Tuesday, March 23, 2010

psychopathic neurosis

Neurological Correlates | What makes Nazis or the BTK killer or the psychopath-guy-the-army-put-in-charge-of-anthrax-research unspeakably cruel to selected targets but otherwise social norm compliance with the rest of their lives?

Short answer: Authoritarian + neurosis = psychopathic neurosis, a new category of evil.

Full text available: Cotter P (2010) The path to extreme violence: Nazism and serial killers. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 3:61. doi: 10.3389/neuro.08.061.2009

Finally, someone is attempting to deconstruct those who are selective about their proactive aggression. As with domestic violence, this involves selective aggression — not global or generalized (although apparently it can spiral down this way). And this is the puzzle — what makes people only selectively hateful?

About the closest reading that attempts to develop a systematic, organized response including biology is, “Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend” .

The Cotter paper out of Geneva combines

(a) psychohistory (how come Nazis are that way, and what’s the difference between a Nazi and a serial killer? Answer: Nazis are cognitively more able to construct a world view, “Weltanschauung,”),

(b) the Authoritarian Personality (Adorno et al. 1969 but there are a number of version, one’s up in the Amazon box — this was a study of people to see what authoritarians (e.g., similar to Nazis) think about, versus what more “liberal” (e.g., more egalitarian) people — if you read it your worst suspicions are confirmed);

(c) psychopathy classic research from Cleckley, and

(d) FBI profiling research.

Here is the tee-up for a new category of evil — psychopathic neurosis. Fist tap Dale.