May 26, 2005
Twins Study Finds Genetic Cause For Psychopathy

Dr. Essi Viding of the London Kings College Institute of Psychiatry and colleagues have found the tendency toward psychopathic behavior has a strong genetic component. (same press release here)

New research on the origins of antisocial behaviour, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggests that early-onset antisocial behaviour in children with psychopathic tendencies is largely inherited.


Dr Viding's research looked into the factors that contribute to antisocial behaviour in children with and without psychopathic tendencies. By studying sets of 7-year-old twins, Dr. Viding and her colleagues were able to pinpoint to what extent antisocial behaviour in these two groups was caused by genetic and/or environmental risk factors.

A sample of 3687 twin pairs formed the starting point for this research. Teacher ratings for antisocial behaviour and psychopathic tendencies (i.e. lack of empathy and remorse) were used to classify the twins. Those who were in the top 10% of the sample for antisocial behaviour were separated into two groups - those with and without psychopathic tendencies.

Following analysis, the results showed that, in children with psychopathic tendencies, antisocial behaviour was strongly inherited. In contrast, the antisocial behaviour of children who did not have psychopathic tendencies was mainly influenced by environmental factors. These findings are in line with previous research showing that children with psychopathic tendencies are at risk to continue their antisocial behaviour and are often resistant to traditional forms of intervention.

For those who recognize the name note that Robert Plomin is one of the co-authors.

Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds (Essi Viding, R. James R. Blair, Terrie E. Moffitt, Robert Plomin) is published in the June 2005 issue of The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The bad kids who feel no remorse are genetically bad.

Preliminary findings from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) indicate that within the early-onset group there are at least two etiologically distinct groups of children. Antisocial behavior in 7-year-old children with callous and unemotional traits is under strong genetic influence, whereas antisocial behavior in children without such personality traits is primarily environmentally mediated.

Such findings of etiological differences are prompting the search for risk genes, as well as highlighting the need to study environmental risk within a genetic framework. It must be emphasized that high heritability is not equivalent to immutability. Better understanding of gene-environment interactions can come to inform successful prevention programs that target young children. These prevention programs may well be different for etiologically distinct subgroups of children at risk for violent and antisocial outcomes.

Psychopathy is strongly genetically infuenced.

Twin studies can help distinguish between genetic and environmental determinants of violence, said Essi Viding of the Institute of Psychiatry in London. In antisocial 7-year-olds with callous and unemotional traits, Viding found, the antisocial behavior was strongly genetic in origin (a group heritability of 80%). If these youths can be identified early, perhaps with a genetic test on cells from a cheek swab, one could target programs for them. "Genes are not a blueprint that determines outcome," said Viding. "Rather, they act together with other risk or protective factors to increase or reduce the risk of disorder."


Antisocial behavior and physical violence, it turns out, are moderately heritable. A recent meta-analysis of behavioral genetic studies estimated that 41% of the variance on antisocial behavior is due to genetic factors, about 16% to shared environmental factors, and about 43% to nonshared environmental factors.


Viding's group is currently trying to find genes associated with callous-unemotional traits. If such genes can be identified, the researchers can explore how environment affects the outcomes of children who carry the genes. For example, they may be able to see whether the same genes place children at risk for both antisocial behavior and hyperactivity. They may also be able to assess how risk genes interact with risk environments throughout development.

Genes are not a blueprint that determines outcome. Genes alone are neither sufficient, nor necessary, in causing the antisocial behavior.

I am highly skeptical of claims that genes alone are never sufficient to cause antisocial behavior. Certainly some genotypes make people more at risk of being violent or antisocial only in response to specific types of environmental influences. But surely other genotypes must make other children born "bad to the bone". Claims that environmental interventions can always override genetic influences strike me as denial. Sorry, sometimes the genome wins.

To put my argument another way: Some people are more genetically determined than others. (and I predict people will become more genetically determined in the future) Some people have genes that make them highly susceptible to programming by environmental influences. But others have genes that make them highly resistant to various types of environmental influences. For example, some people are going to be happy or unhappy regardless of their environment. Others will have moods and motivations that are greatly influenced by disappointments or good fortune. Some will become violent as a result of child abuse. Others will stay pacifist no matter how much abuse they suffer.

Also, in some cases where genes make someone highly susceptible to environmental influences the effect is to make that person more prone to become criminal or otherwise problematic for the rest of us. Genes can make a person prone to going down an undesirable developmental path or so prone to antisocial behavior that without taking some rather severe steps to isolate such people from "the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune" some of them are going to go over to the "dark side of the force". The degree to which they can be triggered by environmental stimuli is so great that the ability of environment to influence them is not a reason for optimism.

Even in cases where one twin becomes a psychopath and the other does not become a psychopath that is not automatic proof that therefore social environment made the difference. Some part of deveopmental outcome is due to random noise. Genes do not perfectly control development. Hardwired differences in brains of twins will be present at birth due to chance. Throw in additional noise in very early childhood and before many social influences are felt genetic and non-genetic but developmentally caused and irreversible (at least with current biotechnology) differences will already be well established.

Genes control the extent to which a person is susceptible to various events in the environment and genes exercise great influence over how a person will respond to abuse as a child or a threat uttered in a bar or other events in a person's life. Genes even control the extent to which developmental outcomes are due to random noise from the environment and from Brownian motion. Hopes that socialization can always compensate for genetic inheritance to prevent antisocial thought patterns and behavior strike me as hopelessly naive.

