PSYCHOPATHS LACK EMPATHY: IT’S OFFICIAL
When most of us hear sounds of human distress we react. There is increased activity in the auditory centres of the brain in response to the sound and then in the limbic system which is another part of the brain that helps us process emotions. These centres work together so that we are affected by the fact that someone is crying. But it has long been suggested that people with psychopathic disorders who kill and rape are defective in the way they ordinarily react to and deal with people's fear and sadness.
A new study, led by Professor Declan Murphy at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, gives the first concrete proof that indeed, the brains of criminal psychopaths react differently. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging - a technique which helps you monitor brain activity - to compare how a group of murderers and rapists and a group of ‘normal’ volunteers responded to faces showing different emotions. Professor Declan Murphy and Dr Quinton Deeley showed Professor Kwame McKenzie, the brain scan images from their study and what they revealed.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Professor Richard Wiseman, at the University of Hertfordshire, holds the UK’s only chair in the Public Understanding of Psychology. He headed up the first event of 2007 at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, with a look at New Year resolutions and the notion of self-improvement though new research he’s conducted.
In a massive online experiment he’s tracking more than fifteen hundred people during 2007 to try to pin down the psychology of New Year’s Resolutions and what we can do to make sure they are successful. He joins Professor Kwame McKenzie to explain the findings so far, and how the study will work.
SELF HARM DIARY
When Gillian was 13, she was having a difficult time at school. She was being bullied, she became depressed and everything was getting too much for her. She didn’t tell anybody, but it was then that she started first scratching and then cutting her own body. She continued doing this, in secret, for several years. At one time when she was 14 she couldn’t go a day without cutting herself with a knife. Gillian is now 17 and she hasn’t harmed herself for more than a year but throughout the time she did she kept a diary. She reads extracts from her personal journal about the feelings which led her to self harm.
SELF HARM DISCUSSION
So is self harm on the increase, as many people suspect? A new study – the biggest of its kind – has provided some interesting new insights. The CASE Study which stands for Child and Adolescent Self Harm in Europe – surveyed 30,000 15 and 16 year olds about self harm in England, Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. It gives unprecedented new data on this subject.
Professor Kwame McKenzie speaks to Nicola Madge, Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences and Social Care at Brunel University and formerly with the National Children’s Bureau, who is the co-ordinator of this vast project. She was also a member of the two year national inquiry into self harm, Truth Hurts.