One of the most intriguing and frequently debated topics in mental health and psychopathic traits is whether or not all psychopaths are more prone to violent behaviors. While neuroscientists have spent a lot of time studying the brain of psychopaths and that of his own to find that biology such as stem cells, genetics, and other growth factors play a role in psychopathy.
While there is still huge debate on nature vs. nurture, scientists have found that psychopathic individuals tend to possess certain genetic alleles and have also lacked some developmentally necessary nurturing to develop empathy as a child. This leads to the question of whether or not all psychopathic individuals are in fact violent.
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Not All Psychopaths Are Criminals
There is a huge misconception that a majority of psychopaths are murderous killers who stalk prey and are eventually caught. For those who have this vision, it is easy to assume that a majority of psychopaths are criminals who are currently serving longer-term sentences in prison. Studies released in the Legal and Criminological Psychology journal show that about 1 percent of general population is psychopathic and about 25 percent of populations in Federal detention facilities.
While many prisoners in the system do have personality disorders, there is a huge population of society who go to work day in and day out and also possess psychopathic traits. They could be service members, law enforcement officers, lawyers, and even business executives. In fact, it is not uncommon to see professionals with personality disorders succeed in their field occupationally and even interpersonally for at least the short term because they possess qualities needed to climb the ladder quickly.
Are Most Psychopaths Violent?
Not all psychopaths are criminals and not all are violent offenders either. While many who suffer from psychopathic personality disorders are seen are these individuals portrayed in media and movies, it is not the majority. Not all violent offenders are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are violent, however, it is easier for psychopaths to rape, murder, and assault genetically speaking because psychopaths lack transmitters that would make them emotional or empathetic for their actions. Other traits of psychopathy include sexual deviance, power, and egocentrism according to Psychology Today.
Predicting the Likelihood of Violence
When a violent offender in prison is coming up for release, they will face a parole board to determine whether or not the offender is remorseful and has been rehabilitated. If it is not safe for a violent offender to be released back into society, they will not be released because of the risk it poses.
According to Reuters London, assessors in charge of predicting how likely it is for the psychopathic offenders have found that the tools used on offenders without personality disorders are useless for predicting the likelihood a psychopath will re-offend. The tests that are used have limitations and data shows that the instruments were less than 50 percent accurate at predicting if a prisoner would re-offend prior to release.
There is still a lot that is unknown about anti-social and other personality disorders. While a huge population of violent offenders are psychopaths, not all who suffer from these traits are prone to being aggressive or violent. Studies show this could have to do with nurturing offsetting the genetic qualities that are beyond our biological control. More is to be learned about psychopaths and what percentage tend to be prone to violence as experts say there is no real way to predict how likely a psychopath is to be a risk to society.