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Psychopaths: New Research & Studies

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"Psychopath" Psychologist Adds Scientific Insight To Loaded Label

Main Category: Psychology / Psychiatry News
Article Date: 05 Jul 2006 - 3:00am (PDT)This Article



For most people on the planet, the term "psychopath" evokes thoughts of violence and bloodshed - and evil of the darkest kind.

But during 25 years, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has built a body of work that may help temper such deeply ingrained perceptions.

Sure, people do commit horrific, unimaginable crimes. But does that automatically mean they are psychopathic? And what is "psychopathy" anyway? With unique research access to prison inmate populations in Wisconsin, Joseph Newman has devoted his career to answering such questions.

The proper understanding of psychopathy has implications for the treatment of inmates everywhere - particularly for those who are wrongfully labeled. Newman's work could also serve as the backbone of new behavioral interventions that target psychopathic behaviors.

"My main concern is that the label (of psychopath) is applied too liberally and without sufficient understanding of the key elements," says Newman, who is chair of the UW-Madison psychology department. "As a result, the term is often applied to ordinary criminals and sex offenders whose behavior may reflect primarily social factors or other emotional problems that are more amenable to treatment than psychopathy."

But trying to alter stereotypes about a reviled segment of society has been a long and uphill road. For one thing, prison studies are notoriously difficult to do, as researchers must contend with a laundry list of challenges such as issues of access and other constraints related to the protection of inmate rights. The field of psychopathy is also a contentious one, and Newman - who has put forward a provocative theory about the condition - has consistently faced opposition from his scientific peers.

The scientist has persevered, however, demonstrating in study after study the potential merit of his claims. And during the years, Newman's patient, steady approach has earned the respect of top researchers in the field.

"In looking back, I see (Newman) as one of the preeminent research scientists in the field - his work is ingenious, meticulous, methodologically sophisticated and driven by theory," says Robert Hare, a leading psychopathy expert at the University of British Columbia. "I really think he's the top man in the area."

So who are psychopaths? Broadly speaking, they are people who use manipulation, violence and intimidation to control others and satisfy selfish needs. They can be intelligent and highly charismatic, but display a chronic inability to feel guilt, remorse or anxiety about any of their actions.

Scientists estimate that 15-25 percent of men and 7-15 percent of women in U.S. prisons display psychopathic behaviors. The condition, however, is hardly restricted to the prison system. Newman estimates that up to 1 percent of the general population could be described as psychopathic. Surprisingly, many who fall into that bracket might lead perfectly conventional lives as doctors, scientists and company CEOs.

"Psychopathy appears to exist throughout the world and has probably existed throughout history," Newman says.

Behavioral specialists now use the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised - a diagnostic questionnaire created by Hare - to detect psychopathy. But although there is finally consensus on the best way to identify the condition, there is still a lot of disagreement on why it occurs in the first place.

The dominant scientific model asserts that psychopathic individuals are incapable of fear or other emotions, which in turn makes them indifferent to other people's feelings.

But Newman has a different idea entirely. He believes that psychopathy is essentially a type of learning disability or "informational processing deficit" that makes individuals oblivious to the implications of their actions when focused on tasks that promise instant reward. Being focused on a short-term goal, Newman suggests, makes psychopathic individuals incapable of detecting surrounding cues such as another person's discomfort or fear.

In a study he repeated in different prison populations, for instance, Newman examined how quickly psychopathic and non-psychopathic individuals respond to a series of mislabeled images, such as a drawing of a pig with the word "dog" superimposed on it. Researchers flashed each image and then timed how long it took for subjects to name what they saw.

Over and over again, Newman found that non-psychopathic subjects subconsciously stumbled on the misleading labels and took longer to name the images. But psychopathic subjects barely noticed the discrepancy and consistently answered more quickly.

