A group of researchers believes they have discovered how people with psychopathic traits manage to control their “dark impulses.” Many people with antisocial if not psychopathic tendencies, even strong enough, manage not to commit typical psychopathic acts and the researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Kentucky have decided to find out why. They then analyzed those mechanisms that could explain these trends using neuroimaging technologies. The same researchers confirmed that these people show greater development in those neural structures that promote self-regulation.
In particular, also performing structural magnetic resonances, they discovered that “successful” psychopaths, ie those who manage to control themselves, show a higher level of gray matter density in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex.
The latter is one of the brain areas that has, among its various tasks, those related to self-regulation. It includes the regulation of the most primitive instincts and reactive emotions such as anger or fear.
A denser region allows these people a greater capacity for self-control, as reported by Emily Lasko, a student at the VCU Department of Psychology who led the study: “This is important because it is one of the first evidence that indicates a biological mechanism that can potentially explain how some psychopathic people are able to ‘succeed’ while others cannot.”
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