Once psychopathy as a genetically caused condition becomes accepted and genetic testing and genetic engineering becomes possible do you favor or oppose the use of either genetic testing (for selective abortion) or genetic engineering (perhaps delivered in utero) to prevent the development of psychopaths? Consider your other choices. Early and lifetime institutionalization of kids who are bad to the bone would prevent them from preying on others but conflict with the assumption of "innocent until one has committed a crime", let alone "innocent until proven guilty". The other option is what we do now: let those kids grow up and victimize people before being caught committing crimes. That latter option consigns some people to future victimhood and, worse yet, not all psychopaths are ever caught by the criminal justice system. "Successful psychopaths" with an increased corpus callosum but with a symmetrical hippocampus are much less likely to get caught by the police than psychopaths that also have an asymmetrical hippocampus.

Suppose early environmental conditioning techniques which can reverse psychopathy are discovered. Parentheticaly I'm extremely skeptical of the notion than any socialization practices can counteract the effects of gross differences in brain morphology characteristic of psychopaths. But suppose I'm wrong. Would you favor removing a very young budding psychopath from his parents in order to put him through a social conditioning therapy to reverse his psychopathy?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2005 May 26 08:55 AM  Brain Genetics

Invisible Scientist said at May 26, 2005 11:51 AM:

This study raises some interesting questions about psychoalytic theories of Freud and his followers, who claimed that the bad behavior of many people is really due to the bad treatment they have received from their parents, etc..

Although it is true that most viloent criminals were mistreated by at least one of their parents, perhaps those parents who are cruel enough to mistreat their own children, had something genetically wrong with them in the first place, and they just passed these genes to their own children... Thus this theory might explain the battered child syndrome, to some extent, when those chilren who were mistreated by their parents, often mistreat their own children when they grow up... Perhaps, the final result depends on nature, not nurture. The nervous system is probably inherited to a large extent, even though it is malleable and educable...

Invisible Scientist said at May 26, 2005 1:17 PM:

Randall Parker wrote:
"Suppose early environmental conditioning techniques which can reverse psychopathy are discovered. Parentheticaly I'm extremely skeptical of the notion than any socialization practices can counteract the effects of gross differences in brain morphology characteristic of psychopaths. But suppose I'm wrong. Would you favor removing a very young budding psychopath from his parents in order to put him through a social conditioning therapy to reverse his psychopathy?"

I would say that IF the parents of a potential psychopath, have dangerous behavior in their record, special legislation must be created so that the children are separated from the parents and given to good parents for adoption. After all, genetics is not totally deterministic, it is also probabilistic, in the sense that even the child of a terrible person, has a chance. For instance, the son of the Nazi criminal Dr. Mengele, as well as the son of Rudolf Hess, turned out to be reasonable people, at least on surface.

Engineer-Poet said at May 26, 2005 9:28 PM:

Should it come to pass that genetic tests can pin down the "genetic endowment" for pathologies such as psychopathy, would it rehabilitate the Nazis in the public eye?  That's scary.

More practically, would it lead to mandatory testing for those found to be psychopathic after being picked up for crimes (especially as juveniles) and the encouragement of sterilization in return for more lenient treatment by the courts?  Reducing the genetic contribution of psychopaths to the next generation would cut the incidence, and it is not cruel or unusual to offer a criminal an incentive in return for a reduced sentence.

Lei said at May 27, 2005 12:28 AM:

Why do you think it's necessary to remove potential psycopaths from their parents? If their parents are kind people, they will be an important source of support and love. Someday there will pharmaceutical interventions developed that will help people genetically programmed for psychopathy but not necessarily erase their entire personalities. As usual, the trouble is the slippery slope.

Randall Parker said at May 27, 2005 4:56 AM:


First of all, I do not think any kind of psychotherapy or conditioning could undo psychopathy.

Second, I figure the odds are pretty decent that parents of psychopaths are not as loving as the average parent.

Third, if some form of conditioning could reverse psychopathy then it may be well beyond the resources (both intellectual and financial) to deliver such a therapy.

Fourth, I was putting forth a hypothetical to test how far people are willing to go to reduce the number of psychopaths in a population. Do the interests of the larger public override the interests of the parents?

Braddock said at May 27, 2005 4:59 AM:

A license is required to drive, but not to have children and raise them. How crazy is that? If a child inherited psychopathic tendencies from his parents, the odds of them being dysfunctional and creating a dysfunctional environment are quite high.

Pharmaceuticals today do not correct genetic errors. They cover them up, compensate for them temporarily. Unless the anti-sociopath drugs can be implanted for long term mandatory delivery, the chances are great that the sociopath will only pretend to take them.

Engineer-Poet said at May 27, 2005 5:14 AM:

People would have a disincentive to take drugs which induce pangs of conscience, no?

Licensing for childbearing could be abused in countless ways; it's hard to see how a government could be trusted with such a power unless the qualifications were extremely basic and not subject to bureaucratic discretion.  It's much less problematic to deal with those who go beyond mere dysfunction to criminal acts.

Lei said at May 27, 2005 8:32 AM:

I see what you mean. We already remove kids from unfit parents via foster care and adoption.

(BTW, maybe you want to close the italics in this post because it's causing your whole front page to be italicized.)

James Bowery said at May 27, 2005 10:46 AM:

First of all the word "parent" doesn't appear in the article so they didn't bother looking for intergenerational correlations.

Secondly, I'm skeptical of any claims that autism, homosexuality, psychopathology, etc. are primarily "genetic" given the highly pathological nature of hyperurbanized society.

