Brain scans show why psychopaths don't feel your pain - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Brain scans show why psychopaths don't feel your pain

Updated: Sep 25, 2013 09:22 AM
© Thinkstock / Comstock / Thinkstock © Thinkstock / Comstock / Thinkstock
  • Wendy Damonte's Health Watch ReportsMore>>

  • Request Remind Me 2 Kit

    Request a Remind Me 2 Kit

         More >>
  • Fish and Pregnant Women

    Fish and Pregnant Women

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:37:10 GMT
    In June the government put out new recommendations telling Americans to eat more fish because of the health benefits. But a new analysis from Consumer Reports says pregnant women should avoid one of the most popular types of fish.
    More >>
    In June the government put out new recommendations telling Americans to eat more fish because of the health benefits. But a new analysis from Consumer Reports says pregnant women should avoid one of the most popular types of fish.More >>
  • Type O Blood Donors Urgently Needed at United Blood Services

    Type O Blood Donors Urgently Needed at United Blood Services

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:02:08 GMT
    United Blood Services is reaching out to all type O donors for a blood donation since their inventories of type O blood is very low today and they need to build inventories going into the long Labor Day weekend.More >>
    United Blood Services is reaching out to all type O donors for a blood donation since their inventories of type O blood is very low today and they need to build inventories going into the long Labor Day weekend.More >>

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Among other traits, psychopaths feel a lack of empathy when other people are in pain, and brain scans now reveal why that is.

Psychopathy is a personality disorder marked by callousness, manipulation, sensation seeking and antisocial behaviors. About 23 percent of people in prison are psychopaths, compared with about 1 percent of people in the general population.

In this study, researchers used functional MRI to observe brain activity in 121 inmates at a medium-security prison in the United States who were divided into three groups based on the levels of their psychopathy: high, moderate or low.

The participants were shown pictures of physical pain, such as a finger caught in a door or a toe trapped under a heavy object. They were first asked to imagine that these accidents happened to themselves and then to imagine that they happened to others.

When highly psychopathic inmates imagined themselves in these painful situations, they showed higher-than-normal activity in certain brain regions involved in empathy for pain. But these regions failed to become active when they imagined others in pain.

Moreover, when imagining other people in pain, highly psychopathic inmates showed increased activity in a brain area known to be involved in pleasure, according to the study, which was published Sept. 24 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The findings may help lead to new treatment approaches for psychopaths, the researchers said in a journal news release.

More information

Mental Health America has more about personality disorders.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.