02.08.2018: One Chapter of Nonfiction

Today's soundtrack is Cheatahs: Mythologies

The Randomizer told me to read one chapter of nonfiction. Today I've started chapter 1 of Dean Haycock's Murderous Minds, which explores neurological images of criminal psychopaths' brains. 

The first chapter sees Jared Loughner execute his plan to kill Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and many others in 2011. His murderous rampage is contrasted with Eric Harris' plans to shoot students and teachers at Columbine in 1999. Apparently Jared was unable to differentiate between right and wrong; he was legally insane when he committed his murders, but Eric was not: Eric understood the difference between right and wrong, but he didn't care; thus, he was legally sane. 

Haycock here points out that sanity and insanity are not scientific or medical terms; they are legal terms. Scientists want to know what differentiates the brain of a psychopath from the brain of a typical person. 

Haycock reminds readers that psychopathy and psychosis are not the same thing; the terms "describe people with very different mentalities" (12). Psychosis is a break with reality, such as schizophrenia. Psychopathy, on the other hand, doesn't remove a person from reality; it simply allows a person to enjoy doing something that the public sees as morally wrong, such as murder or rape. Frank Ochberg says that psychopath can be sadistic, narcissistic, grandiose, and contemptuous. Haycock say that psychopaths will display a "lifetime pattern of antisocial behaviour (23). 

Haycock says that when individuals with schizophrenia were given fMRIs, scientists found that the part of the brain controlling executive functions had decreased levels of activity, while communication to the midbrain is increased due to regions of the brain being out of sync.