It seems to me that hypocrisy is one of the primary traits being selected for these days -- and that it takes some refinement to get hypocrisy "right" as a trait. If you aren't highly evolved as a hypocrite, you come of as a sociopath. So it may be what we're seeing is a bunch of kids who are being queued to turn off their moral faculties because they aren't living among kin -- and they just don't have the equipment to compete with the really urbane, cosmopolitan genotypes on that level so they are obviously sociopathic.

Antinomy said at May 27, 2005 3:45 PM:

You can download a pdf of the classic book on psychopathy The Mask of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley:

The following site links to a lot of information on psychopaths:

John Faughnan said at May 28, 2005 9:57 PM:

I believe it was a Canadian psychologist who pointed out a few years ago that many CEOs (in his opinion) met the diagnostic criteria for sociopathic behavior. (I think the description in this posting sounds more like a sociopathic personality disorder; the lack of empathy is characteristic.)

It would be interesting to run the gene tests on a range of CEOs and politicians. I wonder if we'd discover that the gene was not all that rare in very successful and ambitious people. I doubt most of them commit murder. Murder is messy, wasteful, and troublesome. It is the last resort for the talented and well adjusted sociopath and I suspect it's rarely necessary for them.

So what's the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath? I bet a lot of that will turn out to be environmental. Given native talent and a supportive environment the gene carrier becomes a ruthless, self-centered, callous but very successful CEO (perhaps even, thanks to the wonders of the market, a boon to humankind). Given a different environment, or fewer talents, and they become a very nasty sort.

So even here I think we'll find environment has its effects.

Tj Green said at May 29, 2005 2:04 PM:

Psychopathy is an inability to feel fear or anxiety.Unfortunately our human history has been filled with fearless leaders.With a loss of fear and anxiety psychopaths cannot have a conscience(as conscience is driven by anxiety),and therefore they cannot feel guilt or remorse.Psychopathy is a genetic condition.I think we should have a global registration of psychopaths,so we can guide and control them. Malaria has caused the most damage to our species,and after we eradicate malaria,sickle-cell and thalassaemia will continue to be a huge problem.Psychopathy has caused as much,perhaps more damage to our species as malaria.We must spend more on research,so we can give the psychopath the ability to feel fear and anxiety.

Alan Little said at May 30, 2005 12:34 PM:

Invisible Scientist, Braddock: you should think carefully about what you are suggesting. Do you really think a State Eugenics Police with absolute power to decide who does and doesn't get to breed would not be infinitely worse than merely having a few psycopaths wandering around?

"Ah, but *our* State Eugenics Police would use its powers only for wise and benevolent purposes as specified by wise and benevolent people like us. It would prevent all possibility of any future Stalins or Maos arising. There would be no possibility of it ever being taken over by people less wise or benevolent than us, or otherwise abused in any way." Yeah, right.

Randall Parker said at May 30, 2005 12:43 PM:

Alan Little,

Suppose Alan Faughnan is correct and smart well adjusted sociopaths are overrepresented at the top ranks of corporations. Suppose this becomes generally known. Then what happens when genetic engineering of offspring becomes possible? Will people who want successful children genetically engineer their kids to be not only smart but also manipulative, charming, and callous?

Will we need State Eugenics Police to prevent people from having kids who are dominant, manipulative, deceptive, and otherwise equipped to ascend ladders to power?

I don't automatically buy the assumption of your argument that the state is the bigger threat. My fear is that technology will so empower individuals that individuals will constitute the bigger threat.

Think of it this way: Who kills more Americans? Agents of the state or individuals acting on their own? My guess is the latter and individuals kill more than the state kills by orders of magnitude.

Alan Little said at May 30, 2005 1:46 PM:


"Who kills more Americans?" - not a question that deeply bothers me personally since I'm not American, but congratulations anyway on living in a country with currently one of the world's less dangerous and irresponsible governments. If you take a broader view, governments generally beat individuals as murderers by many orders of magnitude. The rise of liberal democracies in places like Europe, North America and India in the last century or two looks like it may be in the course of changing that track record, but the twentieth century suggests that process, if it is happening, is far from complete.

Who would you trust to decide which genetic profiles are going to be deemed unfashionable and doomed to extermination this week? Would you personally drag people with the "wrong" genetic traits off to the forced sterilisation centres?

Randall Parker said at May 30, 2005 4:34 PM:


As for "Who kills more Americans": You could ask the same of Brits or Canadians or Swedes for that matter. What is the ratio of killings by agents of the government versus killings by others? Keep in mind that even in jurisdictions where capital punishment is prohibited police still end up having to kill dangerous criminals.

Regards the question of sterilization, you are missing the gist of my point: Once genetic engineering becomes possible the genotypes of the parents won't limit the genotypes of the offspring. Someone who has genotypes that make them prone to psychopathy could genetically engineer their children to not have such genotypes. At the same time, people who do not have such genotypes could elect to give their children such genotypes. So sterilzation will be irrelevant.

T. J. Madison said at June 1, 2005 3:07 PM:

>>For instance, the son of the Nazi criminal Dr. Mengele, as well as the son of Rudolf Hess, turned out to be reasonable people, at least on surface.

Dr. Mengele wasn't a psychopath. He was an obedient government employee, just following orders like everyone else. Psychopaths are people who murder and steal OUTSIDE THE ACCEPTED CARTEL.

