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#31419 - 08/04/09 04:42 PM "Brain difference in psychopaths identified"
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-08/kcl-bdi080409.php

"Professor Declan Murphy and colleagues Dr Michael Craig and Dr Marco Catani from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London have found differences in the brain which may provide a biological explanation for psychopathy."

Potential scientific insight into understanding morality. That is, in this particular case, an absence of morality can be associated with a brain that is wired differently.

Of course,
1) This is one study and it could be wrong, and
2) even if it's right, it doesn't address how to fix things.

Still, you have to start somewhere - and most scientists start out by trying to understand the problem.

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#31422 - 08/04/09 05:59 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Zephir Offline
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OK, now we can start with eugenics...
On the other hand, why to punish these poor psychos for their brain defects?

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#31425 - 08/04/09 10:32 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: Zephir]
redewenur Offline
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Originally Posted By: Zephir
OK, now we can start with eugenics...
On the other hand, why to punish these poor psychos for their brain defects?

As far as I know, psychopaths/sociopaths don't consider themselves 'poor'; unlike victims of the currently treatable disorders of the mind, they seem to experience no suffering. Instead, it's they who tend to remorselessly inflict suffering upon others. It may raise the issue of treating criminal psychopaths (murderers/rapists/terrorists) against their wishes, but that already happens with mentally ill people who are a danger to themselves or to others. The aim is to treat, not to punish.
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#31426 - 08/04/09 10:51 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: Zephir]
Joe35 Offline
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Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: Zephir
On the other hand, why to punish these poor psychos for their brain defects?


I think that, in the future, we will quarantine rather than punish.

For example, child molestors might be quarantined for life, even on a first offense, in an adult-only town where they could work and live a normal life while kept safely away from children.



Edited by Joe35 (08/04/09 10:52 PM)

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#31427 - 08/05/09 03:03 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: Joe35]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Science and engineering require discipline. We can't jump ahead to solve problems before we understand them. People involved with religion and politics think that because problems are important and DEMAND SOLUTIONS RIGHT NOW that it's ethically necessary to throw the standard problem solving method out the door. On the contrary, it's because the results are so important that we have to stick with the discipline and advise the interlopers to fornicate with themselves until the scientists have figured out more details.

The work mentioned in the OP was ONE promising paper. There may be others to come. Surely this one should come in for some intense scrutiny - criticism, hard questions, attempts to replicate, elaborations, digressions, new avenues of exploration. Tehy're just plotting a few isolated points for now. The detailed maps will come later.


That said, it's desirable to consider the ethics of this kind of knowledge as well as social and ethical impacts of potential solutions in the near term as well as the far off future. Since it's largely new ground, we will probably have to approach it analogically.

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#31429 - 08/05/09 08:11 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
redewenur Offline
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TFF: "it's because the results are so important that we have to stick with the discipline"

Certainly, but do you have reason to be especially concerned regarding this particular research? The article didn't seem to raise the issue.
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#31431 - 08/05/09 10:44 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Joe35 Offline
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Quote:
TFF -- Science and engineering require discipline. We can't jump ahead to solve problems before we understand them.


Sometimes we can. We can try possible solutions to our social problems on a small scale, then, if they work, we can expand their use. If they work, we don't need to fully understand why they work.

Quote:
The work mentioned in the OP was ONE promising paper.... Since it's largely new ground, we will probably have to approach it analogically.


It is new ground in one sense -- I understand your point -- but this paper is just the most recent evidence that human behavior has it's origin in our biology, an idea that has been around for a long time. We have had plenty of time to consider the moral implications, and once those are considered, new approaches, like quarantine displacing punishment, offer themselves up for testing.

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#31432 - 08/05/09 03:04 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: Joe35]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

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I can imagine the consequences of this work. Imagine a doctor telling the parents of a newborn child, "Your child has shown a brain structure that will cause him to grow up to be a psychopath. We recommend prophylactic incarceration for the good of society." or, "We recommend early intervention and special training to attempt to forestall this tendency." It would be the ultimate ride on the eugenics roller coaster. It makes me wonder if there are "normal" people who have the same brain structures, or if all people with that brain structure are psychopaths. Interesting food for thought.
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#31435 - 08/05/09 06:22 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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"I can imagine the consequences of this work."