Newman says the result is one instance of how psychopathic individuals have difficulty processing peripheral cues, even when those cues are entirely obvious to everyone else. Furthermore, the study task didn't involve any of the emotions that people commonly associate with psychopathy, such as anger or a lack of fear. So the fact that psychopathic subjects barely noticed the wrongful labels - even in the absence of emotional cues - supports the idea that a psychological deficit might be at play.

"People think (psychopaths) are just callous and without fear, but there is definitely something more going on," Newman says. "When emotions are their primary focus, we've seen that psychopathic individuals show a normal (emotional) response. But when focused on something else, they become insensitive to emotions entirely."

Such studies certainly haven't been easy to do. Prison staff, space and financial resources are usually in short supply, and because inmate movements are restricted, Newman and his students routinely work under challenging time limitations. Still, the unwavering cooperation from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) has far outweighed any problems. Indeed, the willingness of the DOC to grant him research access was one of the main reasons why Newman, a New Jersey native, decided to join the UW-Madison faculty in 1981.

"The cooperation that exists between the Wisconsin DOC and my university project is unprecedented and enviable," says Newman. "Over the years, the project has involved thousands of inmates, prison staff, university research assistants and correctional officials. We have never had a negative incident or breach of confidentiality and I believe everyone has benefited from this collaboration and found it to be enjoyable."

Dale Bespalec, the psychologist supervisor at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, believes that Newman's work is crucial at a time when correctional authorities nationwide are struggling to understand the most effective ways to work with psychopathic individuals.

"We need to know more about this population as it presents unique challenges to the prison system and our efforts at rehabilitation and treatment," he says. " Everything that we can learn (about psychopathy) can impact our attempts to change people's patterns of behavior. Newman's work is likely to impact the entire field and not just Wisconsin."

But in order for psychopathy research to give rise to new behavioral treatment approaches, Newman says scientists need to get together, discuss ideas and continually challenge the status quo. "There has been a tendency to recycle the same intuitively appealing ideas rather than pursue critical tests of new ideas," he says.

To help generate fresh discussion and debate, Newman and others recently founded the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. The group, which has about 100 members, held its first international meeting in Canada last year.

"In addition to attracting talent to the field, it is important for investigators to cooperate," says Newman. "We need to listen to each other to benefit from feedback, we need to acknowledge the importance of diverse questions, and we need to cooperate in communicating the importance of this significant mental health problem."

###
Paroma Basu
[email protected]

Contact: Joseph Newman
University of Wisconsin-Madison
http://www.wisc.edu/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=46444

edit to amend subject title.
 
Interesting stuff.

If there really are such things as psychopaths then I wonder if there are anti psychopaths who have the opposite characteristics. I can imagine this condition being quite debilitating. For example over empathising with someone else's needs might make a person self sacrificing to the point of stupidity.

I think that a happy medium between the two extremes would be best for most people because obviously there are times when 'a man needs to do what a man needs to do', which might require more psychopathic characteristics in one instance (for instance bombing civilians in the name of national security) and anti psychopathic characteristics in others (for example staying with an injured comrade instead of naffing off to save yourself).
 
Newman claims that individuals previously labeled 'psychopaths' in fact suffer a condition which prevents them from processing peripheral cues. The OP article adds that Newman did not include violence or other crimes against the person, or to that effect.

However, when the public thinks of psychopaths, it thinks of violent murderers, serial killers, rapists, etc. -- not those who don't notice when a dog is labelled a pig. So I'm unsure what Newman's purpose is? Does the label lessen the nature of the beast; the crime?

In movies, tv, books, newscasts, etc., violent, murderous individuals are often referred to as 'psychopaths' and we're advised that psychopaths are unable to empathise with their victims or their victims' suffering; unable even to realise that murder, rape, torture etc. are 'wrong'. Labelled as 'psychopaths', these violent and murderous individuals are often described as 'not responsible' for their crimes because of their alleged psychopathy; they are pronounced insane etc.

I recently watched an interview with a successful US crime novelist who had previously worked for ten years as a real-life crime reporter for a leading Los Angeles newspaper. He said that during those ten years, he amassed several thick files of unsolved-murders which have never been solved and 'probably never will be'. The writer described the situation as one of licence to kill and of which the public is largely unaware.