Mia Thompson said at October 21, 2005 5:57 AM:

I would like to pose a question to John Finnighan. I would like to know how you feel on the subject of agorephobia and other mental illnesses in that catagory. I feel you know alot about the subject you were speaking about on May the 28th. However I believe we see things a bit differently if by saying you saying that you think our world leaders are indeed psycopaths. if we are indeed doing the right thing, I believe lack of fear is good and perhaps even necessary in some sitiuations. please get back to me a/s/a/p

Sage said at February 13, 2007 11:18 AM:

“Second, I figure the odds are pretty decent that parents of psychopaths are not as loving as the average parent.” -Randall Parker. I would disagree. As a parent of a child that shown ADHD symptoms by the age of 3, then conduct disorder (a convenient label for antisocial personality due to youth status), bi-polar, and PTSD, despite it all I have provided a nurturing, supportive environment since his age of 2.5 years (father was abusive, and I fled for his (son’s) life). Living quite functionally, two children from first marriage grew to be happy, successful, college educated people now married for a few years, and no children of their own as yet, and my second marriage was to a cunning con artist, who turned out to be abusive, and married to two other women previously and on the run from the law for child support by them. With his child, I have had a long, dark road despite every effort on my part to guide him to be a productive, healthy person. He is not violent to people, but he is a chronic liar, stealer, aggressive to our two dogs, and had set fires. He also has the impulse to steal knives (have to keep everything but the butter knives locked up). I never had any of these things as a part of my own middle-class childhood, yet here I have a son that seems to have it all – all the ills, and I find gratefulness that he is not so far an ax murderer, rapist, or armed robber. I’ve sought help forever from psychiatrists, put him though the legal system to include probation, and therapists for three years that I have never been impressed with. Nothing changes my son’s behavior, even while I show love, balanced discipline to include positive and negative reinforcement, ie; groundings and privilege loss. Meds do help, but we still see aggression toward the dogs, chronic lying, and steals impulsively (mostly from me or within our home). I’ve given him no reason to fear, and he misbehaves fearlessly. What boggles my mind is his reaction when caught red-handed of sneaking (example-stole a kitchen knife and tried to sneak it back into the utility drawer when I announced it was missing) – he gets resentful of his deception being uncovered – there is no sense of guilt, or even shame; just anger and resentment that he was ‘found out’. Considering myself raised as a Roman Catholic (in other words, having enough guilt for ten people) I see my son’s future quite grim, and a threat to society, and I feel helpless after trying everything in my nurturing power to guide him from deviance all his life. Now he is 17, and I see it as one more year of prison left for me. I can’t leave my home because I know it wouldn’t be safe. My freedom hours are his school hours, and probation is the only thing that keeps him there for now. Its genetics, and the two older kids got mine, and the younger one got his fathers. I come to believe that you can’t fight genetics, no matter what a parent will try to do or not. Is he a bona-fide psychopath? Who knows. But his actions are frightening, and indeed future outlook very grim, with much sadness added to my broken heart for this one.

Damon said at February 16, 2007 4:40 AM:

I find it interesting that it was automatically assumed that being a "sociopath" was a bad thing... the author even goes so far as to say "successful sociopaths" simply haven't been caught yet. Few even consider that perhaps rather than "those few that don't get caught" are the excpetion to the violent rule, that the violent Sociopath is the exception, and that the same genetics that makes them callous and decietful is what allows your CEOs and Senators and Generals to make your society work?

Trying to kill this gene would be like trying to get rid of all the Alpha Wolves. The species would die.

Nutmeg said at February 16, 2007 1:25 PM:

I would like to point out that psychopaths are not always violent or criminal. However, they are all a tremendous burden on society. Take for example the psychopath that preys on people to support them financially. This could be a person who lives with friends because they are between jobs or cannot afford a place of their own. They also are known for having terrible credit problems. Their whole goal in life is to satisfy themselves for the here and now with no regard for who they hurt. Only some psychopaths are successful in business, but their personal lives are a mess. Not to mention the people in their lives that are a mess because they have intimate relationships with them. The people they leave in their wake are left with broken lives and hopefully their friends and family will be there to pick up the pieces.

Just from my personal experience and from observation of others, there is no hope that any psychopath will change. I have also seen the parents of adult psychopaths and seen children of psychopathic parents and believe me the apple does not fall far from the tree. Being a psychopath is a bad thing for everyone except perhaps the psychopath themselves -- because frankly they just don't care. If this gene could be eliminated, it would be a great benefit for the whole world.

big tav said at June 13, 2007 1:06 PM:

after reading a study about how clinical psychopaths were ONLY attracted to post-pubescent women, i came to the conclusion that psychopathy must be a gene wishing to replicate itself and that the entire social system set up around the gene are solely intended for this purpose.

Bruno said at July 29, 2007 12:09 PM:

All sociopaths are harmful to society, not only the violent ones. It is physiological, not caused by how the parents raise the child. Read "The Sociopath Next Door". I am the loving, attentive, nurturing mother of a sociopath. Her father is a sociopath whom I left when my daughter was two and a half, thinking that would save her. The cerebral cortex in sociopaths' brains works differently than in non-sociopaths. Also, emotional situations trigger increased temporal lobe activity in sociopaths in the same manner that an algebraic calculations trigger this activity in non-sociopaths. Nothing the parents do will create the right connections and instill conscience.

Frasier Crane said at November 13, 2007 10:22 PM:

I believe that people use the term Sociopath to point out to environmental causes, and Psychopath is the best term to describe a person who is believed to be genetically or biologically predisposed to a lack of emotions, and shows callousness beyond what we see in the "normal" antisocial population.

I do belived Psychopathy (not Antisocial PD) to be biological. These folks are just incapable of feeling fear, or anxiety, or become attached to anyone. That is not mere criminality, this has to be BIOLOGICAL. It is not a "learned behavior." You can't coherse anyone to stop feeling anxiety or fear!

