Can Brain Scans Really Show Specific Abnormalities in Psychopaths?

It has been stated in the medical and psychological arenas that psychopaths are typically considered as untreatable.  The immense challenges of treating these types of individuals are next to impossible based on their ability to manipulate and con their way through therapy.

From psychiatrists to the members of a jury, all seem to agree that these types of individuals are dangerous, manipulative, and untreatable.  That was what the typical thought and outcome in recent years.  It has been surprising that little is know about how to treat or even rehabilitate a psychopath.   

For the past fifteen years, psychiatrists have relied on the Hare psychopathy checklist to diagnose this condition.  This checklist consists of a formal interview and analysis of the individual’s behavior, which is then scored for specific personality indicators.  Unfortunately, this type of scoring system leaves an opening for subjective scoring due to clever, manipulative individuals who can learn how to pass them. 

It has been discovered that brain scans of children with psychopathy-like conditions, such as conduct disorder, suggests objective ways to actually diagnose psychopathy, possible ways of therapy, and new techniques for answering the question of whether or not psychopaths can be successfully treated.  The callous and unemotional traits are considered symptoms of psychopathy in children, and some though not all, go on to be diagnosed with psychopathy in adulthood.  These children have already engaged in similar lifestyles as adults, but their brains have had less time to pick up signatures associated with this type of brain damage.  For scientists, pinpointing the brain behavior (abnormal connections between regions of the brain) relating directly to psychopathy may be easier with adolescents.       

“Identifying psychopaths through brain scans is certainly no easy task”, states Marcus Raische from Washington University in St. Luis, Missouri.  He suggests that it’s even more difficult because these types of individuals are likely to show signs of drug and alcohol abuses and violence-related head injuries. 

Certainly this procedure and study is still in the beginning stages, but perhaps in the near future scientists and psychologist will be better prepared to predict psychopathic or criminal behavior.  I’ve written about in previous articles that we need to take a more direct look at our youth especially with the more and more violent crimes they are committing.  I feel the answer of psychopathy lies within our youth.

Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author & Criminologist

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
This entry was posted in Criminology, Forensic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Can Brain Scans Really Show Specific Abnormalities in Psychopaths?

  1. the bookworm says:

    Hi, Jennifer. I like the new blog. Fascinating post!


  2. Pingback: Exploring the Missing Link in Psychopaths | Author Jennifer Chase

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