Seeking the Psycho

June 11, 2012

Torah Kachur



We have had the extreme pleasure of being introduced to Luka Rocca Magnotta this past month.  Much has been said about the pornographic history, the sadistic treatment of cats and the complete delusion of his own grandeur.  But what about a discussion of what they hell is wrong with him?


A man who is capable of, alledgedly, masturbating with body parts of a warm corpse and cannibalism surely is not normal and engaging in some primal instinct that lives in all of us.  Surely he is bat-shit crazy and can be diagnosed certifiably insane before he puts his psychotic ass in a therapist chair.  Psychopaths pepper our history - from Charles Manson to Hannibal Lector - there is a fascination with those that get the concept of humanity so terribly wrong.


The man largely associated with defining psychpathy is a canuck, Dr. Robert Hare, who developed the Hare Checklist for Psychopathy - I'll call it the "Don't Marry this Dude" Checklist.  He has estimated that 2% of the adult American population exhibit psychopathic characteristics.....oh. my. god. 


The common feature of all psychopaths is they lack empathy, the ability to connect with the emotions of someone else.  Their error may lie in more than just a history of a mommy that doesn't love them.  It is likely a combination of genetic factors, environmental factors that change brain patterning in development and potentially traumatic incidences during early life.  The biological predisposition may be the most scary, that means that people are born to be murderers, rapists, cannibals or all concurrently.  Comprehensive brain imaging of the wackiest dudes known have shown defects in their prefrontal-temporo-limbic circuit, the brain regions that are responsible for complex thought and emotion.  In other words, a large part of their brain is completely effed up.  Another brain region that has received considerable attention is the amygdala, a small region of the brain that is the seat of emotion, if your amygdala doesn't work then you cannot empathize with victims and hence you turn into a psychopath. 




It is obviously not that simple, a quick brain scan could determine the Jeffery Dahmers from the June Cleavers if that was the case.  In the end, it is a perfect storm of a little less cortex of the amygdala here, reduced volume of the orbital frontal gyrus there, a dash of fear-conditioning early in life and a large dose of arrogance and voila Mr Hannibal Lector at your service.


News outlets aren't ready to claim that Hans Breivik or Luka Magnotta are the craziest f*&kers on the planet but the geniuses behind Science in Seconds will pull a Dr. Spencer Reid and diagnose them as creepy Mo Fos.



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