Now the question is, what to do with these folks? They've tried hospitalizing them but it does not work, psychotherapy seems to make them worse. There is no known medication that can give emotions to someone who doesn't have them. Maybe at some point in time there will be, who knows? Once they are able to pinpoint the location of abnormality in the brain.

And it's not caused by the parents. Whoever said that is just wrong. Could it be inherited by someone in the family? maybe, but that doesn't mean the immediate parents will have it!

pathwhisperer said at July 27, 2008 1:04 PM:

Any further developments along these lines? Do you know of any candidate genes for psychopathy/sociopathy? Research seems to have slowed down.

worried mom said at September 23, 2008 9:09 AM:

We've just adopted twin babies from a mother I believe with every ounce of my being, to being textbook sociopath.
Is this genetically passed equally from a mother and father?
and what info is there available for us?
any help appreciated

worried mom

Cynthia Hoffman said at September 29, 2008 2:38 AM:

To worried mom:

Though I can't answer with scientific certainty your question "Is this (sociopathy) genetically passed equally from a mother and father?", given my mother is a sociopath, I can only relate my personal experience. Neither my sister nor myself inherited any genetic trait from our mother indicating sociopathy given we are capable of empathy and genuine emotions (and our mother is an extreme sociopath). I only recently learned (and I'm 51 now) that my mother's grandfather was a violent man and he was likely a sociopath too. My maternal grandmother (his daughter) suffered from severe depression and I believe her father likely sexually abused her when she was a child. Though I never saw any sociopathic behavior that I can recall from my grandmother, it could be because my grandfather was a kind, decent man who maybe kept her a bit under control in that department. Therefore, it is quite possible that your children did not inherit their mother's bad genealogy.

Lastly, if you and your husband are allowing the children's mother in their lives in ANY capacity, I have this advice: DON'T!!! Given her mental condition she will try to undermine the mental health of anyone she knows, especially her bio-children. Do what you have to in order to keep this woman away from you and your family. If you and your husband's kindness allowed this woman into your life - slowly wean her out of it. Never ever leave her alone with the children - even if she is a convenient babysitter. MOVE if necessary. At some point she will want to contact the children when they are older and if you allow this to happen only do so when they are old enough to understand their mother is not mentally healthy, so they don't take it personally. Good luck - you will need it.

worried mom said at September 30, 2008 8:05 AM:

Thank you so much for taking the time to write that.
Their bio mother is a distant relative of mine, an adoptee herself
and she has told one lie too many...... she has crossed me and my family in a really extreme way....meaning we have thoroughly removed her from our lives. Her risky behavior has left us with a tremendous amount of ammo
and she is utterly terrified I will tell our family much of what she has done
so we are in a very good position in that regard.

You have given me some hope, for this I am extremely grateful.

Shannon Hand said at May 10, 2009 8:58 PM:

The Father of my two children I know' is indeed a psychopath and so is his' Father. You have no idea what the children and I have endured he last 5 years. The family court system and the criminal system in Canada are like apples and oranges? I need the Bill 89 (Kevin and Jareds Law) to be passed NOW!
He has been diagnosed with an adjustment disorder but not psychopathy (yet). This person has turned our lives upside down and I am getting so very past worn, I have detectives on my case, exhausted every service available, waived child support for years in hope that he will follow through with therapy, I have literally done it all!

He is taking me to Family court for the 7'th time for these little girls that he does not love and they don't want to be with him either??? They are so confused (like me) because ne minute he is absolutley fabuolous and the next minute extrememly impulsively violent? One day it is okay to jump on Daddy a week later they have to ask for permission to touch him or he will flip - yet Daddy still looks like the same Daddy that was nice just a bit ago?

My God - let there be a light at the end of this devistating dark vortex (please) all I have left is HOPE~

I need to respond to his lawyer in 4 days , (he gets legal aid (while working under the table)and I work for a living legitmately raising 3 girls on my own sloey and can't get legal aid) and I have no money at all (paycheck to paycheck).

I have wrote parliment.. I have done it all. The CCAS (childrens aid) states that he should have no access also, they want me to give up everything and everyone and hop shelter to shelter taking my chances that he wont find me and drag me back to court risk him getting custody and me with kidnapping? Or they said my other option is to give my girls up inorder to protect them from him??? These are my choices? The Judges here will never say No access to him and supervised visits can't last forever? It will be too late for anything if that monster hurst them... I will finally snap and kill him - I can't risk it! These poor lil' children..... breaks my heart and I am at a standstill here on what to do- I am afraid of him, afraid of the courts just plain afraid and I can't loose my mind because thats what he wants and where will my kids be then? I worry already about my 5 year old he has taught her how to mainpulate people... I can't raise a third generation Psychopath - I just cant.

Please is there any other choice here for my 2 and 5 and 16 year old girls... I am thier Mother and this bastard is ripping the life right out of us all, I don't know what to do here? I need a miracle or his Karma to come now. As I stay up another night because he has esculated again and been put on intense probation. Oh by the way is he violent_ YES, knowcked me unconcious, pulled a 2 year olds arm out of socket X2, I mostly got it because I would step in to protect the children, choked many times, welted with objects, you name it! I need a gun to protect the children and myself?

Please let there be an angel somewhere in this world that can help my children and me... Please let there be an angel to help us.
We are really good people trying to basically escape the devil himself and It is not easy.


Bigbrokenheart said at July 23, 2009 12:14 AM:

There may be a genetic factor, but having a crazy parent does not mean you will necessarily inherit or manifest the trait, and I cannot endorse mandatory genetic testing, let alone any of the totalitarian nightmares some people are espousing here.

