字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 >> Good afternoon, everybody. A very warm welcome to today's UCL Lunch Hour lecture. It is my great pleasure to introduce Essi Viding, professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the UCL division of Psychology and Language Sciences. Professor Viding's lecture for us today is entitled, Why do some people become psychopaths? >> Thank you. Individuals with psychopathy tend to capture public imagination. People are fascinated by what makes these individuals so different. And there has been a tendency to at times sensationalize the condition and the description of the condition in the media. And I guess one of the signs that these individuals really do capture the public imagination is that they have featured in a number of popular films. So here we have a picture of Jacob, a character from Buckham [assumed spelling] Films and he's very impulsive and he's also entirely unconcerned about the impact of his behavior on other people and he seems to lack empathy. We have Kevin who is from the movie, We Need to Talk about Kevin. This is a very chilling description of a child who's not capable of forming attachment relationships with his parents who's cruel to animals and cruel to younger children who ends up by the end of the film and the book that it's based on becoming a killer. He kills family members and also people at his school. We have Anton Chigurh who's an absolutely chilling contract killer in the current Coen Brothers film, No Country for Old Men. And if anyone has seen the film, I think one of very scary things about observing this character is when you see shots that are focused directly at his eyes and there really is no emotion coming back to you from those eyes. And then there's probably everyone's favorite psychopath from movies, Hannibal Lecter from the Silence of the Lamb film; and he is again, a very good example of a psychopathic character in that he's entirely void of empathy for other people and he's also extremely skillful at manipulating other people to his own ends. And in fact, if you asked members of the general public what springs to mind when they hear the word psychopath, people often think about serial killers. And real-life serial killers include characters such as Ted Bundy who killed at least 30 women in America in 1970s. He was very bright and extremely handsome, and he often posed as somebody who was in a position of authority or someone who was very reliable to entice these women to come with him, and then he murdered them in a very cruel way. And people think that he actually may have committed many more crimes than he confessed to. His description of himself was that he's the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever likely to meet. And interestingly his defense lawyer didn't have a lot of good things to say about him either and said that he was the very definition of heartless evil. So this was a man who was able to be very charming, was able to convince other people to come with him, but he actually turned out to be somebody who felt absolutely nothing for his victims and didn't seem to really feel any guilt for what he had done. But, of course, not all psychopaths are serial killers. In fact, only a very few are. So what are the characteristics that define an individual with psychopathy? Well, one of the most prominent characteristics is their lack of remorse and guilt. So they simply do not feel bad about the things they have done. They may sometimes say that they do if they perceive that as getting them something that they want such as early release from prison. But it's very clear from the way they behave and -- that they do not actually experience remorse for what they have done. They don't feel bad about what they have done. They're very shallow affect. Their emotions appear ingenuine and often very short lived. They don't form typical attachment relationships. They don't look after the people around them. They can often have superficial charm. So if you meet these individuals for the first time, you may be very, very alert by them. They may seem very gregarious, very charming, very nice. But once you get to know them for a longer period of time that charm tends to wear off. They often have a grandiose sense of self worth. They think they are better and more deserving than other people. They're pathological liars and they are typically very good at manipulating other people to their own ends. As a developmental psychologist I'm very interested in how these characteristics develop. It's unlikely that anybody's born a psychopath but clearly you don't get this sort of conditions as a birthday present when you turn 18 either. So the research in our group has been focused on investigating what makes some children developmentally vulnerable to developing these sorts of personality traits as an adult. And you can focus on various different levels of query when you try and understand the development of this condition. So we can look at how children who are at risk of becoming adult psychopaths look like behaviorally. What differentiates these children from typical developing children or other children who may have behavioral problems but who don't exhibit these cold characteristics of lack of empathy and guilt. We can study how these children see the world around them so we can use experimental tasks to focus on their psychological level analysis. And we can see if these children's brains react differently to information around them which is what you would expect if their behavior and if their way of processing information is different. And you can also use genetically informative designs to study the relevant importance of genetic and environmental factors in developing this type