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Psychopathy and Externalized Disorders Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 21st, 2019

The prevalence of psychopathy is at 1% in society today while in other populations such as prisoners and those in mental institutions the prevalence is higher. Psychopathy is a mental condition characterized by an inability to be emotional or to develop emotional relationships.

It is usually characterized by acting on impulse, not feeling guilty, tendency to manipulate others, lack of emotions and frequent disregard of social norms. Knowledge on the prevalence and the characteristics of psychopathy is important in identifying cases of psychopathy and explaining relationships between psychopathy and social disorders such as crime.

The amygdala part of the brain is responsible for various functions such as recognition of fear and other facial expressions that portray sadness. It is also associated with some types of learning and conditioning that relate to punishment. Studies have shown that individuals with reduced volumes of the amygdala also have higher levels of the disorder (Blair, 2003).

One of the deficits associated with this condition is recognition of fear and other emotions. People who have been diagnosed with psychopathy do not easily recognize fear on other people’s faces. This has been attributed to lack of attention, especially since they do not pay attention to the eyes (Dadds, 2006).

Another deficit associated with this condition is a learning deficit, especially learning through punishment. Thus, when one does something that is against social norms and they are punished for the mistake, it is expected that they avoid the behavior. People with psychopathy have a deficit with instrumental learning and often commit the same mistake (Borries, 2010).

The third deficit associated with psychopathy is cognitive control. The patients are not able to vary their behavior depending on the situation as most of the time, their behaviors and their choices are rigid. Other studies also relate the biology of psychopathy to the frontal cortex impairment, but the target population for the study is thought to have influenced the study as those involved were people with violent behaviors and not just psychopathy.

Studying of the deficits and the biology of the condition is important in coming up with more distinctive features of diagnosing the condition and being able to differentiate this disorder from other disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The condition is associated with externalizing behaviors which result from mental conditions and are portrayed on the outside. Some of the externalizing problems that have been associated with the disorder are recidivism of crime, difficulty establishing emotional relationships, impulsive and antisocial behavior while children may be temperamental.

Psychopathic individuals display this on the outside and they may be constantly involved in crimes and also lead a lonely lifestyle as they cannot be involved in emotional relationships. The study of externalizing behavior is important in explaining factors that occur in society. It is also necessary as it will aid in coming up with the best way of handling criminals with psychopathy as punishments such as imprisonment may not be the best way to handle them as the behavior may just recur.

The current study aims at establishing the role of punishment in correcting behavior among psychopathic children and also aims to see if punishment is the ideal way to correct their behavior. It is also expected that psychopathy will be related to both the male and female gender and also among all the races even though there are differences in the extent to which a particular race is affected in relation to the other.

The IV and DV are methods of simple regression used in statistical analysis. The IV value is used to determine the value of the DV. The two correlate and thus through one, we can find the information contained in the other. This study is to contribute to the understanding of the effects of psychopathy and thus provide a way in which individuals can refer to this disorder through the documented material, hence its relevance to literature.


Blair, R. J. (2003). Neurobiological Basis of Psychopathy. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 182 (1), 5-7.

Borries, A. (2010). Neural correlates of error-related learning deficits in Individuals with psychopathy. Psychological Medicine 40 (1), 1559-1568.

Dadds, R. D. (2006). . The British Journal of Psychiatry, 189(2) 290-281. Web.

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