Psychopaths: Nature or Nurture?

Brain structures involved in dealing with fear...

Clinical psychopaths have physiological markers that can be seen in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and in lower resting heart rate, for example. It has not been determined with certainty if these aberrations are present at birth or if they are due to childhood environment or trauma. It does seem plausible that the outcome for a “born psychopath” is closely tied to “external” influences. In other words; the characteristics of each individual, and his path in life, are the result of an interaction between nature and nurture.

If that truly is the case, isn’t it plausible that it is the childhood setting that determines if a child born with a psychopathic brain abnormality will become a high functioning ‘controlled’ psychopath or not? Perhaps psychopaths from ‘good’ homes are more likely to become politicians, corporate executives, lawyers, psychiatrists, and Wall Street operatives, while the psychopaths from ‘bad’ homes are more likely to take the positions as con artists, rapists, murderers, serial killers, and other criminals that have a high representation rate in prisons.

Sociopaths: Controlled and Uncontrolled


Ted Bundy: a really nice guy…

Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 or 1979

“Nice and friendly”

is the persona of many con artists, abusers, paedophiles, and killers. Ted Bundy was handsome and educated. The number of young women he raped and killed has not been determined, but it may have been more than 200.

Ted Bundy was intelligent and charming.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy's 1968 VW Beetle.

Ted Bundy’s 1968 VW Beetle. This was the car he used for most of his murders. Now on display at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington, DC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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