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What causes psychopathy?

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Psychiatric Times explains that psychopathy is a term that is often used by the media to describe Antisocial Personality Disorder, a clinical disorder that is generally believed to form at birth. The British Journal of Psychiatry explains that the exact origin of the disorder remains unknown, although there are several different theories about the factors that may influence it.

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According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, although the manner in which psychopathy forms is unknown, there are two basic processes that play a large role in the socialization of a psychopath. The Journal notes that a disconnect between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex could be one source of psychopathic tendencies in some individuals.

Psychology Today reports information that would support that theory in the form of brain scans performed on psychopaths, each of which showed a significant difference in prefrontal cortex and amygdala activity between the brains of psychopaths and healthy individuals. The magazine explains that these abnormalities are commonly used to support the theory that psychopathy, like many other brain disorders, has a strong genetic component. Psychology Today also notes that studies performed on twins in Minnesota indicated that the disorder is 60 percent heritable, further suggesting a genetic cause.

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