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In this episode, Dr. Cummings and I discuss psychopathy: the fearless, empathyless people, who see others as objects, and have the inability to attach within relationships. Dr. Michael Cummings recently contributed to a book called “Violence in Psychiatry,” detailing the biological aspects of psychopathy, edited by Stephen Stahl. Dr. Cummings works at Patton State Hospital, one of the biggest forensic hospitals in the world. He is the Yoda of the psychiatric world, with many other psychiatrists bringing him their most complex and difficult cases.
In this episode we cover:
History of psychopathy
Influence of early life traumas
Prosocial careers of psychopaths
The emotion psychopaths fail to see
Biological components in psychopathy
BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)
Prefrontal area (parent of the brain that warns us “that is not a good idea”)
Why psychopathy has not been bred out of existence
Advice when you are in a relationship with a psychopath
What drugs make someone look psychopathic
Effect of alcohol andmethamphetamines on the brain
Influence of cocaine on the brain
Why more men are violent psychopaths
And treatment of this group of people (clozapine’s influence on glutamate)
The Story of Phineas Gage
We also wrestle with how to increase the percentage of psychopaths that end up helping society vs percentage that become criminals.