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Patrick Swayze
14-05-2012, 09:08 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/magazine/can-you-call-a-9-year-old-a-psychopath.html

interesting read. glad it doesn't make too much of the link between the Mum's career/psychopathy as genetic/high instance of indicators among CEOs but leaves it there implicitly.

sadly its concerns about labelling anticipate the attitude of some its readers.


Superb article, and my heart goes out to Michael and his family. I hope that Michael is one of the children whose symptoms abate during adolescence, and that he turns himself around as his father did.

Mr. Tea
14-05-2012, 09:52 AM
Huh? What's that comment got to do with "labelling"?

Patrick Swayze
14-05-2012, 10:02 AM
Huh? What's that comment got to do with "labelling"?

if children start to get labelled as 'psychopaths' then they're likely to be discriminated against.

saying you hope the child 'turns himself around' seems to contain an implicit threat. it struck me as ironically ominous and lacking empathy.

Mr. Tea
14-05-2012, 12:55 PM
Then what's the alternative? There has to be some way of identifying kids with severe behavioural disorders otherwise they'll never get the help they need, will they?

Patrick Swayze
14-05-2012, 01:26 PM
Then what's the alternative? There has to be some way of identifying kids with severe behavioural disorders otherwise they'll never get the help they need, will they?

treatment is a response to behaviour(s) labels are a product of efficiency demands. so no they are not absolutely necessary when treating children.

did you even read the article lol?

Mr. Tea
14-05-2012, 01:40 PM
Not all of it yet, I'm at work. I was just trying to figure out what it was about that particular comment that had got your back up over "labelling".

mistersloane
14-05-2012, 02:10 PM
treatment is a response to behaviour(s) labels are a product of efficiency demands. so no they are not absolutely necessary when treating children.


Yeah sometimes - the overprescribing of ritalin/labelling of 'bipolar' etc have all been due to pushes from drug companies.

Some kids are genuinely mental and genuinely need helping out though. Truly disturbed/brain damaged kids are well scary when you meet them. It's not just efficiency demands that makes some people lala.

Patrick Swayze
14-05-2012, 03:58 PM
Yeah sometimes - the overprescribing of ritalin/labelling of 'bipolar' etc have all been due to pushes from drug companies.

Some kids are genuinely mental and genuinely need helping out though. Truly disturbed/brain damaged kids are well scary when you meet them. It's not just efficiency demands that makes some people lala.

I didn't really mean it was financially expedient to label loads of kids and medicate them, I just meant that labelling kids is basically a form of short hand. it does result in blanket medication though.

Patrick Swayze
14-05-2012, 04:01 PM
Not all of it yet, I'm at work. I was just trying to figure out what it was about that particular comment that had got your back up over "labelling".

well yh it deals with some of the things you're asking, 'child psychopathy' hasn't really been established as a condition (or the pre-existing condition hasn't been definitively identified in children) so that's obviously a big problem with labelling. the comment I highlighted seemed to indicate to me that the person writing it had already decided these kids have a definite condition and seemed a particularly unsympathetic reading of the article.

I fell victim to the urge to sensationalise with the thread title.

Mr. Tea
14-05-2012, 04:22 PM
Whoever wrote that comment is probably not a psychologist specialising in abnormal child development, but I don't think you have to be a child psychologist to realize that Michael has something quite profoundly wrong with him. The earlier and more accurate a diagnosis, the better the chances of some successful intervention being made, wouldn't you say?

Though personally I think the answer's pretty obvious:

http://static.skynetblogs.be/media/107544/dyn002_original_544_355_jpeg_2608177_1391946a0d6b6 0aaa1131c5b79050fe0.jpg

baboon2004
14-05-2012, 05:07 PM
Society has lots of uses for psychopaths. I'm sure he'll find a good job somewhere.

Mr. Tea
14-05-2012, 05:32 PM
Society has lots of uses for psychopaths. I'm sure he'll find a good job somewhere.

Well yeah, that's touched on in the article.