One of my family members is a dangerously sick individual. The others are all normal, good people--one is even saintly (not me). We don't know what happened to the bad one to trigger this, if anything. Perhpaps it was genes combined with some unfortunate events. We may never know. It's possible that all of us "good" people in the family also carry the gene, if one exists, yet we did not turn out the same way.

My family member spent years secretly doing incredibly sick things, while successfully concealing it and leading an apparently normal life. We just learned what really happened, and we don't know what to do. Is there any hope for getting these people help? We love this person despite what happened, and are seeking some kind of humane treatment.

Any advice? Humane advise only, please--we've already heard all the "toss 'em in the trash" lines, and are pursuing another route.

Thank you,


prioris said at July 30, 2009 1:43 PM:

i would give you some advice but i just noticed a sociopath moderator removed my post

i would search for another place to post for help

Nick said at March 15, 2010 6:49 PM:

I'm very tired of this stigma attached to psychopathy, I am a Sociopath, and I have never harmed another person, nor do I desire to, nor have I mutilated or killed animals, I may not feel emotions like the majority of people, but I still abide by logic and the rules of society. Though I will concede that most serial killers are sociopaths, few sociopaths are serial killers.

TJ said at May 18, 2010 12:52 AM:

Nick the fact that you even care about a "stigma" attached to psychopathy probably means you are not a psychopath/sociopath, because they don't care. I think you are just a troll. Though chances could be you are a lying psychopath/sociopath, that even though you didn't hurt anyone physically, you cause harm to your enviroment and still is a risk to society. Just take a look at psychopath/sociopath destroy companies, the economy, etc with their greed. For example madoff.

RH said at August 11, 2010 8:24 PM:

Can a sociopath have even the tiniest shred of a conscience? My ex-husband is considered to be a sociopath, and has shown pleasure in hurting people and animals. He married me, it turned out, for revenge on an ex, and to avoid deportation for crimes he committed, of which which I had no prior knowledge. During the four horrible months before I left him, he was a textbook sociopath except for one occasion: After our wedding, which was a beautiful religious ceremony, we were alone in our hotel room. I expressed some sadness at having to move away from all my dear friends who had been so helpful with the wedding. He suddenly appeared to be panicking, and said, in a frightened voice: "What have I done? I've married this innocent girl and I'm taking her away from people who love her!" He quickly snapped out of it, but he appeared, for a moment, to be genuinely freaked out. That was the most genuine-looking emotion I've ever seen from him (aside from rage--the honeymoon's kind of over when your spouse starts threatening to kill you), and, though it may have been part of an act, I don't see how acting panic-stricken and guilty could have benefited him. Has anyone else ever experienced or observed a sociopath with even the faintest flicker of a conscience? Or is it impossible?

gagoonies said at September 23, 2010 11:22 PM:



You are in error.

If anyone is to be done away with it shall be you. Who after all is spiritually stronger?

You or us CRAZIES? You call us crazy because we don't do as you tell us to. We don't do as you say because you are not our leaders. You are unworthy.

Just give it up or we will take it.


You are frightened & terrified to death of us. Good, be afraid. We are mighty!

gagoonies said at September 23, 2010 11:32 PM:

Children ask yourselves...


Hmmm said at October 1, 2010 11:28 AM:

"If anyone is to be done away with it shall be you. Who after all is spiritually stronger?"

What would parasites like you do without a host?

gagoonies said at October 1, 2010 1:35 PM:

Your mistaken.

Worship me and I will actually attempt to answer your prayers unlike your imaginary invisible friend living in the sky.

hmmm... filthy psychlo

The kids are alright & they dont need wackjobs like you pathetics who took some bullshit psychology course & now feel they are experts at determining the motives of others. Forcing change down other's throats at knife point because they refuse to fit into your ill begotten molds causing generational abuse. All people like you are doing is injecting your negativity selfishly into others, it is you who are the parasite. Your evil is not being propagated into the next generation. Your place is in the shadows to dwell in the ruins of decay until oblivion takes you from the cold gutter where you belong. Perhaps your rotting carcass might serve as sustenance for greater beings than yourself. The things that squirm, crawl, and buzz.

If one requires medicine. Do not rely on or trust an abusive inhuman system created by the mentally inferior such as. The retards who were deemed acceptable by the spiritually corrupted system to digest the words of fools in schools designed to retard the minds of true genius. While idiots like yourself were busy copying those foolish words rocking back & forth in fit on command of your abusers desire, distorting your own perceptions with redundant beliefs because you are born into it, mental bondage. While humans live free outside breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the sounds of bird song, and relishing the sunrise. Without care for the silly childish lessons you learn because they experience reality in all its glory. Do you not hear their laughter from outside the fading totalitarian regime's walls, we mock the cause of your suffering which is ignorance while pitying you. Waiting for a change of heart, hoping you gain your sight.

Warning do not consume the poisons peddled by psychlo filth. Those silly papers displayed under glass in their office mean nothing. Take these medicines instead & be cured. These are sacred plant teachers, they will guide your spiritual apotheosis if you honor & show them respect as many others. They are living gods. You who reads this have a choice, will you continue being force fed poisons apart of an involuntary eugenics program being run by primitive savages. Providing you a mental lobotomy, hastening destruction of yourself or will you see the truth for what it is.

psilocybin mushrooms
amanita muscaria mushrooms
kava kava
sand pedro cactus
coca leaves

Tell me fool, who is my host if I am a parasite? Do you not have an answer if so then you were speaking redundantly. Meaning you never really had anything to say at all. Just lapping up the attention of others. You are a psychic parasite then. Recognize your error & be free of it. So, who am I the parasite of? Explain what you are saying even though it makes no sense and has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Explain yourself to defend your hollow words without substance, speak up loudly to your king that he might hear you and be entertained jester.

