Going to the movies used to be an innocent and safe activity.
Who doesn’t settle down to the smell of freshly popped corn without thinking of the victims of the orange-headed James Holmes in Colorado, or more recently, the potential victims of the Missouri Twilight movie-shooting plot?
What is going on in the heads of people who commit such violent and senseless mass crimes?
Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Psychiatrists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or DSM to diagnose mental illness.
According to the Mayo Clinic.com, the DSM defines a person with anti-social personality disorder as someone who has general disregard for society’s rules.
Those with anti-social personality disorder exhibit the tendencies to lie, to live a parasitic lifestyle, to develop alcohol or drug dependency, and to fail to keep a steady job.
Those with this disorder are prone to physical violence and irritability. They are impulsive and use intimidation. According to the Mayo Clinic.com, a “sociopath is a particularly severe form of antisocial personality disorder.”
Sociopaths, Psychopaths and Brain Function
Sociopathic tendencies can be measured by a test developed by Robert Hare termed the “Psychopath Test.” This test measures lying, glib, superficial charm and identifies parasitic lifestyles. Ron Jonson, an author trained to use the test, reported that he began to see sociopathic tendencies in everyone, including himself, and implies that the test is not foolproof.
Dr. Hare originally sought to measure sociopathy using a test that measured the brain’s response to electroshock. This research was discontinued when its ethics were questioned. Hare believed this work could trace the problems of psychopaths to a malfunctioning amygdala. Before discontinuing his laboratory research, Hare found that the “psychopath’s amygdala’s do not respond to stimuli like fear in the same way as normal brains.”
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