Author Topic: The Murder Gene  (Read 11628 times)

Re:
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2013, 12:52:42 PM »
Quote from: "Rasputin"
Found a good article about it, turns out y'all are onto something.

Dammit!  You've learned something!

There's nothing left to do here :(
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We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Offline mykcob4

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2013, 01:28:47 PM »
Quote from: "antediluvian"
Do some people have a genetic propensity to violence?
I know research shows that children and grandchildren of alcoholics are predisposed to alcoholism.
So, how about a murder gene?
If there is a gene it hasn't been identified as of yet. Right now such research is like that of the 1920's-30's that decided head shapes determined criminality. It isn't unlike the NAZI pseudo-science that decided that race determined character.
There are of course too many variables in murder and it's causes. The fact is that nothing has been a determining factor in predicting violent acts. You may as well consult a phsychic. You will get the same results.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2013, 05:36:21 PM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
Quote from: "ThePilgrim101"
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
Yes genetics is the first reason.

Not so much the first reason as one of the factors. Case in point, Phineas Gage.

?

What is the connection between a man who had a severe damage to his brain as an accident that changed his behaviour and a psychopath born with certain condition and genetic defect, killing people for kicks as a result of living under abuse or trauma?

Other than the fact that both of those are behaviors that are necessarily related to brain function?  :|

No one in modern Psychology or Psychiatry subscribes to a model of genetic predestination. The more common model is the diathesis-stress model (genetic predisposition x environment). Under that model, to say that genetics is the first reason is intellectually dishonest, as it is only one factor in a mixing pot of factors. I bring up the obvious Phineas Gage because it anecdotally demonstrates that behavioral changes can be linked to changes in neurological function regardless of genetic predisposition. To repeat: it's an interaction where the relative magnitude of each main effect is variable depending on the case, making it worthless to denote one as "first" or not.

Further, that's a rather obtuse and inaccurate definition of Psychopaths. It's a personality disorder characterized by disregard for the rights and welfare of others, not "murdering for kicks (Koenigs, 2012)."
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
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New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2013, 05:39:36 PM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
This man has identified every psyhcopath and 'mormal' prople from a bunch of brain scans without any other information, without making one error with a certain method.

fMRI of the vm, dl, and ofPFC?
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
Quote from: \"quoting\"
New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Offline mykcob4

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #34 on: February 17, 2013, 06:36:29 PM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
Quote from: "mykcob4"
Quote from: "antediluvian"
Do some people have a genetic propensity to violence?
I know research shows that children and grandchildren of alcoholics are predisposed to alcoholism.
So, how about a murder gene?
If there is a gene it hasn't been identified as of yet. Right now such research is like that of the 1920's-30's that decided head shapes determined criminality. It isn't unlike the NAZI pseudo-science that decided that race determined character.
There are of course too many variables in murder and it's causes. The fact is that nothing has been a determining factor in predicting violent acts. You may as well consult a phsychic. You will get the same results.

Yes, there is a gene and a SET of genetic factors that makes people letheally violent. I wish you bothered to read or watch the video before presenting 'woo woo' solutions.

 :arrow: There is a nuerobiologist from California Univerity up there in the video desrcibing almost a certain situation for the making of serial killers. This man has identified every psyhcopath and 'mormal' prople from a bunch of brain scans without any other information, without making one error with a certain method. He easily identified who were likely to murder and those were actually the brain scans of convicted psyhcopaths.

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The fact is that nothing has been a determining factor in predicting violent acts.

In 19th century?
I didn't offer a solution woo woo or otherwise. I watched the vedio, and so what? 1 Scientist that hasn't verified a damn thing has a theory. Great do more research and get independent verification. Satisfy the parameters of science and fact.
I stated historically people have tried to predict whom would commit murder for years. The fallacy of course is that even though someone MAY be genetically predesposed to commit murder that doesn't mean that they ever will. If you find this gene, chances are if someone finds it that gene will lie in everyone not just a portion of the populace, what will you do with that info? Will you inact manditory inprisonment, have those people undergoe surgury, what?
You cannot punish someone before they have committed a crime.
What I find to be a problem with this whole thread is, that this type of inquiry has been the justification for all sorts of mass injustice. "Some people are genetically inferior, so they must be identified and dealt with." The NAZI, the Catholics, the racist, the manifest destiny morons, etc...!
This type of inquiry is the basis for religion waging racial war and committing genocide.
That may not be your intention, but you are treading the slippery slope. I say go ahead do research, find out all the mysteries that life has to offer, but don't use the small bit of knowledge that is revealed to justify the wrongs to humanity that they undoubtably will be used for.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #35 on: February 17, 2013, 06:48:50 PM »
Quote from: "ThePilgrim101"
Predisposition to alcoholism does have a genetic component, yes. Much research has been done on 5-HTT alleles which suggest a certain polymorphism is linked to alcoholism; principally this research has been done in rhesus macaques with the added variable of rearing. The interesting thing is that when rhesus infants who had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism were reared with a good mother, they drank less than even those who had a good mother and did not have the risk allele.

