In detail

The brain of a psychopath is different

The brain of a psychopath is different

Apparently, the brain of a psychopath is different from that of other mortals

Recently a study has shown that the brain structure of a psychopath is significantly different from others. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, researchers have discovered that there are variations after studying the images of prisoners' brains.

The results could help explain the cruel and impulsive antisocial behavior exhibited by some psychopaths.

The study showed that psychopaths have reduced connections between the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for feelings like empathy and the fault and the amygdala, which is responsible for recognizing fear and anxiety.

Structural changes in the brain were confirmed using two different types of brain images.

Diffusion Tensioner (DTI) images demonstrated a reduction in structural integrity in the white matter fibers that connect the two areas, while a second type of image that maps brain activity, specifically a functional magnetic resonance image, which showed less coordinated activity between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.

"This is the first study that shows the structural and functional differences in the brains of people diagnosed with psychopathy."says Michael Koenigs, a researcher in charge of the study and published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

These two structures in the brain, which are the main regulators of emotions and social behavior, They don't seem to be communicating as they should.

The researchers compared the brains of 20 prisoners with a diagnosis of psychopathy, with the brains of another 20 prisoners who committed similar crimes, but were not diagnosed with psychopathy.

"The combination of structural and functional anomalies provides convincing evidence that the dysfunction observed in this crucial socio-emotional circuit is a stable characteristic of psychopathic criminals.", the researchers continue.

According to them, this work will shed more light on the source of this dysfunction and the strategies for treating the problem.

This reinforces the evidence that problems in that part of the brain are directly related to that disorder.

"A decision-making study indirectly showed what this study directly shows: that there is a specific brain abnormality associated with the criminal psychopathy"adds Koenigs.

Robert Hare's Psychopathy Test


Blair, R. J. R. (2003). Neurobiological basis of psychopathy. The British JournalofPsychiatry, 182 (1), 5-7.

Cooke, D. J., Michie, C., Hart, S. D., & Clark, D. A. (2004). Reconstructing psychopathy: Clarifying the significance of antisocial and socially deviant behavior in the diagnosis of psychopathic personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders, 18, 337-357.

Cooke, D. J., Michie, C., & Skeem, J. (2007). Understanding the structure of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised: An exploration of methodological confusion. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 39-50.