Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch

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Neurons

Mirror neurons in the brain fire both when you watch someone in pain and when you experience it yourself
Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research.

Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain.

Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up.

Scientists,reporting in Brain, say their research explains how psychopaths can be both callous and charming.

The team proposes that with the right training, it could be possible to help psychopaths activate their “empathy switch”, which could bring them a step closer to rehabilitation.

a participant being slapped on the hand to localize brain regions sensitive to pain

The study

  • Placed in an fMRI scanner, 18 criminals with psychopathy and 26 control subjects were asked to watch a series of clips without a particular…

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2 thoughts on “Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch

    Do psychopaths yawn? « Biz Psycho said:
    August 18, 2015 at 8:42 am

    […] Psychopaths may have social skills but empathy is something they have to work at. […]

    […] more recent research shows that psychopaths do have an “empathy switch” but choose not to use it leading some scientists to believe it could help their […]

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