Psychopath, Sociopath or Biosocial Pathology?

There are three trains of thought about psychopathy and sociopathy. One is that there are similarities between the psychopathy and sociopathy, but the origins of the disorder are significantly different. Another view states that both pathologies are the same. The latter group state that the phrase psychopath refers to the psyche, while sociopath refers to a social interaction, or environment. Biosocial criminology suggests a combination of the two. Depending on your perspective and your profession, there is a distinction to make between the three. Biosocial Pathology is the correct term if you believe psychology/sociopathy is a combination of genetic and environmental influences. The term sociopathy may be preferred by sociologists because it shares the prefix of their field. The term psychopathy may be preferred by psychologists for similar reasons.A psychopath is the correct term if you are a:criminologist

  1. forensic psychologist/psychiatrist
  2. Police/Law enforcement
  3. Criminal lawyer

A sociopath is the correct term is you are a:

1. sociologist

Biosociological criminology is the correct term if you are a:

  1. sociologist
  2. biosociologist
  3. forensic psychologist/psychiatrist
  4. neuropsychologist

The following checklist summarizes all if not most of the psychological or
psychiatric defects or deformities that psychologists and criminologists
thought, at one time, were indicative of psychopathy. Currently the law usually utilizes this checklist in court.

* Freudian slips of the tongue (indicative of mental conflict)
* Guilt feelings (covered up, but wants to be punished for something)
* Uses defense mechanism of projection (blaming others for own faults)
* Uses defense mechanism of displacement (ditching, self-handicapping, settling for 2nd best, being own worst enemy, but feels entitled to something or being 1st)
* Oral fixation (smokes or always has to have something in mouth)
* Oedipus complex (or other love/hate relationship with parents)
* Comes from dysfunctional family or broken home (absent or abusive father)
* Impervious to fear, anxiety, depression, or remorse (unremorseful) Superficially charming,
* Inability to love or express emotions deeply, can’t respond to kindness (cold)
* Pathological lying (for no reason at all, can’t help self)
* No self-insight (doesn’t reflect much upon own personality makeup)
* No self-humor (can’t stand to be the butt of jokes or can’t laugh at self)
* A fairly high IQ (good grades in school or disparity in achievement)
* Uses neologisms (makes up strange new words, abbreviations, or
* Fascination with fire (or death, or purified ways to destroy something)
* Cruelty to animals (or doesn’t like animals)
* Lack of probity, courtesy, or doesn’t tolerate society’s “niceties” or obligations
* Moody, obsessive-compulsive, suffers from one or more phobias
* Does not tend to learn from mistakes unless immediate punishment given
* Lack of formal-operational thinking (tends to think in concrete, black-or-white
* Identity conflict (often with delayed adolescence, hasn’t grown up
in certain ways)
* Preconventional morality (thinks things are wrong only because it might lead to punishment or it’s not in his/her best interests right now, failure to understand disparities between own behavior and socially acceptable behavior, often in trouble with law)

Criminologists say that the following components can easily make a psychopath:

  1. —Loss of a parent.
  2. —A neglected childhood with emotionally absent parents.
  3. Confusion in discipline (punishment from one parent and leniency from another creates the will to manipulate).
  4. —A picture-perfect family laden with secret issues such as abuse behind closed doors.
  5. And the following components are typical of a psychopath:
  6. —Significantly less fear and anxiety than others.
  7. Inability to adopt new behaviors or change old ones, even before the threat of injury.
  8. —Seeking out dangerous or thrilling situations and activities (i.e. arson, chasing ambulances).
  9. Criminology still believes that the psychopath cannot be treated or helped.

The name for this phenomenon — when people slack off from using their best
common sense.  Self-handicapping is not limited to pathological people. It is the belief that you’re so truly smart, you don’t need to exert any effort to prove it.  Such a person cares deeply about looking smart, but in order to avoid the appearance of being dumb, they decide to slack off and not try at all.  Hence, if anyone judges the performance afterwards, s/he can always say “I wasn’t even trying” and if s/he do manages to succeed at something without really trying, s/he can say “Look how good I did without really trying.” 

