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The Non-Convicted Psychopath

Rigter, P.M.F. (2016) The Non-Convicted Psychopath. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

Psychopathy is a well-investigated topic that describes the personality disorder that is characterised by low empathy, impulsive and antisocial behaviour. Research within psychopathy is mainly done on convicted individuals that are incarcerated, and only little research has been done on individuals with high psychopathic tendencies that have never been convicted – the non-convicted psychopaths. This thesis investigates whether there is a difference between the non-convicted psychopath and convicted psychopath. Research shows that there are similarities, as there are differences. Both the non-convicted and convicted psychopath have an antisocial lifestyle, with a propensity to criminal behaviour. Moreover, both show a deficit in recognition of negative emotional expressions, implying this deficit to be a manifestation of the personality disorder. The key distinction between the non-convicted and convicted psychopaths is conviction of a crime, however the frequency of arrest does not differ necessarily. This suggests that the non-convicted psychopath might possess an ability to evade the law, despite illegal behaviour. Another aspect in which the non-convicted psychopath distinguishes himself is in greater autonomic reactivity and in better executive functioning. The non-convicted psychopath performs better than the convicted psychopath, but also better than controls. This is measured by means of psychophysiological and neuropsychological tests, and by means of neuroimaging this is evident in an intact prefrontal cortex as well. This leads to the hypothesis that the non-convicted psychopath possesses the core characteristics of psychopathy, but distinguishes himself by higher prefrontal functioning. Future research is needed to validate this hypothesis and to gradually approach the concept of the successful psychopath – the non-incarcerated psychopath successful in personal and/or professional life at the expense of others.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:10
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:10
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/13653

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