of condition. And you can also try and look for specific risk genes and risk environmental factors that in concert might promote the development of the disorder. Now we'll first tell you a little bit about what makes these children behaviorally different from their typically developing peers but also from other children who have behavioral problems. So there are several early behavioral warning signs of children who are at risk for psychopathy and these look very different from the kinds of characteristics we see in adult psychopaths. The person who first formally downward extended this psychopathic criteria to children was Paul Frick and this was work that started 20 years ago in the United States and now several different research groups across the globe have studied these behavioral characteristics in children and in young people. These children lack remorse and guilt so they don't express that they're sorry for what they've done. They lack empathy and this can be often manifested by them behaving cruelly amongst other children, bullying, being very physically aggressive in a way that is really showing no concern over developing of the other person. They are also sometimes cruel to animals such as pets in the family. They have shallow affects so many of the parents report that they don't feel like they can connect with this child. They may have a perfectly nice relationship with their other children and if anyone has read the book, We Need to Talk About Kevin, I think that's a very good example of a mother who was able to form an attachment relationship with one of her children, but really felt like there was nothing coming back from the child who went on to develop psychopathy. These children can manipulate other people for their own gain. And they have a sense of being more important and more deserving than other people. And in combination this constellation of traits in children is called callous-unemotional traits. So clearly we don't want to label children as psychopaths but this constellation of traits gives you a warning sign that the child who scores very high on these traits may be at risk for developing psychopathy in the adulthood. They're kind of like the warning sign. You want to start thinking about doing something to help this child if they display this constellation of characteristics. There's now quite a bit of good longitudinal research showing that these sorts of traits are predictive of persistent, violent and severe antisocial behavior and psychopathy in adolescents and adulthood. They don't predict that every child who's score high on these sorts of traits will inevitably become an antisocial adult but they do index that that child is at a significantly increased risk of developing the antisocial presentation in adulthood. Antisocial behavior in children is called conduct problems. And if you think about this circle that I'm showing to you as representing all the children with conduct problems and the blue circles as representing the minority who also has high levels of callous-unemotional traits and you get an idea that they are a minority but they are a sizable minority. So people estimate that somewhere between 25 to as high as 50 percent of the children who are diagnosed with conduct problems also have this presentation of high callous-unemotional traits. And what sets them apart from other children with conduct problems is that they often engage in proactive or planned acts of aggression. So while the aggression in other children with conduct problems is typically quite impulsive and in reaction to something external that happened, for instance, a perceived threat or slight to the child, these children can engage in aggression if they think it's going to get them something they want. It might get them status among peers. It might get them some goods that they desire. As I've already said they lack guilt. They don't worry about hurting other people to get what they want and they often have low levels of anxiety. And this is in contrast with the remainder of children with conduct problems who have low levels of callous-unemotional traits and who often aggress when they feel under threat and whose aggression is often impulsive. It's not premeditated. And when these children have had a chance to reflect on what they have done, they actually often feel bad and guilty about having hurt other people or having done something that has caused their parents or their teachers to feel sad. And this presentation can also occur with high levels of anxiety. So you already are beginning to see from this behavioral data that the reactivity, emotional reactivity profile of these two types of children with conduct problems is quite different. You have a group that seems to be more cold and calculated and unemphatic, and then you have another group who seems to be more hot headed, reactive, and impulsive but who also has the capacity to empathize with other people. So these different behavioral profiles have got psychologists interested in how these children may see the world around them differently from typically developing children but also their peers with conduct problems. And we can focus on the study of the psychological level of analysis by giving children experimental tasks which we often present on a computer, for instance, and these tasks can give us an idea of how they process information such as facial, emotional expressions. So I want you to have a go at doing one of the tasks that we do with the children. Here's a face that is starting with a neutral rather calm expression and I'm going to press a button and it's going to start slowly developing an emotional expression. And when you think you know what the expression is, please shout it out loud and don't be shy. Okay.