PPs [psychopathic personalities] are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose! . . .
So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.
They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin' day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reasons that they don't give a fuck what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!
There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

baboon2004
14-05-2012, 06:25 PM
Agreed 100 per cent with Mr Vonnegut. What was that quote I read the other day: can't recall, something along the lines of only morons (and psychopaths) know exactly what they think about complicated issues. (Instant) decisiveness is over-exaggerated as a good leadership quality.

grizzleb
14-05-2012, 06:46 PM
Stepmum was telling me about a boy in one of her classes who hears voices and thinks that everyone in the class is conspiring against him and stuff. Sounds pretty awful. Poor kid. :(

mistersloane
14-05-2012, 07:06 PM
I didn't really mean it was financially expedient to label loads of kids and medicate them, I just meant that labelling kids is basically a form of short hand. it does result in blanket medication though.

Is labelling conditions full stop a form of shorthand, or is it useful for diagnosis? Is it less useful in kids than adults and, if so, why? Because they're 'not developed'?

Not arguing just interested.

Mr. Tea
14-05-2012, 08:28 PM
Interesting that you say this:



glad it doesn't make too much of...psychopathy as genetic...

because the article does make it clear that genetics seems to have a pretty big say in whether someone is likely to turn out this way. Of course you don't want to actively expect a child born into a family with a history of some particular mental illness to exhibit the same disease, but it would probably be useful for parents to at least be prepared for the possibility that they might have a hard slog ahead of them with a child in need of some heavy therapy.

Patrick Swayze
14-05-2012, 09:24 PM
Is labelling conditions full stop a form of shorthand, or is it useful for diagnosis? Is it less useful in kids than adults and, if so, why? Because they're 'not developed'?

Not arguing just interested.

well the way I see it is, for diagnosis behaviours would need to be identified and noted down. the label would only come in for later treatment and even then only if it was by a different physician. so yeah it is essentially always shorthand. human categories of this nature are never discrete or stable in my opinion. it's not more useful in adults, but it's less potentially damaging in that adults have slightly more agency and are also better equipped to defend themselves intellectually and socially (especially the psychopathic ones).


Interesting that you say this:



because the article does make it clear that genetics seems to have a pretty big say in whether someone is likely to turn out this way. Of course you don't want to actively expect a child born into a family with a history of some particular mental illness to exhibit the same disease, but it would probably be useful for parents to at least be prepared for the possibility that they might have a hard slog ahead of them with a child in need of some heavy therapy.

yh I meant it doesn't go as far to say that the mother's position as a high flying businesswoman may owe something to psychopathic features in her personality which could have then been inherited by michael. it's a stylistic point really, I liked the fact that it 'officially', or on the surface, follows the official family line that the dad is the possible genetic source, whilst leaving enough detail to hint at an alternative possibility. I thought it was a sensitive treatment of the family.

Local Authority
15-05-2012, 08:03 PM
Interested to read the article.

Never heard of children being diagnosed with PP before but I've been lead to believe that there are several factors that indicate towards or other antisocial personality disorders.

There is a problem with labelling, as always, but I don't think it would hurt if it was done in fair and unjudgemental manner. If your of the view that these issues need to be treated than surely diagnosis at an early age is the best way.

Then again I've never agreed with the way mental health works, purely for philosophical and moral reasons.

Local Authority
15-05-2012, 08:16 PM
Sorry if that read poorly, I was on the bus and I suffer from motion sickness.

It seems to me that a lot of personality disorders are inherited culturally as opposed to biologically.

Patrick Swayze
15-05-2012, 08:56 PM
Sorry if that read poorly, I was on the bus and I suffer from motion sickness.

It seems to me that a lot of personality disorders are inherited culturally as opposed to biologically.

culture is a product of our genetic make up though

Dr Awesome
15-05-2012, 09:04 PM
In terms of children being labeled as "psychopaths" etc

This is a documentary about a girl with "Reactive Attachment Disorder" which I don't claim to know a lot about but fits in on the standard / mother wasn't there / father abused her / type scenario.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME2wmFunCjU&feature=g-vrec

Anyway interesting as apparently she made a full recovery and now leads a normal life.

Local Authority
15-05-2012, 09:07 PM
Yes but to what extent? I think it would be very difficult to attribute sections of society to genetic make up.

Swings and roundabouts as Liam says, society influences our actions which in turn influence our society.

I'd dispute how far personality disorders are influenced by genetics. I won't deny it doesn't but I believe culture and society play a bigger part. I believe personality disorders are the product of how people with different genetic make react to society.