I bring this up because the genetic predisposition for alcoholism in this case is also directly involved in the reuptake of serotonin. The research also goes on to describe that there are only certain primate species which have the 5-HTT polymorphisms which happen to include rhesus macaques, ourselves, and a few others. This is interesting because these primates (non-human and otherwise) also tend to behave fairly aggressively in certain paradigms, which may suggest the gene is also linked to aggression. I would think aggression is linked to murder =P

Bottom line: it's never as simple as "genetic predisposition." Epigenetics and environmental factors play a big role.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFACM5gcJYY

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/staff/Pa ... 0010152932
Good post.

Very informative video.  What I got from this, if the study translates over to humans, is that while genetics is an important factor, "good mothering/nurturing" can negate the adverse affects of the "bad" genes.  

I thought it was interesting that those with the "bad" genes seemed to actually do better than their normal peers when they received good nurturing at an early age. It's as if their genetic predisposition amplified early learned behavior, good or bad, rather than determine how they would turn out.

The peer versus mother rearing comparison was pretty eye opening as well.  Good moms are where it's at.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2013, 08:20:09 PM »
Quote from: "Jack89"
Good post.

Very informative video.  What I got from this, if the study translates over to humans, is that while genetics is an important factor, "good mothering/nurturing" can negate the adverse affects of the "bad" genes.  

I thought it was interesting that those with the "bad" genes seemed to actually do better than their normal peers when they received good nurturing at an early age. It's as if their genetic predisposition amplified early learned behavior, good or bad, rather than determine how they would turn out.

The peer versus mother rearing comparison was pretty eye opening as well.  Good moms are where it's at.

If I recall correctly, preliminary research on human genes and correlations to alcoholic types has already been done and produced similar results. Suomi has been doing this research for years, so he's pretty much the authority on this stuff =P

It's really interesting stuff. The 5-HTT polymorphism is only found in certain primates, including us, and it seems to give a predisposition to alcoholism. At the same time, however, those primates are some of the most adaptive mammals on the planet. Rhesus macaques, much like humans, can survive in many environments; anecdotally, there were a group of macaques in a preserve who had to be left there in the middle of a flood and when the researchers came back, the macaques were perfectly fine, all of them simply hiding in the trees.

Science is fun =)
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
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New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Offline Shiranu

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2013, 08:00:35 AM »
I think it is like anything else... there is no one absolute solution but a sum of all parts answer. There are genetic mental illnesses that can lead to a likelyhood of violence, but that does not say people with these disorders will be violent.

Like wise there are countless "healthy, sane" people who can be violent, people who have been abused who aren't permanently damaged (not very common, but still...), and so on and so forth.

Human psychology is simply too complex to track a set of behaviours to one set of genes or a life experience. You can calculate odds, but not narrow one set of behaviour to one set of genes.

While there are certainly mental illness that can lead to violence and some are passed down generation to generation, I don't feel there is a legitimate violence gene.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2013, 08:48:03 AM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
Even if he didn't take that kind of an extraordinary brain damage from that accident, but lived something heavy there would be expected CHANGES in his behaviour like everyone who experiences life threatening situations.

So, your example doesn't give us much to compare.

No, that would have been the subject of debate. Theories of localization of function and cerebral dominance were challenged in the late 1800s by Pierre Florens' theory of equipotentiality (i.e., the whole neocortex is equal in producing behavior); Florens would have predicted reduce function with a general recovery according to his model. Not everyone would have expected the types of drastic personality changes Gage exhibited.

My example isn't a standalone; it's analagous to any neurological trauma that has been demonstrated to produce changes in behavior. And that's the point. You're saying genetics is first, and I'm saying that type of thinking is invalid. The example is perfectly valid in this context.

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Predisposition to alcoholism does have a genetic component, yes. Much research has been done on 5-HTT alleles which suggest a certain polymorphism is linked to alcoholism; principally this research has been done in rhesus macaques with the added variable of rearing. The interesting thing is that when rhesus infants who had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism were reared with a good mother, they drank less than even those who had a good mother and did not have the risk allele.

