Are there differences between the mindset of a murderer and a seemingly normal person? Although the obvious answer is yes, so far no evidence had been made as clear as those obtained in the latter study at KingCollege in the UK. The study indicates that psychopaths have a very different brain structure to the rest of us.
To this end the researchers scanned the brains of men convicted for murder, rape and violence even finding differences that separated them from other violent criminals to those with antisocial personality disorder.
The study was led by Nigel Blackwood, who said that the possibility of using brain scans to identify and diagnose these violent subgroups have big implications for future treatment.
The researchers used MRI to scan the brains of 44 men, all violent offenders who had been previously diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders with that of 22 "normal" people.
Of the 44 men, 17 were eventually diagnosed with psychopathy. According to the researchers:
The results showed that the brains of psychopaths had significantly less gray matter in brain areas of the offenders and non-psychopathic criminals. These brain areas are important to understand other people's emotions and intentions, and are activated when people think about moral conduct.
One of the keys found shows as psychopaths, who are characterized by a lack of empathy, had less gray matter in brain areas important for the understanding of emotions. The consequence is that the Blackwood as the cognitive and behavioral therapies can benefit people with antisocial personality disorder, the same approach may not work for psychopaths.
From here we have a clear idea of the treatments that work and programs to follow.
Essi Viding, professor of psychology at University CollegeLondon, said after the publication of the study:
This provides further evidence of weight on the importance of distinguishing between psychopaths and non psychopaths instead of grouping them.
Not only that, it is said the researchers, the findings have implications for the justice system itself, because now psychopathy may be linked in the brain as an argument in a defense of insanity.