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Author Topic: Spotting a sociopath  (Read 6253 times)
meowmeowbrowncow
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January 16, 2013, 12:54:36 PM
 #41


Why is a clinical diagnosis of sociopath necessary?


Shouldn't the matter of most concern be a person's impact on society?  So, I would prefer the idea of 'functional sociopath.'  To the degree that a person is opportunistic in self serving ways might be proportional to this idea.


Using the idea of functional sociopathy a much greater amount of the population can be indicted for spreading misery.

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memvola
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January 16, 2013, 12:55:48 PM
 #42

You two have a serious misunderstanding of what a sociopath is at their core. The number of sociopaths walking around is debatable, but what is a fact is that they ARE wired differently than what most would call "normal" people.  They in fact are incapable of empathy, even on a theoretical level they just don't get it.

I think the more serious misunderstanding is about what empathy is.

When you make countless assumptions about a term so ill defined, it's very likely to reach a conclusion you already was reaching for. That's why social sciences fail miserably, and where you can draw the limits of neuroscience.

How do I know this? EEG and active MRI technology now enables anyone with the correct equipment and training to demonstrate which areas of the brain are active during specific activities designed to activate target brain areas while under observation. Now I don't think people should walk around suspecting everyone of being a sociopath, but it is important to note that by definition they try to blend in to their surroundings.

Why suspect? Don't you claim that we already can know? Let's kill them when they are only a fetus, shall we?

ETA: Aren't autistic people also psychopaths "scientifically"?
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January 17, 2013, 12:16:39 AM
 #43

I dunno. People can act weird under weird circumstances. Spot the sociopaths:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd7dxmBLg48

Seriously? You just enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing admit it. I don't know what a video of a decades old disaster is supposed to be evidence of, but if you want to spot a sociopath, it helps if you actually know them. I am not sure what your video bait is supposed to be used for here, but I am not biting.

I think it was totally relevant to this thread. It is called "Spotting a Sociopath", and the idea was put out there you could spot them by the looks on their faces soon after a tragedy. There is a good video to see a range of responses from people soon after a tragedy. Not sure why it was taken as arguing. I was just trying to provide relevant info to the discussion.
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January 17, 2013, 03:35:27 AM
 #44

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You two have a serious misunderstanding of what a sociopath is at their core. The number of sociopaths walking around is debatable, but what is a fact is that they ARE wired differently than what most would call "normal" people. They in fact are incapable of empathy, even on a theoretical level they just don't get it.

How do you know this 'fact'? I've been doing a bit of personal research lately regarding things like "the hard problem of consciousness", and it seems it's impossible to definitively prove that anyone (other than yourself) has empathy or other feelings. Consciousness has not been scientifically proven to exist at all, even though we intuitively know it exists, and the same can be argued for 'qualia' such as various feelings.

OK, it seems plausible that the same way some people are red/green colour-blind, other people might have other things such as empathy missing. But even such a comparison seems weak. Although eyes can be physically tested and brains can be imaged, such tests say nothing about what blue is for you, and they say nothing about the mind's ability to see colour with the available hardware. And unlike colour tests which simply test the hardware, it seems that in the field of psychology they're boldly attempting to measure the mind itself. Besides, isn't the brain supposed to be an expert at learning and constantly re-wiring itself?

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This is a mistake I see so often, and it is quite frustrating because sociopaths know this is a common misconception and they utilize it to be better at being sociopaths. Depending on circumstance they may be more or less destructive to those around them, but from birth they simply learn to be proficient mimics of emotional states so as to appear normal to everyone else. Some times they are SO good at it you could be around one for years and not even know it.
What if the world is filled with philosophical zombies, and you're the only one who is really 'alive'? How would you ever know for sure?

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...by definition they try to blend in to their surroundings. Any psychologist will tell you a sociopaths worst fear is being exposed for what they are.

What? People react badly when they're told they're somehow deeply flawed in a way that's invisible to them, it's permanent, and there's nothing they can do about it?

You know how they know what "blue is for you"? They show you blue and measure your response showing a repeatable pattern of brain activity. The same can be done for neuromapping. They can invoke empathy in various ways and gauge response or lack there of and compare to the general population. I think most people would be surprised how accurate this kind of technology is getting now. 

BTW memvola I don't appreciate being associated with eugenicists simply because I am discussing the possibility of such technology existing. I at no point made any suggestions that such technology should be applied to society, only argued that it is possible and the technology exists. Learning about something is not the same as supporting it. Please grow up.

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January 17, 2013, 09:13:56 AM
 #45

BTW memvola I don't appreciate being associated with eugenicists simply because I am discussing the possibility of such technology existing. I at no point made any suggestions that such technology should be applied to society, only argued that it is possible and the technology exists. Learning about something is not the same as supporting it. Please grow up.

Equivalently, I never said you suggested it (and abortion is not necessarily related to eugenics). I just wanted to show you what kind of picture this all invokes. If sociopaths indeed exist and are such a menace to society (they can't be beneficial but can be very harmful) and you can easily detect them as you say, why not act preemptively?

You can (and I think should) abort a fetus if you know it has Down's syndrome, why not if you know it has sociopathy? I don't think this is an unreasonable question.

They can invoke empathy in various ways and gauge response or lack there of and compare to the general population.

Define empathy first and then how you invoke it. As I said, after you make a bazillion assumptions about things that are even philosophically vague, it's not surprising to see what you are hoping to see. I understand that you can get repeatable patterns. The problem is in the interpretation, which is also what is unscientific.
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January 17, 2013, 05:07:38 PM
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The term empathy is currently applied to more than a half-dozen phenomena. These phenomena are related to one another, but they are not elements, aspects, facets, or components of a single thing that is empathy
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

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