IF ANYONE IS TO BE DONE AWAY WITH SHALL BE THE LIKES OF YOU. ;-) I SUGGEST YOU FOLKS TAKE YOUR HOOKED NOSES OUT OF OTHERS BUSINESS. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT! They dont need any help from the lowly likes of you driven by your grotesque fears. You need only do your duty & be responsive to them for you have nothing to fear but fear itself fools.

You are not leaders, but fiends who poison others wells with your psychic screeching. Keep taking those pills that we might be free of you sooner.

patria michael said at May 16, 2011 11:42 PM:

I do not know why this blog has become inactive. There is very important information on it. This seemingly crazy writer toward the end is a reptilian. They do not often directly share this information. he directly talks about the worship of his god, (satan) I have been targeted by psychopaths and my life virtually destroyed. Psychopaths are reptilian-possessed humans. They are strategically placed to destroy the best of humanity. He is right, the demonic lord rewards generously and quickly. Look around. The true God and Creator seems to be slow and neglectful. Psychopaths are warriors for the dark side.

Nives said at May 17, 2011 7:03 AM:

Well Patria Michael, I am also wondering why this blog died.. let’s awaken it.

I recently fell in love with a psychopath. Once I found out that he was false, a chronic liar and cheater, running after my money only I surprised him with ending the three monthly “relationship” by throwing him out of my apartment (how could I have let him in after no time in first place?) and demanding my money back in exchange to his personal belongings. I have repelled all belittling and further manipulative efforts and narrowed the communication tunnel down - to my bank account only. There is silence.

Since, I have read Cleckley (The mask of Sanity), Hare (Without Consciousness), Martha Stout (the sociopath next door) and Hirigoyen (Le Harcèlement Moral: la violence perverse au quotidien).

I am interested in newest research on the question if psychopathy (or call it sociopathy or antisocial behaviour) is inherited. This area has not been covered in any of the standard books thoroughly; it has only vaguely been stated that both genes and social influences contribute.

Well, I found this a vague and rather inconsequent comment. If the tendency to p. is largely inherited, as stated on the beginning of this blog related to findings of Dr. Essi Viding, in which case we should stop blaming it on the environment and nursing persons, then a gene defiance must be found. Or are developments in brain activity, an increase corpus collosum, the only scientific finding so far?

To cite Randell Parkers blog comment which I highly support:
I am highly skeptical of claims that genes alone are never sufficient to cause antisocial behavior. Certainly some genotypes make people more at risk of being violent or antisocial only in response to specific types of environmental influences. But surely other genotypes must make other children born "bad to the bone". Claims that environmental interventions can always override genetic influences strike me as denial. Sorry, sometimes the genome wins.

He is absolutely right, in my view. But I am a layperson only and hope to find some comments or links which illuminate the actual research on the “inherited” theory.

Tony Lee Roy Hunt said at June 9, 2011 10:55 AM:

Hello, my name is Tony Lee Roy Hunt. I agree that evironmental situations need to be given more credit in the creation of psychopathy. The general population's inability to comprehend the dramatic influence of just a few psycho's in the general population of society. This very simple math equation can explain the "creation" of what could be classified as a "psycho virus".2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512... Over time, there are so many people affected by the social inapropriate behavior, that it becomes "normal". Little things, like talking in the library, not using manners, not washing your hands. A continuous bonbardment of slander in every aspect of a persons life. Spreading lies and rumars to help the Corporate Judicial Machine. Creating psychopaths with false witness testimony, and just ugly behavior towards people that are known to exibit violent behavior in response to aggravating or physical violence. Using a Human's natural self defense mechanism as a way to control population through incarceration. Law enforcement allowing only the people that agree to advance the Corporate Judicial Machine to have a voice or a voice that is heard. Simply overexagerating situations and making only public those situations that have a result of incarceration.

kim said at July 18, 2011 12:10 AM:

rely a psychopath is not created by an abuse or lack of love by ones parent some people are just born lyk that i know someone who parents love him and would do anything for there child but he still was a psychopath and lacked remorse for others and had no concern about anyone ealse but him self so i think some of us are looking at it from the wrong angle psychopaths r not all that bad that we make them out to be some can be good ppl just a different personality i think psychopath are like a different kind of animal.cuz they are different just cuz someone doesnt act a certen way lyk everybody ealse doesnt mean that there bad killing has nothing to do wit a psychopath if one kills they are simply evil but not all psychopath people kill

john said at October 30, 2011 6:12 AM:

my x wife roberta pick manchester nj is a psychopath who tricked me, she marry then cheat with a spic steal coins , checks, robbed grandfather and lie all the way. now my son is a psychopath scum 3 wives later , i no longer talk to the monsters since learning psychopaths are all over the place jews promote it cause they are nasty scum psychopaths that HITLER had the only cure ,,, death to the scum bev kulha kim karen paul kulha all manchester psychopath scum..

Henry said at November 19, 2011 12:34 AM:

^^^John you yourself sound like a psychopath with violent racist tendencies. The fact that you admire Hitler for trying to kill jews show your psychopathic behavior. You try to claim your wife, her parents, your son, and jews as psychopaths but you are the one who believe that the genocide of a entire ethnic group of innocent millions is a cure. That is evil and psychopathic.

