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Psychopaths and shallow affect?

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Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby slither » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:48 am

From Wikipedia:

Psychopaths do not feel emotions as deeply as normal people. Though they are not completely unemotional, their emotions are so shallow that some clinicians have described them as mere "proto-emotions: primitive responses to immediate needs."[37]

Psychopaths do not feel fear as deeply as normal people and do not manifest any of the normal physical responses to threatening stimuli. For instance, if a normal person were accosted in the street by a gun-wielding mugger, he might sweat, tremble, lose control of his bowels or vomit. A psychopath would feel no such sensations, and are often perplexed when they observe them in others.[38] Psychopaths' lack of fear make them often reckless risk-takers. This is not to say they are oblivious to the potential consequences of their actions. Rather, the thought of pain and punishment does not provoke an emotional reaction in them and thus has a weak restraining effect.[39]

Psychopaths do not feel love and are incapable of forming emotional bonds with people. Though a psychopath can sometimes charm a person into being infatuated with him, he cannot reciprocate the feelings, only feign them. Though they derive pleasure from sexual encounters, these relations are superficial and impersonal.[40]

Although psychopaths do not feel deep emotions, they often claim to experience them. However, their fabricated descriptions of their fictitious emotions are often flawed. Their choice of words may be incongruous with the context or their tone of voice. For instance, a psychopath may express grief over the recent death of a parent, but deliver his words in a monotone voice that betrays his indifference. Psychopaths may often put on short-lived, dramatic displays of emotion, such as fits of rage, only to quickly revert to a calm state moments later. This often leaves some observers with the impression that they are play- acting.[41]

In conversations, psychopaths cannot intuitively understand the impact their words should have on others or themselves. They instead read their listeners' reactions for cues as to how they should emote. For instance, Hare writes of a convicted murderer who described his murders in a totally dispassionate, bland manner until he noticed the horrified expression of the interviewer, at which point he started feigning remorse and distress over his crimes.[42]

Researchers have conducted brain scans on psychopaths while exposing them to emotionally-charged words such as "rape", "murder", and "love". In a normal person, these words will provoke activity in the limbic system, which governs emotions. Psychopaths showed no such activity. They react to emotionally-charged words as if they were neutral words (e.g. "tree", "chair", "spoon"). They do, however, show activity in the brain areas associated with language processing, suggesting that their response is more cognitive than emotional.


Does this seem accurate?

On a day to day basis, how do you experience emotions? Can you identify them? How long do they typically last? Do you ever feel physical symptoms such as increased heart rate or breathing?
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby Tempest88 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:53 am

It's pretty accurate for me, except I would say I am bonded with with my kids... maybe differently then a normal person would be, I don't know.

Situations in which a non would respond with an increased heart rate, trembling, sweating etc... I don't experience those physical symptoms. I can get startled by something unexpected and jump (generally when people like my kids, hide around corners in my house and jump out at me lol) but I never get an increased heart rate at those moments either.

Day to day I experience either severe frustration or anger (maybe they're the same thing, not sure) with people when I'm out and about, they always get in my way and I really hate that... I'd really like to seriously hurt them. It's very fleeting though... once I've left the situation the feeling is gone. How I experience it? It's a feeling in my arms and legs and as I stated, I want to hurt who is in my way.. mainly to show them they can't get in my way lol... it's how I feel and think while in the situation. It seems petty and stupid once I'm removed from the situation and the feeling it gone.

I think I experience a content feeling with my children and they're being good, not fighting with each other and not being overly emotional. It feels like a calm content feeling in my head and lasts while I'm in the situation. I identify it as it's much different then anger/frustration and also different then the flat feeling that I experience the majority of the time.

Those are the three I can identify, and that I am aware of.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby marycarterpaint » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:19 am

slither wrote: For instance, if a normal person were accosted in the street by a gun-wielding mugger, he might sweat, tremble, lose control of his bowels or vomit. A psychopath would feel no such sensations, and are often perplexed when they observe them in others.

nonpsychopaths do not typically lose bowel control or vomit under stress, even when the bullets are flying (as far as I know), and a psychopath (who is mugging someone) would likely not be surprised or perplexed if the muggee was sweating, had a rapid heartbeat, or even had a heart attack.

that being said, I believe that a psychopath under extreme duress (damn, i hate to use such a sloppy, ill defined term, prefer 'fear disordered', a group of which the psychopath is a subset)
1. will remain dead¹ calm (in fact, much more calm than otherwise) and completely focused
2. is not inhibited by social conditioning, but will take the shortest path² to eliminate the threat

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
- Nietzsche

¹ oh, a pun! thankgod, that proves i'm not a psychopath, cuz they dont have a sense of humor!
² omigod, another one! 8)
I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby december » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:11 am

marycarterpaint wrote:He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
- Nietzsche
)


This quote terrifies me. Many a time I have considered this.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby Greatexpectations » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:15 am

Tempest
It's pretty accurate for me, except I would say I am bonded with with my kids... maybe differently then a normal person would be, I don't know.

