Psychopathy is Form of Adaption Rather Than a Mental Disorder, New Study Suggests

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loud noise  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.03.2022
Popularised by American psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley, psychopathy is defined as a mental disorder in which a person displays aggression, antisocial behaviour, a lack of remorse and an impaired ability to establish personal relationships.
A team of Canadian scientists has suggested that psychopathy may not actually be a mental disorder. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 16 studies that were held between 1985 and 2017 and which involved over 2 million people.

Scientists maintain that the results show that rather than being a mental disease, psychopathy is an alternative strategy for survival and a form of adaption.

"An alternative, evolution-minded perspective has been proposed: that psychopathy is instead a life history strategy of social exploitation maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection," the researchers wrote in a statement.

According to this view, the risk-taking, opportunistic, and callous traits of psychopaths increased their reproductive success in past environments by exploiting the trusting, cooperative individuals who form the majority of the population.

Researchers write that this evolutionary strategy could made it possible for some psychopathic individuals to benefit from the help of other people, in order to better position themselves in the reproductive "race".

Scientists claim that despite the harm it causes others, psychopathy is not a mental disorder "as it is not related to the failure of an evolved psychological mechanism, but is instead an alternative strategy that has been selected for because of its positive effects on (largely direct or personal) fitness".
To prove their hypothesis researchers point to the fact that the study established that there is no clear link between left-handed individuals and persons, who have psychopathy.

Non right-handedness has been associated with birth complications, prenatal stress and prenatal exposure to hormones, which is associated with disruption to pre- and perinatal brain development of critical brain areas. Thus, southpaws are more likely to suffer from schizophrenia and depression.

If one is to assume that psychopathy is a mental disorder and is based on neurological problems, researchers write, then there should be more psychopaths among left-handed people. But their meta study showed that this was not the case. Only 10,6 percent of the participants who were diagnosed with psychopathy, were left-handed.
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