For example, here in Australia, I lived in a house which had previously been lived in by a man and woman who were murdered in broad daylight in approx. 1978: a double murder which has never been solved. Australians are still trying to provide police clues that will help in the capture of those who snatched a young boy, again in broad daylight, from a bus stop some years ago. And the disappearance of the Beaumont children several decades ago from a busy beach in the middle of the day has never been solved. Hundreds of people are missing, presumed dead and hundreds more bodies have been found, but not the killer. The killers are all around us, free as birds.

We unknowingly sit next to killers every day in buses and trains. We consider some of them good neighbours. Some of them are related to us or known to us. Many of them go on to lead happy lives and die in old age, surrounded by their unsuspecting, devoted families.

Not long ago I watched a cold-crimes documentary in which a 76 year old man was finally apprehended re: multiple murders he'd committed over forty years before. His wife, children, neighbours, friends, ex-co-workers etc. protested that the man was a paragon of virtue, loved by his community. In court, the man admitted his crimes, which were horrific. He detailed how, after committing the murders, he'd moved interstate, changed his name and appearance, married and had a family, succeeded in business. He'd had a very long, happy and comfortable life. He had a wide circle of friends, including several policemen. He'd retired early and lived quite luxuriously while his victims' families and loved ones had endured a living hell. The killer apologised in court to his own family and those of his victims. His only excuse for the brutal murders he'd committed was to claim: ' I am not the beast I was back then'. So psychopathy is apparently able to be turned on and off at will.

Newman the psychologist claims psychopaths suffer a handicap: one of 'not being able to process peripheral cues'.

If you murdered or raped someone -- would you be able to hide it (and the physical and other evidence) successfully short and long term, from those who know you best: your spouse, children, parents, siblings, close friends and colleagues? No ? But 'psychopaths' can and do. And they do it by demonstrating ACUTE ability to process peripheral cues.

Those who investigate murder and other violent crimes are trained and expert in suppressing verbal and non-verbal -- also facial -- cues as to their suspicions, emotions, intent. They are trained to keep their voices and faces bland, emotionless. They are trained in role-playing; acting a part. They are trained in body-language --- and in how to disguise their own at the same time they are reading that of the suspect. They'd probably fool you or I. That's their job.

But they do NOT fool the psychopathic killer. He is able to 'read' all those minute cues (which the investigators believe they are concealing) at the same time he controls his own responses and reactions. The killer's life and liberty are at stake. And as facts show, there are plenty of psychopathic killers walking around, enjoying their lives and their freedom while their victims lie in morgues and undiscovered in shallow graves. So a lot of these psychopathic killers are extremely skilled at processing peripheral, overt and repressed cues, despite Newman's theories.

Oh, the psychopathic killers and rapists may CHOOSE to ignore the screams, pleading, terror and pain demonstrated by their VICTIMS -- because these may get in the way of the killer's fun: may in fact be a large part of the killer's fun. But AFTER the fun is over and the victim is lying in a bloodied, inert heap, the killer miraculously demonstrates very advanced skills at 'processing peripheral cues'.

The killers are capable of noticing that skilled investigators are surreptitiously moving around their neighbourhood or place of work, for example. The killers are able to work out that plainclothes police are loitering outside pubs and bus-shelters. The killers are HIGHLY observant and skilled at noticing things you and I would be oblivious to. THAT is how the killers evade capture. And they're able to remain vigilant and alert to the slightest danger throughout many decades --- at the same time as they hide their crimes from all those around them.

These people whom Newman claims are 'unable to process peripheral cues' are able to successfully bluff their way through intensive questioning by experienced detectives and psychologists. And they do THAT by 'reading' those detectives and psychologists: by picking-up on minute nuances in speech and expression; by noting tiny body-movements, flickers of an eyelash, a slight twitch at the side of a detective or psychologist's mouth; the rhythm of a detective's pencil on the table; a slight inflection during a question.