THE WORD “PSYCHOPATH is from the Greek for “suffering soul,” which shows just how fearful and “other” the condition is.
The brain is an incredibly complex organ. Parts depend on other parts to function; areas are entwined and re-entwined. But research has come to focus on the amygdala, a small almond-shaped area that governs emotions, especially anxiety, fear, empathy and remorse. The amygdalas of psychopaths show an 18 percent volume reduction from those of the rest of us.  There are other differences in the brains of psychopaths—­lots of them. They have less gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, which regulates impulse control and decision-making. Men show a reduction in volume there, “And the lower the volume of that matter, the more antisocial and psychopathic a person is.” Men are also 10 times more likely to commit murder.They’re more likely to have a developmental brain defect, cavum septum pellucidum. When comparing the brains of non-psychopaths and psychopaths,a sociologist stated that “some people are dealt a bad hand; some are born with a flush.”

The difference between a psychopath and a run-of-the-mill criminal is one of scale. Psychopaths commit lots of crimes. They don’t grow out of it; they simply
get better at it. While the incidence of psychopathy in the general population is close to one percent, it’s 15 to 35 percent in U.S. prison inmates. It’s estimated that psychopaths commit as much as 65 percent of all crime—a tiny minority among us creating massive waves of chaos and dread.

Individuals’ language is one of the best ways to glean insight into their thoughts and general outlook. It is possible to examine more closely the language of various clinical populations through automatic linguistic analysis programs. These applications differentiate between several individual and personality factors.The tools range from simple to sophisticated, but all essentially identify linguistic patterns and count their frequency relative to a control language. Narcissists use language related to the self more than nonnarcissistic people because of their concern with themselves. To analyze this, a program would count the number of times the words “I,” “me,” or “my” occurred in a person’s speech and compare that to the general population.

Psychopaths have trouble monitoring their own speech, often putting ideas together in strange ways, such as this interview with Canadian serial killer Clifford Olson:

Olson:And then I had annual sex with her.”
Interviewer:“Once a year?”
Olson:“No. Annual. From behind.” 
Interviewer: “Oh. But she was dead!” 
Olson: “No, no. She was just unconscientious.” About his many experiences, Olson said,“I’ve got enough antidotes to fill five or six books – enough for a trilogy.”  and ” I won’t be an “escape goat” no matter what the “migrating facts.”

A psychopath interviewed by an author recounted a vicious murder he committed in a mundane mannerthat revealed delusional thinking: “We got, uh, we got high, and had a few beers. I like whiskey, so I bought some whiskey, we had some of that, and then we, uh, went for a swim, and then we made love in my car, then we left to go get some more, some more booze and some more drugs.” A study explained how this narrative might reveal important information regarding the mindset of a psychopath. Research on speech acoustics indicated that psychopaths do not differentiate in voice emphasis between neutral and emotional words. Other analysis suggested that the speech narratives of these individuals are organized poorly and incoherent. This is surprising because psychopaths are excellent storytellers who successfully con others. While word patterns easily are measured by computer programs, they are difficult for human coders to determine because people tend to ignore function words and focus on content words, such as “kill” and “knife”.

Two automated text analysis tools, Wmatrix and the Dictionary of Affect and Language, were used by researchers to examine the crime narratives of a group of psychopathic and nonpsychopathic murderers. Psychopaths provided more information about basic needs, such as food, drink, and money. For example, in the earlier narrative, the offender talked about eating, drinking, and taking drugs the day he committed the murder. The use of the past tense indicate psychological detachment; psychopaths used it more than the present tense. They also found more dysfluencies — the “uhs” and “ums” that interrupt speech. Dysfluencies indicate the speaker needs to think about what she is saying so as not to err in her fabricated recounting of a situation.

From an interview with serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley:

Interviewer: “You make it out that you’re the victim of a serial killer, but if you look at the record you’re a serial killer.”
Henley: “I’m not.”
I: “You’re not a serial killer?”
H: “I’m not a serial killer.”
I: You’re saying you’re not a serial killer now, but you’ve serially killed.”
H: “Well, yeah, that’s semantics.”

