What does everyone think of this article from The New York Times on "psychopathy" in children?
It's certainly interesting and, if it turns out that psychopathy is a real medical disorder, it's good if we're detecting it early. But I'm also worried about the implications of this. I've seen some calls in the Facebook comments on this article and such that we should start sterilizing psychopaths or locking them up pre-emptively and, yeah, that would be pretty terrible if you got the diagnosis wrong. (Not that I think those are real possibilities, but there could be other cases where people overreact to this.)Originally Posted by The New York Times
Also, it seems like a lot of the criteria here to distinguish psychopaths are really close to other disorders, like autism. I mean, autistic kids aren't going to be showing the more obvious signs they describe in the article, like cutting off the family pet's tail "just to see how it reacts," but how does one pin down what looks like "a lack of remorse or empathy" to actually lacking those things as opposed to just having difficulty expressing them (as is often the case in autistic children)? Empathy - which is different from merely being sympathetic, but requires you to be able to put yourself in the other person's shoes and really feel for them - is also a rather complex emotion that I wouldn't think we should expect out of young children necessarily. They seem to be trying to distinguish it from other disorders, but I still think it's a leap to say that acting one way when you're a little kid and your brain isn't fully developed means you are destined to act that way later - at least, without a brain scan to show they actually do have a lack of activity in the amygdala and other genetic, hardwired characteristics associated with psychopathy.
Also: "Like, we worry about hurting others, because we feel empathy. Or we worry about other people not liking us. Or we worry about getting caught. When you start to take away those inhibitors, I think that’s when you end up with psychopathy." Did anybody else think of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory here?