As history shows, many psychopathic killers have been in custody for questioning, only to be let go --- after which they've gone on to kill several more victims until they again being taken in for routine questioning a decade or more later. THEY 'read' the police far MORE successfully than those trained investigators were able to read them ! Several more lives were lost, needlessly. Yet Newman is telling us that psychopaths are 'unable to process peripheral cues' ! The reverse is often true: psychopaths are astutely aware of cues, as they have demonstrated time and time again.
 
Re: "Psychopath" Psychologist Adds Scientific Insi

[P]sychopathic individuals have difficulty processing peripheral cues, even when those cues are entirely obvious to everyone else.

But that's also true of us "social klutzes" who aren't even remotely psychopathic.

And it's one of the three tell-tale symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome.
 
GSX1400 said:
If there really are such things as psychopaths then I wonder if there are anti psychopaths who have the opposite characteristics. I can imagine this condition being quite debilitating. For example over empathising with someone else's needs might make a person self sacrificing to the point of stupidity.

Yes, they're called "anxiety neurotics." OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is probably the best-known example.
 
Re: "Psychopath" Psychologist Adds Scientific Insi

[P]sychopaths....display a chronic inability to feel guilt, remorse or anxiety about any of their actions.

That is, again, the very antipodes of an anxiety neurosis. Anxiety neurotics get swept by feelings of guilt and remorse for laughing at Wile E. Coyote just before he blows himself to smithereens with the Acme Portable Nuclear Bird Eradicator
 
ok Again6, who is the real crimminal, the person who commits a crime because they are ill, or the person who promotes it?

I gather from your talk, that you are an american, a nation well known for having a murder rate, that by european standards is abnormal.

(and european murder rates are abnormal by japanese standards.)

so why?

Assuming that levels of mental illness are pretty much the same everywhere, why the difference in results?
 
"Psychopathy" actually runs in my family. My great grandfather, great uncles, uncle and mother all fit perfectly. We have consulted doctors, but do you really think that anyone will sit and be analysed?

My great grandfather died in a mental "hospital". My great uncles were serial killers. My uncle is incapable of understanding human emotion, and my mother is the coldest, most manipulative and selfish person I have ever encountered. From the inside, I can see this, but she spends half her efforts into presenting an image of perfection.

Autism ALSO runs in our family. It seems you get either one or the other with few exceptions. I don`t doubt that there is a connection.
 
This is strange - I'm sure I studied a number of papers (offering scientific insight) into psychopathology; including such ideas of secondary psychopathy, and fitting the behaviour to an evolutionary model. I don't see what's new - not even the notion of the dangers of labelling. Must have a check.
 
Is psychopathy an "illness"? Psychopaths are clearlty sane by legal standards; that's why we send 'em to prison rather than to the asylum. They are TERMINALLY SELFISH, but selfishness is rarely if ever described as an illness.

Perhaps the best layman's definition came from a friend:

"Look, I collect juke boxes in my basement. John Wayne Gacy collected DEAD PEOPLE in his. Now my hobby is socially acceptable, while John's was entirely forbidden. But BOTH are matters of free choice and neither one strikes me as 'crazy.'"

If the psychopathic murderer "can't help taking human lives," and therefore merits no censure, then the late Mother Theresa "couldn't help saving human lives," and deserves no praise.
 
Well; it depends. There are arguments for brain damage and or genetic reasons. There is an argument based on the notion that psychopaths cannot access higher emotions, thus not have any feeling of guilt. The evolutionary reasons posit game theory strategies (e.g. the cheater). Indeed, psychopaths may have been honoured in societies that needed warriors (and would look after their sons if they died in battle). This would explain why this trait hasn't been bred out - psychopathy is clearly a successful strategy for survival; just not a nice one. By modern western standards (including law and order), I believe that psychopathy should be viewed as a mental disorder - I'm not sure prison proper is the best place for a psychopath.
 