Psychopathy is associated with abnormalities in semantic and affective processing; they suffer from a form of “semantic aphasia” in which the semantic and emotional components of cognition are disturbed and poorly integrated. Lexical decision studies with psychopaths revealed they were more accurate than non-pathological criminals to emotional than neutral words, but failed to show any consistent reaction time between the word types.

Another focus of the language of pychopaths is that of verbal irony and deception. The psychopaths who were interviewed tended to use a lot of causal  phrases like “so” and “because”. The researchers interpreted this to  mean that they were explaining their crimes away as a “logical outcome of a plan” in order to achieve a goal.’” In contrast, other convicted criminals who are not psychopaths use more language  around religion  and guilt when describing their crimes. Police departments and investigators are now using craigslist and facebook posts to determine psychological profiles of  suspects or potential criminals through criminal postings.

Body Language and Psychopaths
An interview with Ian Huntley is very telling: his hands are clasped tightly behind his back and hidden from view as if he is hiding something, yet he claims that the two dead girls whose bodies were recently found near his house had been cheerful and passed by his residence without incident. He is able to look straight at the interviewer and keep a neutral facial expression. His voice is even and neutral.

Dennis Nilsen, Britain’s most prolific serial killer, gives an interview to Central Television. Up until 3:18 in the video, his body language is relaxed and very still. His hands are clasped and in front of him, showing he has nothing to hide. At 4:03, Nilsen begins to gesture with his right arm at himself.  At the time he is talking strictly about himself, using sentences such asThe making myself look dead was nothing to do with death itself. It was making myself look as different from me as was possible to imagine so I could really be convincing as being somebody else.”  Notice the prevalence of “myself”, “me”, “I”, a pattern of speech as stated above where psychopaths continually relate to themselves and no one else. At 5:09, Nilsen folds his hands in front of himself and states, “the most exciting part of the little conundrum was when I lifted the body, carried it as an expression of my power to life and carry and control.”  Nilsen reveals the psychopath’s speech pattern of using neutral words (little conundrum) to describe what for the non-psychopath would be highly emotional, repulsive event; his ritual with a corpse after a violent murder. His emotional affect is that of cool detachment and he expresses no guilt about the crime.

Not surprisingly, anti-social personality disorder is high among the prison population across the country, However, not all APDs are psychopaths, but all psychopaths are usually APDs.  Psychopathy measurements include more indirect personality characteristics. The diagnosis of APD covers two to three times as many prisoners as are rated as psychopaths. Most offenders scoring high on the PCL-R also pass the ASPD criteria but most of those with ASPD do not score high on the PCL-R. Sociopathy is distinct from ASPD as well as psychopathy. The difference between sociopathy and psychopathy may “reflect the user’s views on the origins and determinates of the disorder. Childhood hyperactivity and conduct disorder showedequally strong prediction of (ASPD) ad criminality in early and mid-adult life. Lower IQ and reading problems were most prominent in their relationships with childhood and adolescent antisocial behaviour.Antisocial personality disorder is seen in 3% to 30% of psychiatric outpatients. A 2002 literature review of studies on mental disorders in prisoners stated that 47% of male prisoners and 21% of female prisoners had antisocial personality disorder.  This disorder tends to occur in about 1% of women and 3% of men in the general population.

Cluster B
personality in the DSM-TR-IV disorders are those that include symptoms of dramatic or erratic behaviors (counter-social behaviors). These personality disorders include APD. APD is specifically a pervasive pattern of disregarding and violating the rights of others. This pattern must include at least three of the following specific signs and symptoms:

  • Lack of conforming to laws, as evidenced by repeatedly committing crimes
  • Repeated deceitfulness in relationships with others, such as telling lies, using false names, or conning others for profit or pleasure
  • Failure to think or plan ahead (impulsivity)
  • Tendency to irritability, anger, and aggressiveness, as shown by repeatedly assaulting others or getting into frequent physical fights
  • Disregard for personal safety or the safety of other
  • Persistent lack of taking responsibility, such as failing to establish a pattern of good work habits or keeping financial obligations
  • A lack of feeling guilty about wrong-doing
  • not diagnosed in children, but the affected person must have shown symptoms at least since 15 years of age (as with psychopathy and sociopathy).

