Mummy Buzz

May
17
2012

Pint-Sized Psychopaths

Born or Bred?

First there was that kid called Damien. Then, more recently, one called Kevin. We need to talk about pint-sized psychopaths...Are they born or bred?

Well, according to the New York Times Magazine, psychologists now believe that children as young as five can demonstrate traits indicative of the “cold, predatory conduct most closely associated with adult psychopathy.”

Psychopathy, really? No one wants to think they are raising the next Russell Williams. After all, many so-called callous-unemotional traits can be indicative of other disorders—from attention-deficit and obsessive-compulsive to sensory-integration, to name but a few. 
 
And children only develop the capacity for empathy over time. So what looks like callousness may simply be immaturity. Psychologists, however, hope that spotting "psychopathic tendencies" will lead to early interventions like behavioural therapies, much like autism. 

Are some kids just bad seeds? If psychopathy is innate, can it be 'cured'?