You have succinctly illustrated the necessity to define the problem clearly before we start implementing solutions.

OTOH, I agree with what Joe said regarding implementing some things based on what we do know. We don't have to be 100% sure of anything before we commit to small actions. I don't necessarily agree with the action he mentions (and I don't disagree with it), but it's possible to do something. However, we need to understand the problem well enough that we know what to measure so we can figure out if our actions have improved anything and we have to understand it well enough to know that what we measure is an adequate proxy for what we want.

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#31436 - 08/05/09 07:47 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
redewenur Offline
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You may find this interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendon_(Prison)

"Grendon Prison was opened in 1962 as an experimental psychiatric prison to provide treatment for prisoners with antisocial personality disorders, under the direction of a medical superintendent."

I visited in '72. It's still the only facility of its kind in the UK.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#31437 - 08/05/09 07:51 PM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Joe35 Offline
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Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
...OTOH, I agree with what Joe said regarding implementing some things based on what we do know. We don't have to be 100% sure of anything before we commit to small actions...


About implementation, in general...

I stated my quarantine idea as a prediction for a distant future rather than something we ought to be doing now because I am resigned to the notion that social progress has been, and will continue to be, extremely slow since it is not fueled by the profit motive.

We won't test new social programs or implement much of anything until we remodel the decision-making processes.


Edited by Joe35 (08/05/09 07:59 PM)

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#31440 - 08/06/09 12:02 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Zephir Offline
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Registered: 07/01/08
Posts: 498
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
We can't jump ahead to solve problems before we understand them..
This is common approach in natural sciences. Do we understand relativity or quantum mechanics? Not at all, but numerical regressions between physical constants enable us to handle these concepts in formal way without actually understanding of subject.

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#31441 - 08/06/09 12:44 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: redewenur]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
You may find this interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendon_(Prison)

"Grendon Prison was opened in 1962 as an experimental psychiatric prison to provide treatment for prisoners with antisocial personality disorders, under the direction of a medical superintendent."

I visited in '72. It's still the only facility of its kind in the UK.


Interesting. I wonder how their recidivism rate compares to that of other prisons in UK.

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#31442 - 08/06/09 12:58 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: Zephir]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
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AR wrote:
"It makes me wonder if there are "normal" people who have the same brain structures, or if all people with that brain structure are psychopaths. Interesting food for thought."

I was going to make this observation too- especially that those of us living so-called normally may have this brain structure and it is found to be only a possible insight as to behaviour, not a certain predictor.

I also feel that such deviance may be in fact be an important part of our wide genetic diversity that leads to creative and innovative humanity. Maybe we need to learn to manage people with this characteristic, hopefully by enabling them to live cooperatively with the rest of us. I agree with FF, jumping in to cure such a disorder will be ineffective if the person with the disorder is either unable to acknowledge its existence, or is in fact unaware that his/her brain structure is foretelling a disastrous future.

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#31449 - 08/06/09 07:46 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
redewenur Offline
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Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Interesting. I wonder how their recidivism rate compares to that of other prisons in UK.

The fact that it remains unique might suggest that it has had, at best, mediocre results. Results aside, its a laudable attempt at a more humanistic approach, for which all those who actually care about the incarcerated must be grateful.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#31453 - 08/06/09 11:03 AM Re: "Brain difference in psychopaths identified" [Re: redewenur]
Joe35 Offline
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Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Interesting. I wonder how their recidivism rate compares to that of other prisons in UK.

The fact that it remains unique might suggest that it has had, at best, mediocre results. Results aside, its a laudable attempt at a more humanistic approach, for which all those who actually care about the incarcerated must be grateful.


That's right. We can surmise that the project isn't perceived as a success since it hasn't been expanded after 47 years. But, think about the social implications. If their methods actually worked, they would probably work to make non-psychopaths better human beings as well.

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