The reason PP's are labelled as such is because our society has rendered their personality traits useless, even detrimental, to the advancement of the 'clan'. Before in hunter-gatherer days they would be useful, you would have to be far more decisive and ruthless in shorter time as it could have been a matter of death. Before they would have been desirable traits, not so much any more.

My problem is them being branded 'disorders', because they all seem to have their uses as much as people without have their faults.

Patrick Swayze
15-05-2012, 09:16 PM
Yes but to what extent? I think it would be very difficult to attribute sections of society to genetic make up.

Swings and roundabouts as Liam says, society influences our actions which in turn influence our society.

I'd dispute how far personality disorders are influenced by genetics. I won't deny it doesn't but I believe culture and society play a bigger part. I believe personality disorders are the product of how people with different genetic make react to society.

The reason PP's are labelled as such is because our society has rendered their personality traits useless, even detrimental, to the advancement of the 'clan'. Before in hunter-gatherer days they would be useful, you would have to be far more decisive and ruthless in shorter time as it could have been a matter of death. Before they would have been desirable traits, not so much any more.

My problem is them being branded 'disorders', because they all seem to have their uses as much as people without have their faults.

I suppose it's 'swings and roundabouts' in the sense that our genetics produce culture which in turn influences the way we evolve genetically which is then reflected in culture and so on...

it's been established capitalist society rewards psychopathy. mitt romney's probably psychopathic to some degree.

Local Authority
15-05-2012, 09:25 PM
I suppose it's 'swings and roundabouts' in the sense that our genetics produce culture which in turn influences the way we evolve genetically which is then reflected in culture and so on...

it's been established capitalist society rewards psychopathy. mitt romney's probably psychopathic to some degree.

I'm not sure culture has any lasting or substantial effect on how we evolve genetically.

I'm not denying capitalism doesn't promote it, because the capitalist system is psychopathic in its inherent nature. Not everyone strictly adheres to the capitalist system though. Not in the sense that Mitt Romney does, who appears to be a walking manifestation of it. I think its fair to say that the majority of people within the system frown down upon psychopathic behaviour, even fear it and treat it as unwanted and damaging personality trait.

Patrick Swayze
15-05-2012, 09:40 PM
I'm not sure culture has any lasting or substantial effect on how we evolve genetically.

I'm not denying capitalism doesn't promote it, because the capitalist system is psychopathic in its inherent nature. Not everyone strictly adheres to the capitalist system though. Not in the sense that Mitt Romney does, who appears to be a walking manifestation of it. I think its fair to say that the majority of people within the system frown down upon psychopathic behaviour, even fear it and treat it as unwanted and damaging personality trait.
nah culture must effect evolution. culture dictates diet, life expectancy, sexual practices, work routines, family relations and so on

I think your outlook on the attitudes of the upper echelons of society is optimistic. they wouldn't directly recognise it as 'psychopathy' because psychopath has adopted a cultural meaning as a degrading term for criminals. but there's traits which are rewarded by business such as intelligence, selfishness, ruthlessness, calculation, willingness to take risks etc and they form part of the (at times paradoxical) psychopathic identity.

Mr. Tea
15-05-2012, 09:42 PM
It seems to me that a lot of personality disorders are inherited culturally as opposed to biologically.

I read something good today - can't remember where, annoyingly - about how environmental conditions like exposure to germs and toxins, upbringing and wider culture all have an impact on which of our genes express themselves, and how they do so. A gene may or may not manifest a particular physiological trait depending on external factors that the individual is exposed to. So nurture actually has quite a big impact on nature (that the reverse is true is pretty obvious, since a child that's very difficult right from birth will elicit a different response from its parents and other people).

'A lot of personality disorders' is hard to quantify. You might well be right, I mean the classic thing is the violent, alcoholic father who hits his kids because his violent, alcoholic father hit him, and whose kids will likely turn out the same way*. But it's also clear that some disorders really are genetic, since they often manifest in babies that are very difficult right from birth and, as the article mentions, there are some measurable anatomical differences between the brains of people with conditions like psychopathy and normal people.