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I don't get why you give this example to me, because I certainly agree that Epigenetics and environmental factors play a big role. Actually this is what James Fallon tells in the video.

Then why are you fighting with me about genetics being "the first reason?" You clearly understand my issue with that turn of phrase.
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
Quote from: \"quoting\"
New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2013, 09:02:38 AM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
I think there is a general misunderstanding here about what is meant by murder AND the difference between psychopathic behaviour and having your general behaviour changed.

Yes. There is.

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Being able to kill someone in a certain situation -crime of passion, revenge where the perpetrator KNOWS the victim- is VERY different than killing, torturing, raping other people to seek thrill, to play or have sexual satisfaction. So yes in daily language 'for kicks' and shits and giggles what serial killers do. The problem here is that these are very different crimes.

Not exactly, but fine.

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Psyhopaths are sane. They are perfectly aware of their actions and their consequences on their victims. They understand what are they doing and what that means. Other 'normal' people who commit violent crimes, shows suffering from their crimes mentally with this or that way in different levels, trying to rationalise it. This is not a behaviour psyhopaths show and that is why these scientists talk in a certain way why these people kill or commit violent crimes.

Not all Psychopaths are same. They tend to have increased function in executive functions, however. As well, not all Psychopaths are killers. See previous lit-review posted.

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Genetics + brain damage + abusive environment/abusive trauma. A pattern all of them -convicted psyhcopath killers I mean-have. This violent gene is a gene you can only get from your mother with X chromosome. Males only take an X from their mothers, we females also take and X from our father. Fallon says this natural double X situation of females 'dilute' the possibility of having the genetic predisposition, but yeah they carry it. And he says this is why boys and males are psychopath killers mostly, but girls and women rarely.

Makes sense.

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-Nobody excludes enviromental factors. But environmental factors alone do not create organised violent crimes against other people who has not relationship or familiarity to the perpetrator similar to the way a psychopath does. Environmental factors create clumsy, mostly momentarily decided reactive crimes. There is a little percentage of organised crimes against familiar people to the killer, but there is almost always an ordinary motive like money, jealousy, revenge... That's why there is something called 'cop logic', very much resembles to the occam's razor in this situation. And it works. 95 % of murders are commited by someone the victim knows, someone closely attached to her/him, their social circle, work and they are solved in a relatively short time. Life is ordinary, people are oridnary, they live their lives -their first motivation is to continue their lives- and something happenes to them in that process SO they kill or be killed. (This is completely different for psyhopathic killers and their motivation.)

You're speaking in absolutes where it really doesn't belong. Environmental factors, in Psychology, do not relate to ones immediate situation. They are concerned with the actual environment through time, learning, etc. or rather everything that is not genetic.

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-Now, when we arrive to the little 5 %, everything changes. Because there is no link/relationship between the victim and the killer in a traditional way. That's why 'cop logic' doesn't work anymore and you need behavioural sciences and facts based on genetics, psyhcology, clinic psychiatry...etc. It is actually virtually impossible to catch a serial killer, because of the nonexistence of that social, family,work circle link related between him and the victim. Most of the serial killers are caught by luck, mostly because they become careless in dumping bodies in time developing a confidence that they won't be caught. They start to take short cuts, become less careful. Berkowitz got caught with a parking ticket. Most of them never get caught.

Stats?

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Now the idea is that there is a huge difference between this people and us, so much we are almost different 'things'. Because they are not mentally insane. Very, but very few psycopthas that caught have genuine mental ilnesses. They are SANE. We normal people all have stories, bad memories, abuse, rage, hatred...etc in our lives. But as Fallon says, genetically we are WIRED TO supress it and let go. Furthermore, we don't seek out to satisfy this, get organised to act on it in anyway. This is why genetic predisposition is counted as the first reason 'capacity', a 'cup' that you can pour all a person's experiences in it. Our cups are bigger and all different shaped, their cups are not. And their cups are exactly like each others.  

Except it's not the first reason. It's a factor. You could just as easily have a perfectly normal baby born who is dropped on his head, has internal bleeding which damages the vmPFC, and grows up to be a psychopath. Just like you can have psychopaths who aren't killers...like a high percentage of them.

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And under certain circumstances supported by certain elements, it is perfectly predictable that they WILL KILL in ther lives. The point is here is not 'they may not kill because 50 % is environment and they had a good one'. It's that they are born with a genetic inclination to create unspeakable violence. When they do not, they can become scientist to reasearch their own kind as seen in James Fallon's case because Fallon identfied himself and some of his family history as having a psycopahtic brain pattern. He inherited that from his ancestors at his mother's side. And yes he thinks because he had a very happy childhood he didn't become dangerous for the society, but he also lacks the second factor of genetic defect he identified in all other studied pyshcopaths.

