Scientists have found that the more psychopathic traits people have the less likely they are to yawn.
Generally speaking yawning is contagious; someone yawns and before you know it everyone is at it.
This latest study, published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, tested 135 students on measures of machiavellianism, coldheartedness, and rebellious non-conformity.
They were then shown a video in which people exhibited a variety of expressions including yawning. The researchers then measured how often the students yawned. Those who scored highest on the coldheartedness scale were less likely to yawn.
The study was partly to validate the idea that yawning was about empathy, as suggested by previous research on showing empathy to others.
After generally receiving a bad press, including in the management literature, psychopaths may be gaining respectability . Well-known psychopath Andy McNab, ex SAS man turned author, is promoting the values of being a good i.e. normal or socialised, sociopath in a series of books and workbooks with psychologist Kevin Dutton.
Not sure people like Fred the Shred and Bob Diamond need such advice!
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.
- 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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Brain scans can identify psychopaths even in childhood because they have no empathy when seeing people in pain
Children who were aggressive or cruel had reduced brain activity in response to images of others in pain
Brain scans can be used to identify children who may be potential psychopaths, new research has shown.
Scientists have found that certain areas of a psychopath’s brain showed a reduced activity in response to images of others in pain.
The regions affected are those known to play a role in empathy, the ability to relate to other people’s feelings.
Scientists say the patterns could act as a marker to single out children at a risk of becoming adult psychopaths.
A total of 55 boys aged 10 to 16 were assessed in the study.
Of these, 37 met the criteria for children with ‘conduct problems’ (CP) according to questionnaire answers provided by parents and teachers.
CP children display a plethora of antisocial traits including aggression and dishonesty.
Like the central character in Lionel Shriver’s novel…
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