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  1. #1
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    Question A question on sociopathy

    Perhaps kind of a lame question, but it does tie into a few other things I've read and seen, yet it seems on the surface to be contradictory: From what I understand sociopaths have very poor impulse control, and little gray matter. They don't feel fear as we do, or anxiety, and the few emotions they do have are very superficial. And yet, I often read of things about how confirmed sociopaths had exactly what they were claimed to be missing, higher emotional experiences. Ted Bundy for example had to get drunk before he acted on his own impulses, and then would [so he claimed] panic after he had so. Drinking to lower inhibitions, panic after an action? Aren't these exactly the opposite of what sociopaths would do?

    I hear that a lot when I read on sociopath personalities, the individual in question expresses how he did xyz as a result of an emotional experience, and the veracity of the ascribed actions are taken to be true. Yet I cant think of how these would actually make sense unless the emotional experience too, was true, yet they aren't meant to be having these experiences.

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    I don't know about Ted Bundy specifically but there may well have been some anxiety about getting caught.

    I think the key to psychopathy is the lack of empathy or genuine remorse (remember that typically psychopaths are masters at mimicking emotion - feeling those emotions is another thing altogether). Most people could not do the things psychopaths do because their empathic connection to victims would under normal conditions make that near impossible.

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    Perhaps kind of a lame question
    I thought it was interesting. I like watching those crime documentaries on TV like Forensic Files.

    Ted Bundy for example had to get drunk before he acted on his own impulses
    From what I read on Wikipedia, that is just what he said in a couple of interviews (while on death row, I assume):

    Consumption of large quantities of alcohol was an "essential component", he told Keppel, and later Michaud; he needed to be "extremely drunk" while on the prowl[247][248] in order to "significantly diminish" his inhibitions and to "sedate" the "dominant personality" that he feared might prevent his inner "entity" from acting on his impulses

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    There is a really good book called Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Amazon.com: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (9781572304512): Robert D. Hare PhD: Books).

    I find sociopathy absolutely fascinating, Roucan. Interesting question.

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter View Post
    I don't know about Ted Bundy specifically but there may well have been some anxiety about getting caught.

    I think the key to psychopathy is the lack of empathy or genuine remorse (remember that typically psychopaths are masters at mimicking emotion - feeling those emotions is another thing altogether). Most people could not do the things psychopaths do because their empathic connection to victims would under normal conditions make that near impossible.
    I'm not positive that you are the author of "Raising Sons" by David J. Baxter (an article I found very interesting, especially, since all my children are boys), but if you are, in the article you stated:

    "Perhaps because young boys tend to be more intense or aggressive in the way they express emotions, their parents
    tend to hold back and respond less expressively than they would with their daughters, which again can inadvertently send the message to boys that feelings are “bad”—something to be avoided" (p. 13)

    How much do you think that parental response to emotions influences development of ASPD? Some children are more resilient than others. So, could temperament, then, be a factor that may influence development of ASPD?

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    There's little evidence to support that hypothesis, although it was certainly one of the explanations given serious focus in psychopathy research in the 1950s and 60s. Indeed, the majority of the research points to genetics and/or brain/nervous system abnormalities.

    And yes, I am really the author of Raising Sons and Growing Up Male - Raising Sons.

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter View Post
    There's little evidence to support that hypothesis, although it was certainly one of the explanations given serious focus in psychopathy research in the 1950s and 60s. Indeed, the majority of the research points to genetics and/or brain/nervous system abnormalities.

    And yes, I am really the author of Raising Sons and Growing Up Male - Raising Sons.
    Thank you! Great article by the way! It was very good food for thought. Its made me more aware of pressures that I may have been putting on my own children so I can monitor myself to try and not put undue pressure on them. I think sometimes we adults forget what it was like to be a kid and don't consider that our children's childhood is not ours, making it different in many many ways.

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    Re: A question on sociopathy

    Thanks, Turtle, for the reference!
    Here is other info I found while developing my thesis some may find interesting:

    Family aspects may influence the development of antisocial behaviors. Bowlby (1969/1982) addresses social?emotional development through his attachment theory. The theory identifies markers predictive of social competence and psychopathology. Bowlby?s (1969/1982) theory of mother?child attachment relations has been influential on research that addresses emotional development and clinical intervention throughout the lifespan (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004). Infants use behaviors, such as crying and clinging, to elicit a response from their caregiver. The behaviors form an internal working model (IWM) of the attachment relationship, mental representations of the self, and others. The relationship and experiences that result from the relationship influence self-worth and dependability on others to provide attention and care as well as the quality of attachment, expectations, and responsiveness in later relationships with peers. These representations guide the development of coping strategies (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004).
    Ainsworth and Bell (1970) used three categories to describe attachment in infants: secure; anxious?ambivalent, in which infants are incapable of using the mother as security, are often angry, and push her away when reuniting; and anxious?avoidant (infants fail to use the mother as security to explore and avoid the mother when reuniting or approach indirectly). Main & Solomon (1990) added a fourth category of disorganized?disoriented. In this category, the infant does not have a predictable or successful pattern of eliciting a caregiver?s response when stressed. Across the lifespan, the attachment styles regulate emotions to manage relationships, affect, and events (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004).
    The anxious?avoidant style has overly organized strategies to control and minimize. The anxious?resistant style has uncontrolled, poorly managed affect. Secure attachment successfully manifests a balance of the anxious?avoidant style and the anxious?resistant style. The disorganized?disoriented attachment displays a mixture of behaviors that may be uncontrolled, such as impulsive physical aggression, or over-controlled responses where emotions are poorly expressed and behavior is maladaptive (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004). Several studies found that insecure attachments in high-risk families increase risk of maladaptive behaviors during childhood. Shaw & Vondra (1995) argue quality alternative care as well as economic and social support may aid the child in remaining functional.

    Abuse

    In a study by Pollock et al. (1990), antisocial behavior aspects of aggression, criminal acts, and impulsiveness were associated with history of physical abuse. Parental alcoholism combined with abuse did not increase the risk of antisocial behaviors. Sedlak et al (2010), as shown in Figure 1, found that alcohol use was a dominant aspect in children?s physical abuse: 11.1 %. Drug use was 6.8% and mental illness was 4.5%. ?In contrast, children who are sexually abused are about equally likely to have perpetrators using alcohol and drugs (8.4% and 9.1%, respectively), but appear less likely to have perpetrators who are mentally ill.? (Sedlak et al, 2010, p. 6-15) Emotionally abused children of drugs users were 16.7% as well as children abused by mentally ill abusers. Alcohol use was 12.8% for children emotionally abused.
    Physical abuse encourages aggressive behavior through forming social information processing patterns that are hostile (Dodge, Bates, & Pettit, 1990). Abused children are primed for hostile interpretations within social interactions. Luntz and Widom (1994) used 699 participants from ages 18 to 35 in a study to determine the association between childhood abuse, neglect, and adult antisocial personality disorder. ASPD was more prevalent (13.5%) among abused or neglected participants compared to participants not abused or neglected (7.1% prevalence). Sedlak et al (2010) report that use of drugs is the prevalent factor (14.7%) with those who neglect children. Alcohol use was 11.3%, and mental illness was 7.5%. However, the overall incidence of all perpetrator problems is much higher among the emotionally neglected children.

    P.S. Dr. Arena, please don't count this against my turnitin. This is part of my paper

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