And under certain cirumstances, you can predict I will kill in my life.

No. Stop. It is not that they are born with a genetic inclination to violence. Psychopaths are born with "abnormal" functioning in key areas of the brain, principally the PFC that rises partly from genetic and partly from environmental factors. Psychopaths can be *anybody* including fortune 500 CEOs. Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent in fMRIs are exceedingly useful imaging techniques, yes, but you can't say "he has a Psychopathic brain pattern so psychopath!" There's behavioral *and* neurological criteria used to denote psychopathy in any individual.

Nothing in neuroscience, psychology, or life is that clear cut. =P

EDIT: Those were PET scans, my bad. Herp-derp-derp.
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
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New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #40 on: February 18, 2013, 12:30:25 PM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
But in the video and other sources Fallon summarise a conclusion that if that baby turns out to be a pyshopathic serial killer, he was not a perfectly healthy baby to begin with. Fallon gives two genetic factors first AND THEN the environmental one. As I told in the above post, there is a need of an aditional damage after the first genetic predisposition.

Again, you have to stop formulating if-then absolutes. My scenario of an individual undergoing cerebral hemorrhage in the PFC is as possible as diathesis-stress interactions. I'm fully aware that - in practical terms - my scenario is less likely, but it illustrates the underlying point. Psychopathy is a Psychological construct we've created to define a certain type of personality disorder, which can be obssessed with the PCL-R Neurologically, it stems from dysfunction in the frontal cortex matched to controls. There is no denying that someone can be born with a genetic susceptibility that leads to abnormal development of the PFC, thereby bringing higher scores on the Psychometrics that measure the construct. Psychopathy is not treated with such stringent criterion, however. Most often it is a gene X environment interaction, but it does not have to be. This is why you can distinguish between primary and secondary psychopathy colloquially.

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OK, yes not reason factor. Then it is the first factor(s). My point was exactly that all psyhcopaths are different, but share common genetic factors and this means something, so that's why I focused on that. And everything that has been accumulated on them are from convicted real psyhopathic killers. Different people with different backgrounds and enviornments but the same genetic predispositions and and additonal defects.

And this is the problem we keep having. First is a meaningless term in the actual construct. Fallon introduces it first, but it doesn't immediately make it the primary factor, even in genetic predisposition cases. First, second, or third are completely arbitrary here.

[quoteI am trying to say that when all those elements come together it is highly likely that person will kill.[/quote]

I got that. But you're equivocating Psychopathy with killing and that isn't always the case.

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I was trying to define very two different kind of crimes that's why I wrote that paragraph. There is an obvious big difference between a the motive of psychopath killing people and people killing other people as 'ordinary' crimes as a result of business conflict, money, debt, jealousy, robbery, muggling, insurance money... They mostly do not continue to kill after they get what they want. Psychopaths do.

The difference is that  Psychopaths are more likely to make personal utilitarian judgments. The issue is that not all Psychopaths will decide murder is the correct option, as it is a less viable option in the scenario. You cannot assume murder is the choice they make as it is not always the most utilitarian for them.

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But we can speculate that people who has that 3 ingredients are HIGHLY LIKELY to murder in their lives.

More likely. Not highly. 1% of the population meets clinical description of Psychopathy. The same is true of 14-15% of the prison population. 14-15% is still a generally large proportion, but I'd expect a hell of a lot more if they were highly likely to murder.

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Actually what makes Fallon's research so unique is that he is the only one who makes this kind of a certain claim. Nobody likes that, nobody does that. Me neither. But he has a point and honestly it doesn't have a gap. AND he is saying what you are saying, he just emphisizes the genetic factor(s) and count them first. He doesn't talk about possible environmental factors and then say "Oh and err there is a genetic factor'. (Years ago, people thought homosexuality wasn't determined by genes and that people made a choice. When it was first pointed out, everyone screamed similar things. I am not comparing them. I am comparing people's REACTION to the conclusion they didn't expect.)

There's no denying that genetics are an important part of everything in our brain. However, the reason you can't make those certain claims - and the reason you can tell is he's being slightly facetious - is his opening where he says he has the genes and brain of a serial killer. You can't claim certainty and then claim probability.

Sure they did. And then people like me who actually care about neuropsyhology and genetics took a look at the evidence and thought gene x environment interactions are fairly important. It's an interaction. Not a main effect.

