PSYC235 Chapter 12: Personality Disorders

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7 Apr 2015
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Ch. 12 – Personality Disorders
Cluster “B” Disorders
Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Genetic Influences:
oGenetic influence proven by family, twin, and adoption studies
oHowever, gene-environment interaction is significant. Genetic factors may
present a vulnerability, but actual development of criminality may require
environmental factors such as deficit in early, high-quality contact with
parents
- Neurobiological Influences:
oPsychopaths have difficulty maintaining plans, and reduced attention-related
abilities (deficits in executive cognitive function)
oThe underarousal hypothesis:
Psychopaths have abnormally low levels of cortical arousal. They seek
stimulation to boost their chronically low levels of arousal
Cortical immaturity hypothesis: Hare’s theory that cerebral cortex
of psychopaths is not fully developed, explaining why their actions are
often childlike and impulsive. Hypothesis supported by finding high
theta waves (mostly found in childhood) in psychopath adults
However, theta waves associated with boredom and
drowsiness to these waves could simply be reflecting a
psychopath’s tendency to be apathetic
oThe fearlessness hypothesis:
Higher threshold for fear than the average person
May have difficulty associating certain cues with impending danger
olikely genetic component to aggression. Possibly associated with defect in
MAOA enzyme (breaks down neurotransmitters associated with effective
stress coping)
opossible malfunctioning of BIS (weak inhibition system) and REW
(overactive reward system) systems would explain psychopathic behaviours
- Psychological and Social Dimensions:
oPsychopaths are less likely than average people to be deterred despite signs
that a goal is no longer achievable  will continue
oParents that with inconsistent discipline methods teach children that if they
fight hard enough, they will always win/benefit  maintains aggressive
behaviours
oStress/traumatic experiences can lead to “turning off” of emotions, leading to
psychopathic behaviours
- Developmental Influences:
oAntisocial behaviour decline strongly after 40
- Treatment:
omain issue as with many personality disorders: these people rarely identify
themselves as needing treatment
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