I've always had problems with the notion there's an coherent or fixed 'psychopath' character (nature; temperament; whatever...) that is universally manifest in most if not all persons whose behavior is construed as 'psychopathic'.

I readily acknowledge (and have observed) all the various symptoms attributed (in varying permutations) to 'psychopaths', such as:

- inability to acknowledge feelings / emotions / needs in others
- inability to acknowledge the same in oneself
- inability to account for effects of one's actions on others
- a 'tunnel vision' focus on one's own impulses / needs relative to others'
- apparent predisposition or affinity for cruelty, violence, etc.
- proclivity for dominating others (up to and including extinguishing them)

I don't dispute such symptoms, and I don't dispute their manifestation in many people who've done things for which they've been understandably vilified (... imprisoned, or even executed). I *do* dispute that there's some specifiable combination of these attributes that distinguishes all (or a meaningful proportion of...) said people as a labeled 'class' or 'set' sufficiently coherent and robust to serve as a diagnostic category.

For example - the 'peripheral cues' facet of Newman's research can be construed as suggestive of a persistent 'tunnel vision' attitude or operational state that could contribute to performing ghastly acts solely because they were 'optimal paths to a narrowly-defined end goal'. This has no necessary relationship to an attitude or stance in which other people are engaged or treated as if they were 2-dimensional cardboard figures whose inner workings or 'shared humanity' were denied ...

After all these years I still suspect the construct of 'psychopath' represents a futile attempt to delineate a single 'template' for all chronic perpetrators of certain odious acts - i.e., a discrete designation for a grab-bag of things ....
 
GadaffiDuck said:
Indeed, psychopaths may have been honoured in societies that needed warriors (and would look after their sons if they died in battle). This would explain why this trait hasn't been bred out - psychopathy is clearly a successful strategy for survival; just not a nice one.

But in general, berserkers weren't considered bloodthirsty in times of peace, in civilian life.

Look at the witty and urbane actor David Niven, who gained the reputation of beiing a genuine berserker during World War Two battles. I'd certainly have no slightest qualms about turning my back on him while he sliced meat in a kitchen.
 
Unwillingness

Enola, how do you differentiate between "inability" and "unwillingness"?
 
I thought Niven had been accounted a liar over his recollections. :D

Anyway, the point of the evolutionary model is that in peace time (I'm not sure whether or not beserkers were genuine or manufactured psychopaths...if you will - nb. I take your point Enola) that the village pampered to whims of the psychopath e.g. the big hero gets top food and so forth. As the psychopath is getting what he wants most of the time, the behaviour is more often than not acceptible. Having met a genuine (highly trained ex military) psychopath, I am aware that 'to just do it' attitude may over ride normal considerations...I suspect for amusement values to the person himself (and re-affirmation, to those not affected, of how 'bad' this person is).
 
Re: Unwillingness

OldTimeRadio said:
Enola, how do you differentiate between "inability" and "unwillingness"?

Excellent point! (Assuming it was rhetorical - I don't claim to be able to differentiate between the two...)

This is one of the main things that makes me queasy about accepting a global specification for 'psychopath'. I've seen clear-cut and persistent manifestation of one or multiple of the (example) factors I listed earlier in people who - though sometimes 'difficult to be around' - weren't violent, threatening, or capable of giving me outright 'creeps'. I've also been acquainted with more severe and disturbing exemplars of those attributes.

In some cases, my best guesstimation was that the attribute / orientation might well have been innate or 'embedded' as a constitutional feature. In other cases, it seemed to me the orientation was more a conscious attitude or concluded position. In yet others, it seemed to be something they'd adopted or absorbed along the way. Phrased another way, such orientations seemed a 'matter of nature' in some and a 'matter of habituation or deeply-held conviction' in others.

This distinction, I suggest, maps onto the distinction between explaining behaviors or actions as the result of 'inability' versus 'unwillingness'.

