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Monday, March 15, 2010

Psychopaths are compulsive reward seekers

New research finds that what really characterizes psychopaths is not lack of fear or empathy but their extreme quest for rewards, no matter what because they get much higher levels of dopamine for rewards such as drugs or money.

J.W. Buckholtz et al., Mesolimbic dopamine reward system hypersensitivity in individuals with psychopathic traits. Neuroscience 2010. Open access.

Nicely synthesized at Science Daily.

This is important in itself for psychology, psychiatry and neurology. But what I read really makes me think that we live in a psychopathic society, where such psychopathic greed has replaced the basic human values of cooperation and social justice.

If you think about it, the psychopath is the ideal capitalist individual: without emotional or social attachments (which they are unable to feel) and only focused on profit (monetary rewards) and consumerism (product rewards).

The fact that the psychopathic tendencies also exist, maybe to lesser degree, among normal, well adjusted, people, albeit irregularly and not so exaggerated, should make us all think what we really want: a human society or a psychopathic society based on the greed of liberal economics.

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