All serial killers have ASPD. The DSM lists ASPD as a Type II axis personality disorder, which includes symptoms as a disregard for and a violation of the rights of others. Symptoms begin in early childhood or adolescence, and continues on throughout the person’s life. ASPD is genetically based but can be triggered by environmental factors, including family issues and traumatic events. These events can lead to a disruption of the development of the nervous system by causing a release of neurotransmitters. One neurotransmitter associated with ASPD is serotonin. Serotonin levels had been found to be low in those with ASPD. The low serotonin may be associated with aggression and impulsiveness, two major symptoms of ASPD. However, there is much not known about the hormonal influences underlying ASPD.

SERIAL KILLERS AND PSYCHOPATHY – An interview with serial killer Peter Woodcock:  (can’t help but notice his first name and surname are slang for “penis”)…
WOODCOCK: I just wanted to know what it would feel like to kill
REPORTER: But you’d already killed three people.
but that was years and years and years and years ago.

Woodcock was born to a 17-year-old Peterborough factory worker who gave him up for adoption. He spent the first three years of his life in various foster homes; he was physically abused in at least one of those homes. He was adopted by a wealthy family who paid for a private school education and therapy for Woodcock. When he reached puberty, he began fantasizing about becoming a gang leader and, in reality, sexually assaulting children in Parkdale and Cabbagetown. Woodcock brutally murdered three young children in 1956 and 1957. He was judged not guilty by reason of insanity and incarcerated in Oak Ridge, an Ontario psychiatric facility. Woodcock fell in love with fellow psychiatric patient Dennis Kerr, who rejected his sexual advances. Woodcock stabbed Kerr to death.

Edmund Kemper –  The Co-Ed Killer and necrophile, is most likely a study in sociopathy. His early childhood and youth were traumatic.  He had a horrible relationship with his mother Clarnell, a violent alcoholic who constantly belittled and humiliated him. Clarnell often made her son sleep in a locked basement, because she feared that he would rape his younger sister. Kemper went to live with his grandparents who confirmed daily that he was unwanted.  15-year-old Kemper killed both of his grandparents with a gun. Kemper served   years in juvenile prison, then was released after   . Eventually Kemper returned home and stabbed his mother to death, then strangled the corpse. He sexually mutilated her body after death.

SOCIOPATH refers to a pathology of the mind that is highly influenced by the environment, rather than brain malformations or injuries. Sociopathy is also distinct from ASPD as well as psychopathy. Frequently when investigating a sociopath, it is discovered that they always have a little cult group following of spellbound worshippers who consider that particular  sociopath to be a “guru” or “prophet.” Legendary sociopaths who convinced everyday people to participate in mass suicides including Jim Jones (Jonestown Massacre), David Koresh (Davidians), Marshall Applewhite (Heaven’s Gate)., and David BergChildren of God. The Jonestown Massacre however is not considered to be truly a mass suicide since many of Jones’ followers tried to escape their imminent deaths.  Sociopathy is not one trait. It is a syndrome comprised of a cluster of traits Sociopaths are delusional at so many levels that their brains defy logical reasoning. You cannot reason with a sociopath. Attempting to do so only wastes your  time and annoys the sociopath. A survivor of the Jim Jones “Jonestown” mass suicide says in a PBS  documentary video, “Everything was plausible [at the time],  except in retrospect the whole thing seems bizarre.”

Sociopaths, like psychopaths, are not always murderersand do not always commit violent crime. Most sociopaths go undetected; they seek to blend in by imitating emotions. Because they go undetected, they wreak havoc on their family, on people they work with, and on anyone who tries to be their friend. A person can be very sociopathic or only slightly, and anywhere in between. It’s a continuum..

