The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain

The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain

Psychopaths continue to be demonised by the media and estimates suggest that a disturbing percentage of the population has psychopathic tendencies. This timely and controversial new book summarises what we already know about psychopathy and antisocial behavior and puts forward a new case for its cause - with far-reaching implications. Presents the scientific facts of psych...

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Title:The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
Author:James Blair
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain Reviews

  • Alissa Thorne

    This book was flat out awesome.

    Ok, so... it's awesome for the sort of person who is oddly fascinated by cognition, neurology, and psychopathy, with a pretty substantial understanding of the latter. Probably dense, dry, and incomprehensible for anyone else.

    But _I_ loved it.

    I've been studying antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy for the past five years or so. Having gotten past what wikipedia could teach me, I started exploring books on the topic. I

    This book was flat out awesome.

    Ok, so... it's awesome for the sort of person who is oddly fascinated by cognition, neurology, and psychopathy, with a pretty substantial understanding of the latter. Probably dense, dry, and incomprehensible for anyone else.

    But _I_ loved it.

    I've been studying antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy for the past five years or so. Having gotten past what wikipedia could teach me, I started exploring books on the topic. I have been disappointed by the sensationalist tone and lack of substantive content in the books I've read until now.

    This book gives a comprehensive overview of what is know about psychopaths, and how that differs from the DSM IV classifications of CD (combative disorder) and ASPD (antisocial personality disorder). Some of the fun treats in this book include: studies on attention, anxiety, cognition, the ability to make reward-punishment associations, response to emotional stimulus, the startle reflex, and indications in brain scan images for many of these studies.

    Plus the book frequently uses phrases like, "Given this, the prediction would be that ... The data supports this prediction." Or "In the following chapter, I will briefly summarize the data." Section titles include titillating titles like, "The response set modulation hypothesis." Oh yeah, talk dirty to me.

  • Remington Graves

    The psychopath is better than no path.

  • Marilyn Michel

    This is an excellent analysis of physical factors in the brain which tend to produce psychopaths. Children are described as having "psychopathic tendencies," to allow for possible improvement before they become adult psychopaths. Estimates male psychopaths at 1% of the population; female psychopaths at 0.25%. This may be a very low estimate given that women can hide better than men.

  • Kevin

    A technical account of possible etiologies of psychopathy. Somewhat less integrative than I would have preferred.

  • David

    Far more clinical than I anticipated, but extremely insightful and thorough presentation of psychopathy. Not recommended as a fun read, probably more geared towards psych students and professionals.

  • Philip

    Clearly written for an initiated audience consisting of people who are up to speed with the current research. In all honesty, I'd rather have the book twice as long and every non-trivial concept reasonably explained. Now I feel I cannot get a thorough understanding unless I also study all the science papers that went into the book.

    Specifically, I feel that an important aspect of psychopathy, the simulacrum humanoid quality, should have been addressed extensively (rather than giving it mere impl

    Clearly written for an initiated audience consisting of people who are up to speed with the current research. In all honesty, I'd rather have the book twice as long and every non-trivial concept reasonably explained. Now I feel I cannot get a thorough understanding unless I also study all the science papers that went into the book.

    Specifically, I feel that an important aspect of psychopathy, the simulacrum humanoid quality, should have been addressed extensively (rather than giving it mere implicit reference under the "glib" item of the PCL test). This aspect, the simulating of the human being, essential to psychopathy, was well documented in the original cases studied by Cleckley and so should be given explicit attention as far as I'm concerned. Also, there's no mention of possible epigenetic sources giving rise to psychopathy, unfortunately.

  • Elizabeth Francis

    pretty dry and not an easy read— it takes a lot of re-reading pages in order to understand concepts (unless you have extensive knowledge of the brain). but the authors talk in depth about the functional impairment of the brain, neural accounts, genetic basis theories, emotional learning, and neuro imaging in psychopathic individuals. unless you have a high interest in neurology, i wouldn’t read it... but super informative for someone who is interested.

  • زينب

    Way too dry for me

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