thickness of both the MFC and the OFC (Yang et al. , 2010).
Findings also suggest that the dysfunctions found in the MFC and the OFC of the unsuccessful psychopaths may lead to risky behavior detected in their counterparts (Yang et al. , 2010). Structural dysfunction in both the MFC and OFC in relation to reduced gray matter thickness is associated with one’s predisposition to develop psychopathic and risky behavior (Yang et al. , 2010). Reduced gray matter volume and thickness in these prefrontal regions indicates that these unsuccessful psychopaths are predisposed to them to become impulsive and have risky behaviors (Yang et al. , 2010).
These results are in line with previous findings that regarding reduced gray matter volume in the temporal and cingulate cortices in psychopaths (de Oliveira-Souza et al. 2008; Muller et al. ,2008 as cited in Yang et al. , 2010) and children with conduct disorders (Kruesi, Casanova, Mannheim, & Johnson-Bilder, 2004 as cited in Yang et al. , 2010). Other previous studies have also found that patients who have had lesions or have had damage to the OFC and DLPFC developed disturbed personality and increased antisocial behavior (Tranel, Bechara, & Denburg, 2002 as cited in Yang et al. , 2005).
The amygdala was also an area of interest in the study. The amygdala has been found to be associated with social judgment and moral emotion, therefore, dysfunction in the amygdala contributes to psychopath’s impaired moral-decision making (Adolphs, Trannel, & Damasio 1998; Blair, 2007 as cited in Yang et al. , 2010). Impairment in the amygdala may disrupt moral development and socialization which eventually leads to psychopathy (Blair, 2003, 2008; Kiehl, 2006, Raine & Yang, 2006 as cited in Yang et al. , 2010). In addition, the amygdala is also crucial for fear conditioning and emotion recognition (Yang et al. 2010); this suggests mechanism for psychopaths’ lack of empathy and poor facial emotion recognition (Yang et al. , 2010). Results indicated that there is, in fact, a bilateral shape difference in the amygdala between unsuccessful psychopaths in comparison to non-psychopaths (Yang et al. , 2010). Furthermore, results found that the amygdala of the unsuccessful psychopaths showed a decrease in the amount of bilateral volume (Yang et al. , 2010). The successful and unsuccessful psychopaths did not differ in the deformation of the amygdala (Yang et al. , 2010). There is almost no supporting evidence in this area, however, Yang et al. 2010) provides a substantial amount of support suggesting that there is a difference in the brains of patients with psychopathy as opposed to those that do not; the control group. Findings suggest that disturbances in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala contribute to the underlying neuroanatomical pathology of psychopaths (Blair et al. , 2006). The Harmful Practice of Misdiagnosing and Labeling Commonness of Misdiagnosing It is important to know all the indicators of a psychopath before misdiagnosing a child as being one. Unfortunately, misdiagnoses are common in the psychiatric field (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003).
It is vital that individuals are correctly diagnosed. After being diagnosed an individual will most likely seek out treatment. Consequently, the individual will be taking the wrong measures in their effort to cure their “disorder”, if in fact, they even have a disorder. Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, and Crafton (2003) state that incorrect formulations will lead to inappropriate medications and therapies; the results of these measures, at best will be ineffective and at worst, will cause harm to the individual. There is a psychiatric phenomenon of misdiagnosing.
A child may well easily be misdiagnosed as a psychopath like those patients who were misdiagnosed with ADHD (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). Studies have examined individuals with developmental disabilities and have stated that it is extremely challenging to diagnose such disorders even for mental health professionals (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). The study conducted (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003) took a sample of adolescents that were between the ages of 11 and 19 and conducted a longitudinal study to indicate whether or not they were rightfully diagnosed throughout their youth.
The individuals had been previously diagnosed with disorders such as Conduct Disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Antisocial disorder (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). As previously stated, these disorders have been found in adult psychopaths (CITE AUTHORS). It is worth noting that there is an ongoing debate on how appropriate it is to diagnose individuals as psychopaths for the sole reason that they show signs of antisocial personality disorder (Caponecchia, Sun, & Wyatt, 2012). After gathering data and taking the right measures, the current diagnoses for 150 participants resulted in 36. percent of the participants as having Oppositional Defiant Disorder and 32 percent as having Conduct Disorder (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). However, several other clinicians had previously misdiagnosed participants. Over 51% of the participants had previously received a diagnosis of Conduct Disorder and 44. 7% had received a diagnosis of ADHD (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). There are varying levels of disagreement amongst clinicians when it comes to diagnosing in the category of psychotic disorders.
However, the largest rate of disagreement was between the current and previous diagnoses (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). Disagreement amongst the clinicians was said to be common (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003), for example, when the participants were in their youth they were each diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder, and a disruptive behavior disorder. Implications of misdiagnosing an individual are costly and it creates a setback in their search for adequate treatment.
The participants reported that they received many different pharmalogic classes; they were part of their treatment (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). Study shows that over 100 0f the 150 adolescents had been prescribed at least 5 different psychotropics and over 7 different medications (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003). However, there is a lack of empirical data when it comes to exposing the success or failure in the diagnoses of a child psychopath. The findings provided by Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, and Crafton (2003) suggest that there is isagreement amongst professionals when it comes to appropriate diagnoses of an individual. It’s easy to see that a child may easily be overly diagnosed or under diagnosed. According to Caponecchia, Sun, and Wyatt (2012), there are several controversies surrounding the concept of psychopathy, especially when it comes to the reliability in the tools to both diagnose and measure it. The findings provided make it evident that the complexity of misdiagnosing psychiatric disorders in adolescents can be quite easy (Sevin, Bowers-Stephens, & Crafton, 2003).
