177. Criminal Profiling: Exploring The Mind of Killers & Psychopaths

05 takeaways from this talk:

00:00:13 Neuro-scientist and professor at the University of California, Jim Fallon has spent the last 35 years studying human behavior, until one of his colleagues asked him to analyze the brains of roughly 70 known psychopathic killers.

00:01:00 Several patterns emerged:

  1. Damage to the person’s orbital cortex located right above the eyes which is responsible for cognitive processing and decision-making,

or elsewhere in the brain.

  • The Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene “has been associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders and antisocial behavior.” This gene is common among the general population, however as it is only passed on through the X chromosome, it tends to be more prevalent in males. The problem is that when there is the MAOA accompanied with too much serotonin in the brain, rather than being calm and docile, the serotonin overdoses the brain to the point it no longer responds to serotonin; essentially deadening the person’s capacity to feel emotion and increasing propsensity toward violence.
  • Before puberty the young child may likely have been involved in, or witnessed, an extremely grotesque violent event.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In his lecture 14 Theories of Causes & Deterrance of Criminality at Gresham College, Glenn Wilson argues that many risk factors have been identified for delinquency and crime:

Glenn Wilson at Gresham College on Criminality and Serial Killers

But correlation does not simply imply causation. Parental separation, conflict and maltreatment may be causes of delinquency and crime, but this could equally reflect a genetic transmission of antisocial traits – manifested in feckless or violent behavior.

Also, Hans Eysenck theorised that criminology was associated with poor fear conditioning as a child, which lead to a weak conscience.]

00:03:54 Theoretically, in areas of the world where there is prolonged war and elevated levels of violence, this is creating a dangerous cocktail of generations of boys who grow to become violent-prone men. Women, seeking protection, find the strongest man available to marry and have children with, which may actually concentrate those MAOA genes.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In his lecture Intersexual Competition & Male/Female Hierarchies at Stanford University, Robert Sapolsky discusses the controversial notion of group selection which has creeped back into biology is when one small group of a species becomes somehow isolated from one another, and continue on mating and reproducing independently. Eventually, the smaller isolated group becomes more inbred simply because there is a smaller, less diverse gene pool, thus making family ties among the group more intricate.]

Jim Fallon on psychopathic killers for Ted Talk

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