Offbeat — 14 November 2013

People Become Psychopaths

Psychopaths have undoubtedly been a part of human civilization throughout history. Since psychiatry only evolved as a spate science in the 20th century, psychopaths and the violent crimes they commit began to come to public notice only in the last century of human history.  A lot of research has since gone into the study of psychopaths and why they do what they do. traditionally, psychopath were thought of as being individuals without an ounce of humanity in them though recent studies show that there are a lot of factors that contribute to someone becoming a psychopath.

Hyper-reactive dopamine reward system

When the dopamine reward system in a person’s praise is hyper-reactive, they may become more prone to displaying psychopathic traits and may be more attracted to committing violent crimes to get their dopamine high. At times, substance abuse, emotionally scarring experiences in childhood and teenage and dysfunctional personal relationships may contribute to the hyper-reactivity of the dopamine reward system.

An abundance of risk-taking and impulsivity

Psychopaths are driven by dopamine reward circuitry dysfunction. This means that while they are aware that any criminal action on their part will be reprimanded with a punishment, they are so focused on getting a dopamine high that impulsivity and risk taking becomes the primary focus as rewards become the main attraction to them.

Lack of fear and lack of sensitivity to punishment

Research on psychopaths traditionally has found that people with psychopathic tendencies or those that have already exhibited violent crimes due to such a tendency are often so overwhelmed by their need to get a dopamine-rich reward that their concern for the punishment or fear of consequences is largely negated. It was previously hypothesized that psychopaths lack emotions like fear, empathy and regard for punishment as a result of their actions though new studies reveal that while they do experience these emotions, they get put on the backburner when a dopamine reward dominates their focus.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is also closely linked to psychopathic behavior. Researchers claim that substance abuse may be linked to dopamine response alterations. This basically means that psychopaths tend to fulfill their need for an exaggerated dopamine response though substance abuse and a similar feeling may be generated through criminal behavior.

A psychopath can be defined as a person who commits cold-blooded crimes without a hint of remorse of sympathy for their victims. The above mentioned reasons explore why some people become psychopaths.

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Written by Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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