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View Diary: Sociopaths, Neuroscience, and Morality (139 comments)

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  •  This is my understanding - (5+ / 0-)

    You say:

    For sociopaths, there seems to be a difference in the amygdala, whether in function,  magnitude or something else no one knows,  that suppresses the empathic response.
    I take the opposite approach to the “empathic response” than you.  You say that the “empathic response” is suppressed.  I think of empathy as not being suppressed, but as something that has not yet evolved in certain individuals.

    The brain itself evolved with the sole purpose of survival.  There was a time when empathy was not necessary for survival. There was a time when it was necessary to kill or be killed.  That was the law of the jungle.  No empathy needed.

    However, over time, it became necessary for humans to live in groups to necessitate their survival.  Thus, empathy evolved within the group to facilitate their survival.

    In some people’s brains however, through no fault of their own, the amygdala has not evolved to the point where they are able to feel empathy. So we have what we call sociopaths.

    Perhaps I am entirely wrong about this as I am no expert.  However, that is the way I have always interpreted the strange phenomena of lack of feeling for others.

    By the way, thanks for bringing this subject up.  It is a special interest of mine.

    As Chief Justice John Marshall observed almost two centuries ago, "we must never forget it is a Constitution we are expounding...intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.

    by LynChi on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 02:29:35 PM PDT

    •  I'm not expert either (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynChi, indubitably

      In fact, your wording might very well be better.

      Brains sometimes are like muscles.  Maybe you get better at empathy by being empathetic, just like pecs get bigger after you do bench presses.

      It's a good question, and I bet there's data on it.  

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

      by mathGuyNTulsa on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 03:32:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you are interested in neuroscience . . . (1+ / 0-)
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        mathGuyNTulsa

        you might be interested in “the illusion of free will.”  Sam Harris delves into this topic quite extensively and comes up with some startling conclusions.  Just do a Google search for “Sam Harris free will” and read the numerous articles written about him and his hypothesis.  Interesting stuff.

        As Chief Justice John Marshall observed almost two centuries ago, "we must never forget it is a Constitution we are expounding...intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.

        by LynChi on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 04:53:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "through no fault of their own" (0+ / 0-)

      begs a large philosophical question ;)

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