New study reveals brain basis of psychopathy

According to a Finnish study, the structure and function of the brain areas involved in emotions and their regulation are altered in both psychopathic criminal offenders and otherwise well-functioning individuals who have personality traits associated with psychopathy. Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy, and bold, disinhibited and egotistical traits. However, similar antisocial traits are also common, yet less pronounced, with people who are well-off psychologically and socially. It is possible that the characteristics related to psychopathy form a continuum where only the extreme characteristics lead to violent and criminal behavior. The collaborative study of Turku PET Center, Karolinska Institutet, and Psychiatric Hospital for Prisoners in Finland examined the brain structure and function in psychopathic prisoners and healthy volunteers. Brain structure was measured with magnetic resonance imaging. The…