[*though even in this case, while the violence might be a learned trait it's also well known now that there are important genetic factors in being at risk of alcoholism]

routes
16-05-2012, 07:01 AM
i like this thread alot, i'd like to contribute if i wasn't spending 14 hours a day at the moment planning, teaching, marking and generally chasing after the little (and sometimes not so little) monstaz

i'm particularly interested in the connection between resilience (overcoming obstacles, seeing things thru) and that ruthless psycopathic risk-taking (risking getting things wrong, but doing it anyway) mentioned above ...

Patrick Swayze
16-05-2012, 12:34 PM
i like this thread alot, i'd like to contribute if i wasn't spending 14 hours a day at the moment planning, teaching, marking and generally chasing after the little (and sometimes not so little) monstaz

i'm particularly interested in the connection between resilience (overcoming obstacles, seeing things thru) and that ruthless psycopathic risk-taking (risking getting things wrong, but doing it anyway) mentioned above ...

interesting. I think this notion of 'resilience' is what supports or allows the existence of the apparently contradictory combination of a manipulative, calculated nature and a willingness to take risks. that is, the risk taking is tempered by a resilient dislocation from society (and its punishments) and the strength of will to pursue a larger aim. the risks are taken within a macrocosm of manipulation and calculation. sometimes it works (i.e. taking financial risks within a capitalist system which will ultimately be forced to bail big business out), sometimes it doesn't (i.e. hitler's risky invasion of russia which ended up undermining his entire wider campaign in europe)

mistersloane
16-05-2012, 04:05 PM
In terms of children being labeled as "psychopaths" etc

This is a documentary about a girl with "Reactive Attachment Disorder" which I don't claim to know a lot about but fits in on the standard / mother wasn't there / father abused her .

I love the fact that filming a six year old girl and showing it on television isn't seen as abusive at all. Patient confidentiality? Jesus Christ.

baboon2004
16-05-2012, 05:51 PM
I love the fact that filming a six year old girl and showing it on television isn't seen as abusive at all. Patient confidentiality? Jesus Christ.

Yep, kinda getting to Six feet Under levels of fuckedupness (in the show Brenda/Rachel Griffiths' parents are psychoanalysts, and wrote a bestselling book about the study of their own child)

Mr. Tea
16-05-2012, 06:36 PM
I can't help thinking that having a psychoanalyst for a parent, let alone both parents, has got to be a sure-fire way of growing up into a total fuck-up. I'm probably wrong. I hope I am.

Patrick Swayze
17-05-2012, 09:39 AM
well freud's grandkids or newphew/nieces in 'The Century of the Self' turned out alright in the end despite Anna Freud's best attempts to fuck them up lol.

baboon2004
17-05-2012, 09:57 AM
well freud's grandkids or newphew/nieces in 'The Century of the Self' turned out alright in the end despite Anna Freud's best attempts to fuck them up lol.

Wasn't his nephew the one who created PR to benefit corporate America? I'd say that qualifies as a massive fuck-up. Can't remember the other members of the family though....

@Tea - Definitely depends upon whether your parents are good or bad psychoanalysts! If your Dad was Winnicott you'd be more than OK. The problem is, there are a lot of bad psychoanalysts.

Patrick Swayze
17-05-2012, 10:24 AM
Wasn't his nephew the one who created PR to benefit corporate America? I'd say that qualifies as a massive fuck-up. Can't remember the other members of the family though....

@Tea - Definitely depends upon whether your parents are good or bad psychoanalysts! If your Dad was Winnicott you'd be more than OK. The problem is, there are a lot of bad psychoanalysts.

yh cant remember exactly how they were all related but there was the Bernaise dude who I think (kinda forgot) was the guy who used psychoanalytic practices like free association to help companies market their products/ create desires.

and then there was the generation after him (maybe) who anna freud studied. they were worried one of the kids was gay so they probably did some fucked up shit to him.

Mr. Tea
17-05-2012, 12:51 PM
Ah yes, Freud - everyone's favourite dick-obsesssed coke fiend.


well freud's grandkids or newphew/nieces in 'The Century of the Self' turned out alright in the end despite Anna Freud's best attempts to fuck them up lol.

As far as I recall from that programme, Anna Freud remained a virgin her whole life, probably not unrelated to an episode where as a girl she'd been caught wanking by her dear papa, who decided she had to be 'cured' by - of course - psychoanalysis.