To further complicate the matter, there's the case of seemingly psychopathic attitudes and / or acts manifest in otherwise 'normal' people forced to operate under extremely dire circumstances. For example - I've spoken with a couple of Vietnam veterans (whom I felt trustworthy) who've confided their units 'snapped' or 'descended into madness' to the point they perpetrated gratuitous atrocities within the context of their overall military operations but outside the scope of any orders and absent any immediate military threat or purpose. Should one consider this 'temporary manifestation of persistent low-level psychopathic tendencies' or a 'transient (pseudo-?) psychopathic episode' not indicative of persistent psychopathy?
 
I believe that there is the notion of inherent psychopathia ie one is born with the capacity (with little environmental stressors to set off the behaviour) and, as I have said, secondary psychopathia: indicating a, I suppose (my words) a made psychopath. Indeed, the process of turning men into soldiers is in order to produce constrained psychopathia. While I agree that one needs to be careful about generalisations, it seems entirely reasonable to propose that some people are born with a less caring, more violent propensity than others - ultimately, society labels one psychopath, hero, fighter, nutter or not. A global definition (in a true sense) seems, unlikely.
 
Is it really necessary to require the attributes of (a) empathic blindness / lack of caring and (b) violence / cruelty to be jointly present in defining a 'psychopath'?....

Isn't this being too specific by half?....
 
Hard problem. It seems that if a person were emotionally blind, then growing up (regardless of background) would lead a person to not care about others; and here we move into such areas as theory of mind and what this means re: cognition and moral development. nbI leave out the full argument at this point.

However, if a person can't care or feel, then, unless squeamish (let this one go for the moment), one could easily display both characteristics (as per your last post). However, I suppose, equally, it is possible to be emotionally blind, yet have never committed a violent/psychopathic act - but this does not preclude the potential for such an act. So, I would hazard a guess, in a liberal society, one must convict the psychopath on their actions (e.g. a violent crime) and not condemn them on the strength of a psychological test - especially one that might administered within a school.
 
One of the very greatest of American professional baseball players, long enshrined in the Hall of Fame, is considered by many to have been a psychopath.

So the question arises - how ever does a psychopath manage to rise to all-time greatness in a TEAM sport?
 
Psychopaths' brains 'different'

The scans showed brain activity
There are biological brain differences that mark out psychopaths from other people, according to scientists.
Psychopaths showed less activity in brain areas involved in assessing the emotion of facial expressions, the British Journal of Psychiatry reports.

In particular, they were far less responsive to fearful faces than healthy volunteers.

The Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London team say this might partly explain psychopathic behaviour.

Remorseless

Criminal psychopaths are people with aggressive and anti-social personalities who lack emotional empathy.

They can commit hideous crimes, such as rape or murder, yet show no signs of remorse or guilt.

It has been suggested that people with psychopathic disorders lack empathy because they have defects in processing facial and vocal expressions of distress, such as fear and sadness, in others.

We are a long way from knowing how to treat psychopathy

Dr Nicola Gray, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology

Professor Declan Murphy and colleagues set out to test this using a scan that shows up brain activity.

They showed six psychopaths and nine healthy volunteers pictures of faces showing different emotions.

Both groups had increased activity in brain areas involved in processing facial expressions in response to happy faces compared with neutral faces, but this increase was smaller among the psychopaths.

By contrast, when processing fearful faces compared with neutral faces, the healthy volunteers showed increased activation and the psychopaths decreased activation in these brain regions.

Fearful faces

The researchers said: "These results suggest that the neural pathways for processing facial expressions of happiness are functionally intact in people with psychopathic disorder, although less responsive.

"In contrast, fear is processed in a very different way."

This failure to recognise and emotionally respond to facial and other signals of distress may underlie psychopaths' failure to block behaviour that causes distress in others and their lack of emotional empathy, the scientists suggest.

Dr Nicola Gray, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology, has also been studying what underpins psychopathy.

"What we are trying to understand are the cognitive deficits underpinning the behaviour of psychopaths.

"If people with psychopathy can't process the emotion of fear and that is mirrored in terms of their brain activity, as this study suggests, that will help us understand the cognitive deficits.

