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Psychopath brains different to other criminals

Psychopath brains different to other criminals
23rd November 2011

Imaging has revealed significant differences in the brains of psychopaths and the brains of other criminals.

The study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that psychopaths have reduced connections between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex - the part of the brain responsible for empathy and guilt.

Differences were also found in the amygdale, which controls fear and anxiety.

Professor Michael Koenigs, author of the study, stated: "Those two structures in the brain, which are believed to regulate emotion and social behaviour, seem to not be communicating as they should [in psychopaths]."

Researchers believe that the discovery may explain the anti-social behaviour exhibited by some psychopaths and may illuminate new treatment pathway options.

A study at Vanderbilt University also discovered that psychopath's brains were wired to seek reward at any cost.

Scientists speculated that a hyper-reactive dopamine reward system may be one of the contributing factors to psychopathic behaviour, such as violent crime, recidivism and substance abuse.

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