I'm glad you have bonded with your kids. I only know one person I would describe as a true psychopath (high functioning) he has no empathy, absolutely none. He does not love his children, he did provide for them very well financially and was never violent to them, but love did not come into it.
It was more like duty, he (in his opinion) did his duty.
He spent little time with his family, between work and his numerous affairs there was no time left.
He has no interest in them at all. Sad cos they love him, or used to I think they might have given up now.
You seem to love your children. Perhaps you are not a total psychopath? To love your kids there must be some empathy there somewhere?
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby Obviously » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:45 pm

I was too lazy to put it into words, so here is a picture with some of my scores from taking a Sex ID test from BBC a while back.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby Poke » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:37 pm

Modulation of my voice used to be a problem for me. I work in sales, now, so learning how to convey emotions through my voice was key. I'm usually aware that I'm doing it, and when I was drinking and having dinner with some co-workers, they said I was a good actress. That I look so sincere when I demonstrated how I speak with customers.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby Tempest88 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:03 pm

Greatexpectations, It's completely possible I'm not a total psychopath, I also have a very good sense of humor and I've heard some day that psychopaths don't, I don't know if that's true or not.

As far as my parenting goes it's only been since I was diagnosed that I've been working on my parenting and spending more time with my children. I've always provided for them but, I've not always been there for them. It's been about the last 18 months that I've been making the effort to really do things with them and work on truly enjoying their company, before then I was too busy with my own games to be bothered with them, my mom was doing nearly 100% of everything with them for a few years. She moved in with me when my ex and I split and she still picks up the slack where I drop it, which I still do from time to time, I need to be able to turn around and walk away when my violent urges towards them get bad, I cannot seem to get myself to a point where I can put up with much of the whole tantrum/crying thing that kids do, I get very irritable when they get playing too loud but I am learning to control that part better. I was told in therapy to tell myself and others I love my children etc and the idea will get imprinted on me. I tell my kids I love them, I don't feel the love, but again.. I always add the 'in my own way', regardless of what the motivation is.

I believe I've said this before in another thread, but if one of them died tomorrow... I'm not sure if I would or could cry. My oldest, along with Aspergers, has a rare condition that can turn life threatening at any point, we travel to Children's Hospital every 3 - 6 months for testing to hopefully catch it when (not if) it does. When she was diagnosed, my mom cried, friends cried but I've never cried about it, I've never felt anything about it, (maybe because I lack the capability to place myself anywhere but the present) other then inconvenienced by the trips to Children's. I can't empathize with them at all, that has been my biggest obstacle in parenting and what I think has the potential to mess them up. I still say I'm bonded to them because I am respectful towards them, non-violent, I don't want to harm them (except for when their crying, I hate that sound), I make the effort (now) to spend time with them, they're mine and they reflect upon and they're from my genes. To me, all of the things I do for and with them despite not really truly wanting to would mean I am bonded to them, combined with the fact I do at times enjoy their company.

I do care for them in my own way... sometimes more in a 'They are MINE' type of way and therefore I have to make sure they turn out good or it will be bad for my image. Working on being a good parent is what I've chosen to focus on, it gives me a direction, a goal that I can take one day at a time.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby Black Widow » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:41 am

People cry at bad news because they have fear of the future. It is not empathy, IMO. Just a vain display of emotion. And it seems to be contagious.

The idea that psychopaths have no sense of humor is weird, to say the least. I always like a good myth. So they are not like leprechauns anymore for some people. More like the Witch of the West. Or the Tin Man if they are high functioning.
It is better to be the widow of a hero than the wife of a coward.
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Re: Psychopaths and shallow affect?

Postby marycarterpaint » Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:00 am

Tungsten wrote:I always like a good myth.

laughing conflicts with blunted affect.
besides, what they dont know, wont hurt them... or something like that! 8)
I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.
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