While psychopathy is generally associated with antisocial behaviors, many with the personality trait develop successful careers. A new study supports a novel model of psychopathy which runs contradictory to existing models of the disorder, focusing on the strengths associated with psychopathy, rather than just the deficits. Researchers found higher initial psychopathy was associated with a steeper increase of general inhibitory control and the inhibition of aggression over time. The effect was magnified among those who were "successful."
Rats show altruistic behavior and avoid harming other rats. Researchers report harm aversion is deeply engrained in our biology. The findings pave the way to increasing harm aversion in those with empathy disorders, such as psychopathy and sociopathy.
Those with dark personality traits such as psychopathy, sadism, low affective empathy, narcissism, cold-heartedness, and meanness, are more likely to sexually objectify those of the opposite sex.
Reducing activity in the anterior cingulate decreases empathetic responses in rats. The data suggests an observer shares the emotions of others as it enables them to prepare for danger.
Grandiose narcissists are more likely to be "mentally tough", experience less stress, and are less prone to depression.
Neuroimaging reveals 'successful' psychopaths (those who can control their antisocial tendencies) have greater levels of gray matter density between the left and right ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is implicated in self-regulatory processes, including reactive emotions.
Psychopathy is associated with altered expression of genes and immune responses related to molecular pathways. In neurons, the up-regulation of PRL10P9 and ZNF132 and down-regulation of CDG5 and OPRD1 were linked to psychopathic behaviors. The genetic expression explained up to 92% of the variance of psychopathic symptoms. Researchers speculated these genes may be relevant to the lack of empathy and emotional callousness associated with psychopathy, as previous studies have linked a number of these genes to ASD and problematic social behaviors.
Researchers have identified a common denominator for 'dark' personality traits they have dubbed the D-factor. D-factor, researchers report, can be defined as the general tendency to maximize personal goals and interests over those of another, often to the extent of taking pleasure in hurting others.
Researchers have identified some of the key neurobiological mechanisms that help keep aggression under control. The findings could help develop targeted treatments to help those with aggressive problems associated with psychological disorders.