Identifying Pre-psychopathic Behavior

Monday was the ten-year anniversary of Columbine, and while most of the retrospectives were fairly dull, MSNBC put together a pretty interesting piece about the ongoing effort to identify psychopathic (and specifically sociopathic) behavior in teens and children. It seems kind of ridiculous, at this point, to hear a psychologist say that the Columbine shooters may have had psychopathic tendencies, but that’s the whole point–they’re actively doing research that may someday enable us to make that claim before a massacre, rather than after, so we can get in there and help the kid out. Very cool stuff.

9 Responses to “Identifying Pre-psychopathic Behavior”

  1. L.T. Elliot says:

    I’m glad to hear that they’re still researching and working on this issue. It was a terribly tragedy for both the victims and perpetrators. I’ll check out your link. Thank you.

  2. Arlene says:

    Really good article, Dan. I wonder what the coming years of studies will find.

  3. Callisto says:

    As a student who’s currently taking a genetics class, I hesitate to jump on board with this “psychopath gene” stuff. Genetics and its relationship to the environment is complicated. We have barely scratched the surface of understanding how the human genome controls traits like personality, allergies, same-sex attraction, or even our metabolisms, let alone psychopathy.

    Psychologists and doctors have to tread lightly when approaching this subject. I mean, if some doctor tells a child he has to undergo a lifetime of counseling because he shows the traits of a psychopath, one can imagine that kid would grow up with a pretty distorted self-image. Self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone? And that’s not even taking into account the ethicality of genetic analysis…

    Needless to say, this is a complicated subject and I’ve droned long enough.

  4. Callisto says:

    Thanks for posting, though, Dan. It WAS an interesting article, and I’ve emailed the link to my professor. I wonder what she’ll have to say about this.

  5. Arlene says:

    I’m always skeptical when it comes to the latest studies. It seems like scientists are proving themselves wrong as frequently as they prove themselves right.

  6. admin says:

    That’s true, but you have to remember that Psychology is not a “hard” science like, say, chemistry. We can talk to someone, and observe their behavior, and intuit what we think is probably going on inside their mind, but in very few cases is it really possible to know for sure. But what makes it difficult is also, naturally, what makes it so interesting.

  7. Sean says:

    Well to be honest Chem theories tend to change every couple decades too. Plum Pudding Model anyone :P

  8. Arlene says:

    Dan! You’re at Storymakers! Have fun, wish I could be there.

  9. Arlene says:

    I gave your book to two of my friends in the last three weeks. Although I told Donna not to read it because she has issues with crazy stalker stories. However, she’s telling me that she might be able to handle it, especially considering the superior writing.

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