"But it is still a long way to finding out what to do about that. We are a long way from knowing how to treat psychopathy."





http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6198704.stm
 
Does this mean incredibly nice, caring people have different brain patterns to everyone else as well?
 
EnolaGaia said:
Is it really necessary to require the attributes of (a) empathic blindness / lack of caring and (b) violence / cruelty to be jointly present in defining a 'psychopath'?....

Isn't this being too specific by half?....

"Psychopaths" are legally sane, and only a very small percentage of them are stupid enough to turn to lives of crime.

I've had a couple of bosses that I regard as having been to some degree psychopathic, but that doesn't mean that I was afraid to turn my back on them as they held butcher knives in their hands as we sliced cold cuts and cheese for a Christmas party..

And just because these Scrooges liked to play High Lord and Mighty Master with their long-suffering underlings doesn't mean that they were in any danger of going out and becoming rapists and serial murderers.

Psychopathy, like everything else, comes in degrees.
 
Kondoru said:
ok Again6, who is the real crimminal, the person who commits a crime because they are ill, or the person who promotes it?

I gather from your talk, that you are an american, a nation well known for having a murder rate, that by european standards is abnormal.

(and european murder rates are abnormal by japanese standards.)

so why?

Assuming that levels of mental illness are pretty much the same everywhere, why the difference in results?

Not to split hairs here, but I think it's clear from Again6's post that he/she is Australian--i.e. mentioning living in a house in Australia, and spelling neighbor as "neighbour"--something we here in the States seldom do!

And while we do have a deplorably high crime rate, does that make us a nation of sociopaths??? :shock:

I really don't know how to answer your last question, which is a good one. I think that probably all people are prey to the same kinds of illnesses, but perhaps the course of the illness is influenced by cultural factors, which do differ from country to country?
 
synchronicity said:
And while we do have a deplorably high crime rate, does that make us a nation of sociopaths??? :shock:

What tends to be overlooked is that historically the United States is still very much a FRONTIER country thrust early (perhaps way too early) into a position of leadership, and that frontier nations often have higher murder rates than long-settled lands.

Though come to think of it the US murder rate is miniscule when compared to the totals amassed by several "ethinic cleansing" European countries throughout the 20th Century.
 
Though come to think of it the US murder rate is miniscule when compared to the totals amassed by several "ethinic cleansing" European countries throughout the 20th Century.

This maybe true but i don't think the US can be entirely blameless on the whole ethnic cleansing, genocide front either. While not in the 20th centuary their was the destruction of the native american culture and then in the 20th centuary there are several examples of dictatorships all over the world that were either directly set up by the States or Propped up by the US. General Pinochet anyone, Saddem Hussein.......
 
feen5 said:
This maybe true but i don't think the US can be entirely blameless on the whole ethnic cleansing, genocide front either. While not in the 20th centuary their was the destruction of the native american culture and then in the 20th centuary there are several examples of dictatorships all over the world that were either directly set up by the States or Propped up by the US. General Pinochet anyone, Saddem Hussein.......

The treatment of the American Indian in the 19th Century is surely one of the blackest marks against the American Republic, but I assure you that Native Americans and Native American culture still exist. And Native Americans claim the VERY HIGHEST rate of enlistment into the the United States Armed Forces of ANY ethnic minority.

But nobody's claimed that the United States murdered 125 million people, which is the ghastly total for Germany, Russia and China in a mere 60 - 70 years. And that's not even including the more recent "ethnic cleansings" in Serbia and Bosnia, nor 800,000 Africans murdered around the same time for belonging to the wrong tribe.
 
Well that was my point though rather crudely put i admit because i was in a rush. Your post only mentioned the europeans

Though come to think of it the US murder rate is miniscule when compared to the totals amassed by several "ethinic cleansing" European countries throughout the 20th Century.


And i was trying to point out that its not a nationality problem its a Human problem no matter what continent your from.
 
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