… [T]his condition is congenital. It is inborn and exists in the microscopic structure of his body. He is in sexual matters an INVERT: i.e. one whose interest sexually has been turned congenitally by a power outside of him and apart from any consideration of free will from normal interest and satisfaction in the opposite sex to a condition where he is interested in, attracted by and obtains sexual satisfaction from his own sex. When this results in obvious and often unlawful, as well as shocking and indecent, anomalies in sexual behavior, such acts should be considered not as vicious manifestations of a perverted free will, but rather as the unfortunate and destructive results of a congenitally bad brain and glandular makeup under the influence of the bad habits of a corrupt environment. — Re: Sexual Psychopaths, 1946. People v. Barnett , 27 Cal.2d 649
Left work to attend lab meeting that ended right before I go back to work. Later I might work. It sure will be nice to work when work is work.
My Case Against Einfühlung
First, I’m with thoughtfulcynic. I’m not a fan of dichotomy when speaking about emotions/behaviors that pepper an entire spectrum. I suppose we can talk about social reluctance to do this another time, but investigating empathy, like other spectrumocities, (n. the state of being on a spectrum. K, I’m making up words, but I think I’ve earned that..I …I just think I’ve earned that.)
…LIKE other spectrumocities, our understanding of it may suffer if not investigated in a manner that allows us to look at multiple facetes under appropriate conditions. I can talk about this now since I’ve changed labs and not longer working under ridiculous oppressive secrecy… but how often are we hearing about the two types of empathy? Or potential 7 models of them? Not enough which leads most to think you have it or you don’t…so thoughtfulcynic hits the nail when she mentions critical thinking. What we have are cognitive and affective empathy or the capacity to perceive others’ thoughts and/or feelings, respectively. I always maintained these are 2 separately dynamic, systems that run via feedback from each other since neurally - they are independent but mutually supportive. As such, what we can have is a full matrix of varying degrees of the total possible experience of empathy at any given time. I never got to test it, but that’s my stamp. Anyhoo, and as a result, what’s driven my work for a while now is what Bloom refers to “being pulled in the wrong direction by empathy”:
This dynamic regularly plays out in the realm of criminal justice. In 1987, Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who had been released on furlough from the Northeastern Correctional Center, in Massachusetts, raped a woman after beating and tying up her fiancé. The furlough program came to be seen as a humiliating mistake on the part of Governor Michael Dukakis, and was used against him by his opponents during his run for President, the following year. Yet the program may have reduced the likelihood of such incidents. In fact, a 1987 report found that the recidivism rate in Massachusetts dropped in the eleven years after the program was introduced, and that convicts who were furloughed before being released were less likely to go on to commit a crime than those who were not. [via]
Obviously, not an isolated event. Altruistic punishment and manipulated empathy over data, tell me how that feels.
Justice for Psychopaths - by Neil Levy
Interpret any significant triple interaction by examining the change in the strongest two-way interaction as it changes over levels of the third overall main effect. Then scotch.
As it drew closer to 1:30 p.m. and the verdict, people in the crowd urged others to “shhhh.” At 1:49 p.m., the verdict came — guilty of first-degree murder. Some cheered and hugged, while others jumped and danced. People exchanged high-fives. The sounds of whistles and chants of “USA, USA, USA” filled the air. — VERDICT IN JODI ARIAS MURDER TRIAL IS IN… and the mob gathers for the feast.
What We Owe the Psychopath: A Neuroethical Analysis
Psychopaths are often regarded as a scourge of contemporary society and, as such, are the focus of much public vilification and outrage. But, arguably, psychopaths are both sinned against as well as sinners. If that is true, then their status as the victims of abusive subcultures partially mitigates their moral responsibility for the harms they cause. We argue, from the neuroethics of psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), that communities have a moral obligation to psychopaths as well as a case against them. A reflection on the genesis and developmental epidemiology of psychopathy reveals an individualist, attribution-type error evident in much Western psychological and legal thinking—an error that obscures important moral truths about psychopaths. The resulting analysis makes us reconsider the distinction between disorders and moral failings and the ethical significance of the biological or neurocognitive mechanisms underpinning psychopathy. We claim that casting aside the deficit model (based on the presupposition that psychopaths are intrinsically unlike the rest of us) in favor of a relational and holistic view of personality potentiates a more informed and inclusive set of ethical, forensic, and therapeutic attitudes.
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.
Oh hello DLs. Missed you.
In the empirical sciences, almost everything is a matter of weighing evidence; outside of geometry, it is rare for scientists to literally prove anything. Rather, the more typical trajectory is to rule out competing theories, and accumulate more and more evidence in favor of particular hypotheses. At some level, all scientists are agnostics, and not just about religion, but about virtually everything. — People. Gary Marcus, has a tumblr you should know about. He’s an NYU professor, writes books and spicy little posts for the New Yorker, like this one: CAN SCIENCE LEAD TO FAITH? Hey, I appreciate a good critique as much as the next guy, I’ve been finding flaws in since 1982… and I like where these things go, but I do like when new ideas, or questions are offered up along side of it. Even if I am the Harry Caray of tumblr.
Adrian Raine on Neurocriminology for the WSJ
The field of neurocriminology—using neuroscience to understand and prevent crime—is revolutionizing our understanding of what drives “bad” behavior.
If early biological and genetic factors beyond the individual’s control make some people more likely to become violent offenders than others, are these individuals fully blameworthy? And if they are not, how should they be punished?
A more profound understanding of the early biological causes of violence can help us take a more empathetic, understanding and merciful approach toward both the victims of violence and the prisoners themselves. It would be a step forward in a process that should express the highest values of our civilization.
Bonus video of Dr. Raine explaining the fMRI images above. Really glad to see his work out there.
The least interesting sound in the universe, probably, is the sine wave. It’s the sound of nothing happening. It’s the sound of perfection, and it’s boring. As David Byrne said in his song, Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens. — Brian Eno, H/T s33light
Badness, madness and the brain – the late 19th-century controversy on immoral persons and their malfunctioning brains
In the second half of the 19th-century, a group of psychiatric experts discussed the relation between brain malfunction and moral misconduct. In the ensuing debates, scientific discourses on immorality merged with those on insanity and the brain. This yielded a specific definition of what it means to be immoral: immoral and insane due to a disordered brain. In this context, diverse neurobiological explanations for immoral mind and behavior existed at the time. This article elucidates these different brain-based explanations via five historical cases of immoral persons. (…) The rendering of the immoral person as brain-disordered is scrutinized in terms of changes in moral agency. Furthermore, a present immoral person is discussed to highlight commonalities and differences in past and present reasoning. [via,IMG]
Same as it ever was.