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First of all environmenal factor(s) is a very big word. Something bad there to you not bad to me. There are people who lives through very heavy parental abuse in their youth but can become healthy adults. A psyhopath does NOT have this chance. "He has no control." Fallon also indicates that environmental factors are not that a big problem for a 'normal' brain and how we suppress many things that would make a psyhopathic killers rage to TIC to act like a predators.

Two words, but I get your point =P

We don't treat environmental factors as absolute (unless they're, say, a teratogen); we treat them as dependent on the person, though there is significant overlap.

Environmental factors are a big thing for even a normal brain. This is why there are a plethora of psychological disturbances that arise out of environmental stress. Depression, dysthymia, BPD, anxiety, etc. Our PFC is largely involved in inhibition of responses from the amygdala, but even in Psychopaths this connectivity can be in tact. It depends on the person.

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So, after all this information given, yes I believe genetic factors are the first factors for a psychopath becoming a sreial killer AND definitely environmental factors being important too.

You mean after one video? I already gave you a scenario in which genetic predisposition was counter-balanced by the environment. There's no reason the same can't be true of emotional disorders and personality disorders (and I say this without checking the databases, but I'd bet money this is the case), in which environmental care can negate the effect of genetic predisposition...which is *another* good reason to stop arbitrarily denoting first or second to any factor.

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PS By the way, it sounds like you actually haven't watched the video I posted or even googled Fallon. Because you are discussing with me as if this is my personal opinion. I just agree with the scientist, because he makes big sense. He also has balls, lol. yeah what he is saying is not 'nice', may result in different bad kind of things, but untill someone steps up and says "Fallon was wrong, here is the evidence" I agree with him. Besides this man partly has this genetic predisposition himself, in his family.

Don't do that  :|

I watched the video. Would you feel better if I told you that I got to have dinner with another neuroscientist who studies Psychopathology? Probably not, because it doesn't matter.

Don't do that religion thing where you say, "oh well, you must not have actually seen the material or even studied him." The problem is that you are bringing your personal opinion into this, hence why I asked for stats earlier.

Except the only one making broad absolutes claims after having seen *one* video is you. I've tried to walk though - logically - with you and have dropped not only articles in, but analogies to other genes that show important gene x environment interactions, and that are modulated in different ways; there is an hour long video I posted to the later's effect. Exactly what else do you want?
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New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Offline Draconic Aiur

(No subject)
« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2013, 01:44:32 PM »
We don't have a murder gene, what we do have is an reptile brain.

(No subject)
« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2013, 02:45:23 PM »
It's because I don't think he's wrong; I think he's using a figure of speech. The first comes because it's an article of the list. I don't think, if pressed, he would subscribe to one as principle to the other.

I've spent my undergraduate career working in a lab devoted to understanding the interaction between emotion and memory. My interests lay in emotional processing (and really emotion in general) and the neuroscience behind it. My current independent work is built off of previous research using biofeedback to alter subjective emotional experience, using an emotional stroop task as the dependent variable. Peripherally, I'm interesting in the neuropsychology of psychopathy, which is why I like to look at Koenigs' work (I got to meet him once and had an absolute fangasm. Nerded out like crazy. Nice guy too).

Human psychology is often not very formulaic, which is a problem. Don't get me wrong, it can make some startingly accurate predictions, but there are so many practical factors that get in the way. I'm not arguing with Fallon when he says that there is a general formula. There is, but the magnitude of either variable is case dependent.

Sorry, I'm a bit rushed at the moment. I'll try to elaborate later.

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I tried to say that our information and the accumulation of knowledge on psyhcopathic killers are coming ONLY from psychopathic killers who actually commited murders. Isn't that correct. That is the nature of the subject isn't it? I have read about this. (All behavioural)

that's fair, I probably misinterpreted and for that I apologize.
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
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New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Re: Re:
« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2013, 11:26:50 AM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
That is so fucking cool. I have questions.

"biofeedback to alter subjective emotional experience".

-So how do you guys define 'emotion' and 'memory' in scientific terms?
-You said 'to alter subjective emotion'. Aren't all emotions already subjective? Memories are personal and different people would react with different emotions to 'similar memories.
-If not how do you measure that a certain emotion based on a certain memory is not subjective, so that you define one as subjective? And also emotions can be 'mixed' can't they? Or -just guessing- are there main emotions and a hirearchy?
-What's an emotional stroop task? (Anything familiar with the Stroop Effect? Are you guys painting the emotions or memories as a reference to each other? :P Kidding. )
-So you are constructing experiments by manipulating a certain variable to find out what gets affected? You are in a way trying to find out, under what circumstances what changes between memory<--->emotion track?
-But people unconsciously 'alter' their own memories, modify them according to their emotions all their lives, don't they? There is also collective memory, selective memory.
-Or are we talking about something completely different by 'memory' and 'emotion'. I guess so.

