Blame the Amygdala

Brain Stains, Killers, and Psychopaths


Unlike my story pages, here’s where I pretend that I actually know things.

Can knowledge acquisition fit an addiction model?

Hippocampal-Thalamic Circuit

What’s in a name? The fickleness of sociopathy: Ideas, the suspension of the conscience, and why psychopathy is completely different

Academic Papers

Pemment, J. (2013) The Neurobiology of Antisocial Personality Disorder: The Quest for Rehabilitation and Treatment, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(1), 79-82

ABSTRACT: Psychopathy is perhaps one of the most misused terms in the American public, which is in no small part due to our obsession with those who have no conscience, and our boldness to try and profile others with this disorder. Here, I present how psychopathy is seen today, before discussing the classification of psychopathy. I also explore the neurological differences in the brains of those with psychopathy, before finally taking a look at genetic risk factors. I conclude by raising some questions about potential treatment.

Pemment, J. (2013) Psychopathy versus Sociopathy: Why the distinction has become crucial, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(5), 458-461

ABSTRACT: The terms psychopath and sociopath are often used interchangeably, but there appears to be some hesitance by researchers in the many disciplines comprising criminology to continue this trend. The problem seems to be that as research has advanced in studies of psychopathy, which is the more common of the two terms, psychopathy now commands a much more specific definition, and this is what alienates it from its estranged cousin,sociopathy. As language can serve to hinder or confound research, it is crucial that these terms take their proper place in brain science. Here, I present how the two terms are currently used in neuroscience and psychology, and suggest how research in sociopathy should progress.

Pemment, J. (2015) The Reappearing Psychopath: Psychopathy’s stain on future generations, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 25(B), 237-242

ABSTRACT: The genesis of the psychopath has long been debated, typically within the framework of the long-held nature versus nature argument. Are psychopaths born psychopathic or are they molded by society? Like all personality disorders, the development of the psychopathic brain is dynamic, and as the psychopath remains a consistent, albeit small, part of the population, one has to wonder why psychopathy continues to reappear in generation after generation.

I explore the characteristics of psychopathic behavior, current theories on the adaptive qualities of this behavior, and psychopathy as it manifests in women. I argue that psychopathic behavior is not itself selecting for psychopathy. Psychopathy is a mental disorder that increases the likelihood of a set of behaviors, but these behaviors are not unique to the psychopath, and so will not favor the continued presence of psychopaths in the population. I also discuss the biological characteristics of the male brain that may make it more susceptible to psychopathy than the female brain.



Political Science, M.A. (2008) University of Southern Mississippi

Thesis: Political realignment by memetic reassembly – Political realignment in the South

My thesis focused on the Darwinian theory of memetics, where I explored how this theory of information transmission could have influenced political realignment and attitudes in the South after the Civil Rights Act.

Biology, M.S. (2013) University of Mississippi

Thesis: A neurophysiological examination of stress control in martial artists

This thesis explored the stress response in those with and without martial arts training. Stress was induced by varying techniques that invaded the personal space of the participant. Physiological changes were measured using heart rate, galvanic skin level, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia.

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