BIOSOCIAL PATHOLOGY is an interdisciplinary field that aims to explain crime and antisocial behavior by exploring both biological factors and environmental factors. While contemporary criminology has been dominated by sociological theories, biosocial criminology also recognizes the potential contributions of fields such as genetics, neuropsychology, and evolutionary psychology.Environment has a significant effect on genetic expression. Disadvantaged environments enhance antisocial gene expression, suppress prosocial gene action and prevent the realization of genetic potential.One approach to studying the role of genetics for crime is to calculate the heritability coefficient, which describes the proportion of the variance that is due to actualized genetic effects for some trait in a given population in a specific environment at a specific time Another approach is to examine the relationship between neurophysiology and criminality. One example is that measured levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamin have been associated with criminal behavior. Another is that neuroimaging studies give strong evidence for that both rain structure and function are involved in criminal behaviors

We try to explain that’s because we socialize differently—­we give girls dolls and we give boys sticks. That’s not entirely wrong, but it’s in addition to the biological differences.” Toward the end of the 20th century, the social sciences began to lose explanatory power while the biological sciences gained it.” We became less interested in punishing criminals and more obsessed with preventing crimes. “For decades, we’ve put the focus on just the social component when it comes to crime—deprivation, ghetto life, discrimination,” he says. “We’ve systematically ignored a basic part of the equation. The work I’ve done shows there are biological causes.”

Many studies in the last 20 years have shown that murderers and ultraviolent criminals show startling evidence of brain disease.In one study involving prison inmates, confessed or sentenced murderers had specific neurological diagnoses. Some of the inmates had more than one disorders and no subject was normal in all spheres. Among the diagnoses were:

  • schizophrenia
  • depression
  • epilepsy
  • alcoholism
  • alcoholic dementia
  • mental retardation
  • cerebral palsy
  • brain injury
  • dissociative disorders and others

Psychopathy/Sociopathy and Prison Inmates
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced something which had previously been unusual to the criminal justice system in Britain – the indeterminate prison sentence. Individuals who receives an indeterminate prison sentence in effect receive two prison sentences. The first is the punitive sentence – in other words, the punishment for committing whatever crime or crimes that brought them before the court in the first place. This is called ‘the tariff’. The second takes the form of confinement to keep perpetrators away from the public in case they commit further crimes after release. This is a form of public protection.

You want to think that people can change, can be rehabilitated. So far there is no research or evidence to confirm that psycho/sociopaths can be rehabiliated. David Michael Krueger (above) (March 5, 1939 – March 5, 2010), best known by his birth name, Peter Woodcock, was a Canadian serial killer and child rapist. He was subsequently diagnosed as a psychopath and placed in a psychiatric facility. Expensive treatment programs for Woodcock proved ineffective when he murdered a fellow psychiatric patient in 1991; after his death in 2010, he was dubbed by the Toronto Star as “The serial killer they couldn’t cure”.

Since the psycho/sociopath is free of internal restraints, the possibility of rehab depends largely on what the psychopath’s desire encompass; people are not all the same.Some people favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are clearly not. A seminal hypothesis concerning the psychopath is that she suffers from a very real mental illness: a profound and incurable affective deficit. Scientists have hypothesized that psychopaths have a deficiency in their reactions to fear-evoking stimuli, and this is the cause of their inability to learn from experience.

One of the unique things about the psychopath is their inability to conceive of the abstract idea of “the future. A person with a conviction is a hard perspn to change. T
here is futility in trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in her belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks. Some convictions are so extreme as to be delusional. For instance, women who rigidly adhere to the traditional role of the female with a strong sense of duty to be a “good wife.” She believes if she tries harder or waits it out, her husband will reform. When he ignores her, abuses her, cheats on her, or uses her, she can decide to “try harder, put more energy into the relationship, and take better care of him.” She believes that if she does this, eventually he will notice and will see how valuable she is, and then he will fall on his knees in gratitude and treat her like a queen. Dream on.