Emotion and memory are often defined by the paradigm in which you are using them. Memory is a bit easier since it's more straightforward (but also huge): You have recall (showing a stimuli, waiting X time, then asking someone to bring the stimuli back to conscious; like a short answer question on a test) and recognition (showing a stimuli, waiting X time, then showing stimuli that is same or different and asking "do you remember this?"). Then there are different components in models like short-term memory, long-term memory as well as various subtypes relating to the type of stimuli like semantic and episodic.

Basically, memory is being able to retrieve a previously seen stimuli back into conscious.

Emotion is a bit...more difficult, but for practical purposes you can think of them as your basic happy, sad, anger, but grouped into two distinct categories: positive (pleasant) and negative (unpleasant). Positive stimuli is considered one that modulates several variables such as skin conductance, facial movements, and subjective interpretation. While it is true that there can be differences between what we interpret as pleasant, erotic images are often perceived by participants - regardless of gender - as pleasant, while pictures of, say, a snake with it's jaw open is considered unpleasant.

The reason I say "subjective emotional experience" is because biofeedback is necessarily an individual thing; and to properly measure cortical activity to EEG, you have to make sure the baseline for the participant is set to their particular "comfort" so to speak. If I were using a standardized set of materials to induce an emotional response, like the IAPS, I'd be comfortable dropping the subjective.

My current work is not on memory, but the basic way to control emotional effects on memory is to be super careful =P We (and by that I mean my PI) uses a highly controlled set of stimuli from the IAPs and ANEW which are all normed stimuli set with certain positive or negative emotional components. You can test emotional memory by showing that stimuli and seeing if someone can recognize it later. The results are fascinating, if only because my PI's work is attempting to turn the current view of emotional memory over.

There are main emotions. Paul Ekman has been working to define six core emtions that are visible on the human face, and these go across cultures (happy, sad, angry, disgusted, surprised, afraid). Yes, emotions can be mixed as well.

The emotional stroop is exactly like the stroop effect, except instead of measuring the RT between interefering stimuli, we measure the RT dependent on the emotional stimuli we use (positive or negative words); the stroop just helps to create greater attentional processing so that no one attempts to focus on the valence of the word.

Yes, people do alter their own memories. Which is part of the reason Human Neuropsychology is so difficult. In most experimental tasks you'll find that the researcher introduces the stimuli to the participant and focuses on memory for that stimuli to prevent any contamination. There are some memory tasks that don't like the famous faces, but those are still standardized so that the particular cohort should get >90% accuracy on it.

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Know the feeling. I am an art historian. I worked as a researcher in a univ for a decade then quit. I have met the American philospoher Joseph Margolis in an international Aesthetics Congress held in my country. Had the chance to have many exchanges with him. He paid attention to me, even singled me out as "I want to hear from you young lady" which was a life time opportunity I couldn't take on, because life had a distasteful turn for me. Anyway that is not important, it was amazing! That man has taught me more than a snob prof tried in a year, in one week. Fangasm, orgasm...you name it. Seeing the difference between that short haired Gandalf and those many so called snob European & Turkish academics were priceless. You know, the moment you think "I knew I was not crazy!" :lol: I guess and hope in natural sciences you guys are luckier and don't get that kind of bullshit. Though my sis is an anlaytical chemist and she thinks allthough it seems better, it is similiar.

Really? What is your focus in Art History?
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
Quote from: \"quoting\"
New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.

Re: The Murder Gene
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2013, 01:03:47 AM »
Quote from: "drunkenshoe"
"...like a short answer question on a test..."

Never thought of it like this. Is it that direct? I am putting your last paragraph here as it is directly linked to what confuses me here.

For all intents and purposes, yes =P

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I was very young when I discovered this by myself. I observed other people altering; 'remembering' things sometimes very different, sometimes slightly modified. I also had a great chance to catch people deliberately 'remembering' things to their benefits in difficult troubling situations in a fertile play ground for this, in a university where people try to change anything to their benefits because of competition. Because I am a tactless person and severely allergic to bs, I put myself in very difficult situations and got a lot of advice and friendly warning from my profs. Even about heavy political discussions. (They didn't tell me that I should 'lie' or 'accept' anything, they were just trying to protect me, I get that now better.) That's why I am always paranoid when I 'remember' something and if I have other people related to what I am trying remember, I always but always try to question them without provoking emotionally to cause any more alteration than the usual they already may have.