Abraham L. Halpern said at December 4, 2011 9:46 AM:

Taking into account all the comments written above, there is no question in my mind that the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition [DSM-5], due to be published in 2013, should include a distinct category, "Psychopathic Personality Disorder," separate and apart from "Antisocial Personality Disorder." In other words, it's time for the "Cleckley psychopath" to be officially acknowledged as having a personality disorder that's clearly different from that of the vast majority of individuals who meet the diagnostic criteria for "Antisocial Personality Disorder."

boss said at January 14, 2012 10:45 PM:

Psychiatrists are mentally deficient defective failed human beings.

Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock...etc.

Gagoonies ;-))

gagoonies said at February 13, 2013 11:56 PM:

If you are being attacked/poisoned/harassed by psychiatric services, document what is happening to you.

Identify those participating in such crimes against humanity for future posterity.

Gather information about them & post it on the internet.
Include there photos, names, phone numbers, home addresses, places of work, family members, and any other available information.

They fear being exposed to the light of day.

nikki said at June 23, 2014 3:03 PM:

My theory is the psychopathy is a gene that either we are born with or not born with. If you are born with it, it can be either active or non-active but become active due to a traumatic event in life. If you are born with the active gene, you are born a sociopath, but if you are born with the gene non-active and it becomes active, you are a psychopath. I don't believe gene is the correct word to use though, I believe it is more of a developmental issue in the brain at birth. If there can be a way to detect it at birth, then future killers and dangerous people could be helped at a young age.

Herb Ruhs said at November 25, 2014 2:29 PM:

Gosh, what a punitive group! Having dealt with a variety of psychopaths over the years, I can assure you that all that needs to be done is screen people seeking jobs where they can cause harm with readily available fast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI would have failed.. Corporate boards and CEOs of large corporations, anyone with an ambition to be involved in the legal system, including electoral candidates, and so forth, would have to have evidence of a good brain to do things that place them with power over the weak. The only psychopath I knew well (we were in the same physician training program) was a practicing serial killer of premature infants when I knew her. Any attempt to have screened her out of the profession that did not use fMRI . Everyone wants to imagine the perpetrator of crime as threatening, which is the salvation of psychopaths and other Confidence Criminals worldwide. The most dangerous person you will ever meet (and hopefully escape the consequences) will have the most winning smile.

Herb Ruhs, MD

Herb Ruhs said at November 25, 2014 2:35 PM:

Sorry, I am reposting this because I was not smart enough to realize that that stupid Captch does not recognize spaces (that are clearly there - accident?)

Gosh, what a punitive group! Having dealt with a variety of psychopaths over the years, I can assure you that all that needs to be done is to screen people seeking jobs where they can cause harm, with readily available fast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Corporate boards and CEOs of large corporations, anyone with an ambition to be involved in the legal system, including electoral candidates, and so forth, would have to have evidence of a good brain to do things that place them in positions with power over the weak. The only psychopath I knew well (we were in the same physician training program) was a practicing serial killer of premature infants when I knew her. Trust me, any attempt to screen her out of the profession that did not use fMRI would have failed. Everyone wants to imagine the perpetrator of crime as threatening, which is the salvation of psychopaths and other Confidence Criminals worldwide. The most dangerous person you will ever meet (and hopefully escape the consequences) will have the most winning smile.

Herb Ruhs, MD

Dayana Capulong said at April 14, 2015 6:51 AM:

To Randall Parker,
After reading your article titled, “Twins Study Finds Genetic Cause For Psychopathy,” I have a couple questions regarding the claims present in this article.
First, what is the criteria for measuring the extent of psychopathic tendencies in a child? This article circulates around a twin study intended to distinguish between genetic influences with environmental influences within antisocial behavior. How this distinction was made, is unclear yet this claim is fundamental in leading to the rest of the claims present in this article. How are we able to tell the difference between something as a result of genes vs the environment within antisocial behavior and psychopathy specifically? You further clarify that psychopathic tendencies are essentially the lack of empathy and remorse in a child and in doing so link the existence of these traits as something inherently bad in the agent, as in antisocial behavior plus psychopathic tendencies lead to violent or harmful people in society. A mentioning of the importance of environmental influence is present as you explain, “Some people have genes that make them highly susceptible to programming by environmental influences. But others have genes that make them highly resistant to various types of environmental influences.” But even this claim suggests that the genome conquers above all. Your overarching claim that psychopathy is genetically influenced creates a dichotomy between those with good genes and those with bad. This results in a definite distinction between two groups under a basis of the genome. My question now is why was this a good question to ask? Why do we need this distinction and what does this mean if we do indeed confirm a strong genetic link to psychopathy? Is this further reason to discriminate those with the ‘bad’ psychopathic gene? A claim like this demands evidence in that it’s implication can cause a distinct shift as to how society treats and handles those with antisocial behavior and genetic psychopathic tendencies.
Which leads me to a final note of inquiry and the idea of genetic control via genetic testing as selective abortion and genetic engineering. This article states:
“Early and lifetime institutionalization of kids who are bad to the bone would prevent them from preying on others but conflict with the assumption of "innocent until one has committed a crime", let alone "innocent until proven guilty". The other option is what we do now: let those kids grow up and victimize people before being caught committing crimes. That latter option consigns some people to future victimhood and, worse yet, not all psychopaths are ever caught by the criminal justice system.”
Again, the above statements causes me to question the direct link between psychopathic tendencies as bad and detrimental to society? Is it okay to have this much power over a portion of society seemingly genetically linked to violence and crime? What are the alternative ways that society can coexist with these people and aid in their success vs their societal isolation?
These questions are part of my participation in the Ask For Evidence campaign in which those participating further investigate claims and evidence in scientific conversations. I found this claim an interesting one to look in to due to its weight in sculpting the perception and treatment of this specific discourse community.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Dayana Capulong

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