Most therapy programs only provide them with new excuses for their behavior as well as new insights into the vulnerabilities of others. Through psychotherapy, they learn new and better ways of manipulating. What they do NOT do is make any effort to change their own views and attitudes.One particular psychopath was in a group therapy program in a prison. The prison psychiatrist had written in his record: “He has made good progress… He appears more concerned about others and to have lost much of his criminal thinking.”Two years later, once again imprisoned for killing a man, the psychopath, assessed by his prison psychiatrist as having made such remarkable improvement, was described by a correctional office as”the most terrifying offender she had ever met” and that he boasted about how he had conned the prison staff into thinking that he was well on the road to rehabilitation. “I can’t believe those guys,” he said. “Who gave them a license to practice? I wouldn’t let them psychoanalyze my dog! He’d shit all over them just like I did.”

Can psychopaths be rehabilitated?  Consider the grainy black and white tones, of a photograph that shows 13-year-old Paul Martin Andrews sitting in a makeshift box, his leg chained. The look in his eyes is one of fear, fatigue and disbelief. He had just been rescued by police from a nightmare.”I was abducted by a sexually violent predator by the name of Richard Ausley, who had been twice convicted for sexually assaulting young boys, and he had taken me for eight days,” Andrews recalled of his ordeal 37 years ago. “I was left to die.”

Ausley was twice convicted and jailed. He was twice freed from prison, only to go on and abduct Andrews and viciously brutalize the boy for 8 days. Had it not been for four rabbit hunters who happened upon the box where Ausley imprisoned the boy, Andrews would have died of starvation and dehydration. Incredibly, the victim was punished for the offender’s crime after he was rescued:

My parents felt I was broken, and they needed to fix me. Unfortunately for me, that was also the prevailing opinion of the police and members of the medical community. I had done nothing to precipitate their opinion, but the police convinced my parents I might become a threat to other children and act out on them sexually. Everyone recommended they at least put me into psychotherapy, and many recommended that I be placed in an institution. What had I done? Why was I being punished?

Andrews recounts his experience in the youth institution:

I was sent to a locked psychiatric ward with drug addicts, runaways, and suicidals. I went for one test where the tester showed me a series of pictures, and I was to make up a story about them. The test bothered me because the pictures seemed to have some bearing on my ordeal. The tester assured me they were random pictures, and I had a hard time believing it.

In January 2004, Ausley was murdered in his prison cell. Andrews later said that he did not hate Ausley,and didn’t wish for his death (n.b. the previous link leads to an article about Martins written 30 years after his ordeal. Strangely, the videos that are included with the article have nothing to do with Martin Andrews….you figure it out, woul ya?) He devoted himself to advocating for  civil committment,which allows the government to keep sex offenders in jailafter their sentence is over, so there is no risk of them committing a sexual crime again.

In a tragic irony, Andrews has been dubbed The Boy in the Box, the same label given to a sexually and physically abused boy whose body was found on February 25, 1957, in a J C Penney box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He is also known as American’s Unknown Child since he has never been identified. The child’s killer was never found.

Psychopaths are not “fragile” individuals.What they think and do is produced from a “rock solid personality structure that is extremely resistant to outside influences.” Many of them are protected for years from the consequences of their behavior by well-meaning family and friends. As long as their behavior remains unchecked or unpunished, they go through life without inconvenience. Clinical research demonstrates that psychopathy does not spring unannounced into existence in adulthood. The symptoms reveal themselves in early life. It seems to be true that parents of psychopaths KNOW something is dreadfully wrong even before the child starts school. Such children are stubbornly immune to socializing pressures. They are “different” from other children in inexplicable ways. They are more “difficult,” or “willful’. They are unable to make friend and are often bullies.  Some people are just lost.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Psychopath, Sociopath or Biosocial Pathology?

  1. Baldwin says:

    Gemetrics provides an interesting test for the analysis of personality for 60 $CAN.
    You just have to lick a sheet of paper out of your printer and send them to get the result … and T-shirt matching with your personality.
    Very useful tools also for a psy or a criminologist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s