Sure, but you should also me careful. We used to think of memory as a simple "information in, information out" process, but we understand now that it's much more dynamic. In large ways, we reconstruct out memories of the past. Generally, we're pretty accurate but occasionally new stimuli can influence our memories. A great example is the Elizabeth Loftus work on eye-witness testimony. People are not actively attempting to change their memories. It's just a byproduct of the neurological process.

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But you also said "...you have to make sure the baseline for the participant is set to their particular "comfort" so to speak..." How can you make sure of that? Or I'll rephrase it as the first question popped in my mind when I first read about your research. When you are doing all this, you are relying on what people tell about themselves. Their fears, what they 'think' they find 'negative' or 'positive'. So you define things universally 'negative' or 'positive'. And the comfort zone is defined according to that. How is that possible? I see it is possible how healthy is it? (I had therapy, group threapy, I know how people act when they know they are being 'measured', 'questioned', 'observed' in any sense. I am saying something more than 'the observed will always change when it is observed'.)

No, not exactly...I wanted to avoid the technical bullshit so I said "comfort" but I can see now that was a mistake. I'll just say it all:

Above the orbital cortex Fallon mentioned is the dorsal prefrontal cortex; it is composed of a right and left hemisphere, and we are generally concerned with the sides, or lateral gyri/sulci so we refer to those sections as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Each side of the dlPFC is associated with certain behavioral systems: the left is associated with approach related behavior, and the right with avoidant related behaviors. Now the brain is composed of cells called neurons which, when they communicate with each other, cause ionic fluctuations which create an electric charge. We can measure the coritcal activity of these neurons at the scalp through EEG because so many are firing at once. Using an EEG with multiple leads to different parts of the scalp, you can measure electrical activity in the brain.

Biofeedback is the process of taking these electrical signals from the dlPFC and displaying them for a participant so that they can see them, and alter them. When I say "comfort" I'm trying to avoid saying that we band-pass filter the raw EEG from both the left and right dlPFC and sort it into a certain frequency called "alpha" which is inversely related to "conscious activity." Hemispheric activation is always referenced relatively, i.e. left activity relative to right. However, to make sure feedback is progressing in the desired direction, you need to establish a baseline asymmetry value for the participant to work with. That's the "comfort" I'm talking about; it's the baseline before biofeedback by which we can make observations as to whether relative asymmetrical activity is changing.

Again, I don't need to ask people about their fears for this study. It's not of the real interest to me. The "comfort" is a matter of bio-electrical signals. The positive/negative affect is a subjective feeling which I'll touch on in a moment.

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And also what is negative or positive to all people? A snake with an open mouth is not negative to me at all. It's exciting, it tells about an animal with extraordinary dedecting skills and ability of movement, if I let my mind wander, I think about a few water snakes I saved from illegal animal sellers, then all reptiles, crocodiles dinosaurs,evolution... how fascinating and beautiful all that is and how astonishingly beautiful are all reptiles. Positive. When I look at sex images -if I am not watching porn to masturbate, there is another motivation and frame of mind there- they mostly remind me that I have been single for a long time, they are not even that pleasent if the images are not praticularly 'aesthetic'. negative. The latter tells negative emotions, but then I know why I have been single for a long time. It has an explanation and it is a natural situation, so it is overall not negative at all, actually positive. Because I have been depressed for years and a significant other was a burden in my situation -as much as I would be a burden to him, causing more negative- and making that choice made me and my life 'lighter', easier underde pression, more positive. I am not trying to rationalise it because I also know that I should act before it becomes a fear of commitment and I will know when this happens. I can tell you, it started. .lol:

I would have absolutely agreed with you four or five years ago, and to a degree I still do. If someone were to show me a picture of a gun and ask, "positive, negative, or neutral?" I'd probably pick neutral. However, there's a flaw to that system, namely that it is nominal. Most emotional stimuli databases list their valences according to interval range (1-9, for instance); positive, neutral, negative are nominal categories for that interval but mathematically it's a continuum. For common purposes, it works to call something rated a 1 as negative and something rated a 9 as positive. Is this universal? No. I may rate a picture of a bunny as 7 and you might rate it as a 6. A draw-back of studying complex systems is that they're not functions; the same input does not necessarily give the same output. That said, we get some pretty good averages which show use some interesting trends in the subjective appraisal of stimuli. As well, we have multiply convergent physiological measurements such as skin conductance, heart rate, pupil dilation, ocular activity, and (in other studies) reaction time and neurological correlates to assess processing of stimuli.