Concerns over Labeling Children will normally act out in ways to grab the attention of their parents or those around them. They might throw tantrums and throw things in an aggressive manner, but does that automatically draw the conclusion that the child is a psychopath? Stockdale, Olver, and Wong (2010) noted that the assessment of psychopathy amongst the juvenile population has created controversy; the controversy is in regard to the appropriateness of applying the construct to youth.
There is concern over the implications that labeling may have on the child (Stockdale, Olver, & Wong, 2010). It’s understandable that applying the label of a serious personality disorder to young people who are currently going through social, emotional, physical and cognitive development has aroused criticism and concern (Stockdale, Olver, & Wong, 2010). Empirical research has identified that those under the age of 15 will tend to have important developmental differences from the youth that are older (Stockdale, Olver, & Wong, 2010).
Some of those differences are include lower scores on measures of judgment, decision-making, and psychosocial maturity (Stockdale, Olver, & Wong, 2010). The Stigma of Being Labeled a Psychopath. The effects of labeling a child psychopath may create obstacles throughout their development into adulthood. If a child is in fact diagnosed as a psychopath, they will need to learn how to deal with the negative notions that come along with that label. Adolescent psychopaths may hit a wall when they are out looking for their first job and come to realize that psychopaths are negatively viewed.
In a current study, Caponecchia, Sun, and Wyatt (2012), go on to state that the workplace is starting to become a place of bullying; those that bully are called ‘workplace psychopaths’. These alleged individuals are coined with terms such as ‘monsters’ and ‘snakes’ (Caponecchia, Sun, & Wyatt, 2012). Outwardly calling someone a psychopath has demonstrated the individual running into negative ramifications and may trigger defamation of the individual (Caponecchia, Sun, & Wyatt, 2012).
Just as the study stated, one cannot deny that some of the individuals in the community are indeed, psychopaths, and they have to work like everyone else (Caponecchia, Sun, & Wyatt, 2012). Treatment If a child has been properly diagnosed as a psychopath, there are ways to treat and manage their behavior. Caldwell (2011) examined the relationship between the characteristics of psychopathy in regards to the youth version of the Psychopathy Checklist (Frick et al. , 2003).
The study aimed to distinguish if there were any changes in behaviors after participants were enrolled in the program at the Mendota Juvenile Treatment center (MJTC). Findings suggest that the program at MJTC was successful; its mission was to improve the behavior of the participants from the time of enrollment (Caldwell, 2011). Parents of a child with psychopathic tendencies have hope in regulating their child’s behavior. Parents play a vital role in the development or the containment of their child’s psychopathic tendencies.
Thus, Dansforth, Harvey, Ulaszek, and McKee (2006) wanted to distinguish whether or not training parents of child psychopaths would help reduce hyperactivity and aggressive behavior. The study used a sample of eighty-four families; the study required the families to be enrolled in a child behavior management system (Dansforth et al. , 2006). The first part of the program focused on ADHD of the child and the associated parental behavior that corresponded, the second part of the program trained parents on how to manage their child’s behavior (Dansforth et al. , 2006).
Results indicated that the BMFC program did aid parents to deal with their child’s hyperactivity and aggression (Dansforth et al. , 2006) whilst reducing their level of stress. Conclusion The articles above reveal considerable evidence suggesting that children with behavioral problems such as ADHD, CU traits, delinquent behaviors, and CD may share similar traits with antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy. These behavioral disorders found in children as early as three to four years of age may indicate that there are behavioral precursors that may potentially lead to adult psychopathy.
Psychiatrists may be able to help guide the children in the right direction using extensive behavioral and cognitive treatment plans in order to reduce the change of future psychopathic. Due to an overlap of symptoms, childhood behavioral problems such as ADHD are often related to antisocial behavior. Although not all children diagnosed with ADHD or CD is not psychopathic, findings indicate that children with comorbid psychopathic traits are more likely to become a psychopathic adult. Eisenbarth et al. , (2008) and Fischer et al. (2002), found that childhood behavioral problems and disorders such as ADHD and CP may in fact lead to antisocial personality disorder and possibly psychopathy. Findings suggest that childhood problems may be precursors for adult psychopathy. Measurement of the CU traits can be achieved with children in the middle to child childhood period. Research suggests that the presence or absence of CU traits may be a useful method for determining whether a child had emotional impairments and if they show any signs of conduct disorder.
These predictions may be very helpful when it comes to treatment options for antisocial and aggressive behavior. Future Research For future research, researchers should observe a psychopath’s brain’s involvement in psychopathic behaviors using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see whether there are unusual neurological displays or if there were different methods of brain processing when the participants were given different types of words (i. e. rape and murder).
For instance, would there be any sort of an increase or a decrease of activity in the limbic region of the brain? I would also like to see the same line of research done but with graphic pictures and a series of videos dealing with rape or murder, such as images from a homicide scene, to see whether or not that would result in any change in brain activity. Another consideration would to evaluate the motive or purpose behind the criminal and deviant acts that psychopaths commit.
It should be furthered explained as to why psychopaths feel joy, empowerment, or any sort or reinforcement ‘from committing these acts. Scientific research is constantly evolving; future exploration in the field of neuroscience may be able to narrow down or locate any abnormalities in the limbic region that may triggering psychopathic behavior and if there are any type of medical treatments, besides therapeutic treatments, that can be done to inhibit the later stages of psychopathy in adults.