The interesting thing about common emotional paradigms and your scenario is, largely, time. You have the time to dwell on the stimuli and appraise it. In many paradigms, we don't let our participants stew on it. Original research was done for ~6s per picture for physiological recording. For emotional memory paradigms, participants view the picture for about <1s - ~100ms. There's no time to - consciously - appraise the stimuli. Now, I watch violent TV shows. I get excited watching them. But, flash a picture of a man holding a knife to a woman's throat (please don't tell Bradley and Lang I told you about that one ;) ) and my immediate reaction is to rate it as negative. It's interesting stuff. If you want to view the article that got the ball rolling (and I assure you, there is a decade more research after this), this is a good place to start:

http://dionysus.psych.wisc.edu/lit/arti ... M2001a.pdf

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Now, aside my observations on my personal situation, you see that I am constantly able to 'bust' myself. Everyone can do this, but mostly people don't. I cannot compartmentalise anything -personally I think that's a basic issue- so I might be a bit more prone to do that. Well actually, I was told by professionals that I am really good at that. But I don't trust myself with my feelings and emotions, and my memory just like that at first thought or glance nevertheless. Noone should. I am not a liar, I don't think people are necessarily liars either. I just think we cannot be trusted about our emotions, on how we describe them, because we are homo sapients.

I'm glad you brought up the last part because it's a common objection to pretty much any measure in Psychology. "We can't because we're human." I imagine if mice could do what we could, they'd say "we can't make tests for mice! We're mice!" It's this kind of anthropromorphic egocentrism that we're all these super-impressive cognitive beings with free will who can act completely individual. However, it's like that age-old adage: if everyone is special, then no one is =P

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Who are those participants you use in your experiments? Are they being paid participtaing for example? Volunteers? (These both situations have very different motivations I am aware, just trying to understand) Are they people you have deep, good personal information on, gathered in a long enough time to prevent any conscious and unconscious self manipulation? These are my questions, what I want to learn, not any claims. You said results are fascinating, so I am curious.

The dirty little secret in Psychology is that all of our results come from college students. That's not entirely true, but - generally speaking - it is. College students are the only ones who will work for extra credit (granted, in clinical trials, we do *not* use college students). If you do have participants who are not college students, you do have to pay them (college students will work for extra credit thankfully). College students are just easier to recruit and close by for most researchers. Most experimental research doesn't much care for any of their deep, personal information so it's safely disregarded. However, you do have to make sure participants aren't half-assing the procedure. For instance, many experiment tasks are made either ludicrously easy or have an extensive amount of research done into measuring statistics on the measure that we can set criterion values to remove participant data that may be contaminated by laziness or serious disability. For instance, on our old paradigm, we had an accuracy criterion where participants had to have an accuracy above 'X' for their data to be valid (it was the difference between sort of trying, and completely not).

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It's a happy coincidence you mentioned Ekman, because I am a little familiar with Ekman and Friesen's famous, crazy 'Gesture' nutjob study from my postgraduate years. I say 'gesture' study, -I know it's much more than that- because more than a decade ago I used their common hand gesture definitions to look for any available patterns in some hand picked examples of Italian Renaissance Sculpture. (Paintings was impossible to use as they can show more than you need to and easy to confuse.) It was something very simple, my prof asked me to pick something easygoing to play. I have picked 'hands'. I've always been obssessed with human hand since I was old enough to grasp the idea that among all primates ours are 'different' in a scale that might even be the reason for us developing our evolutionarily very expensive 'smarts'. Anyway, I found what they attempted to do astonishing -and as some sort of madness- other than the obvious nature of the research itself, also for many reasons related to art history, its sub areas, cultural history and my own species. [And yes gesture IS universal and I also think it is 'timeless' and the latter would be something very easy to see, if we could remove every 'period's own cultural oppression by seperating those rules of oppression to compare that culture with its own developed 'versions' in every different 'period' so to reconstruct the 'life' for example...500 years ago in real terms. But that looks impossible, because we know how people dressed themselves, or lived in what kind of buildings, what weapons or tools they used...etc. But we don't know what kind of gestures they used. :(

That's actually all fascinating! Though the argument could be made that our hands were not optimized for our intelligence; I believe Dawkins made the point of quoting a mathematician in one of his books that said, had we had two less fingers, we would only have 8, thereby leading us to discovery binary and the computer about 200 years early. Would have saved some time.

I'll send you my thoughts on IQ tests tomorrow.
Quote from: \"azmhyr\"
Quote from: \"quoting\"
New Testament doesn\'t Justify the banning of gays from anywhere.
Well, the old testament permabans them from life tho.