Broadcast 1/7/2014 at 20:26:17
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast
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James H. Fallon is an American neuroscientist. He is professor of psychiatry and human behavior and emeritus professor of anatomy and neurobiology in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include adult stem cells, chemical neuroanatomy and circuitry, higher brain functions, and brain imaging.
"The last scan in the pile was strikingly odd. In fact it looked exactly like the most abnormal of the scans I had just been writing about, suggesting that the poor individual it belonged to was a psychopath--or at least shared an uncomfortable amount of traits with one....When I found out who the scan belonged to, I had to believe there was a mistake....But there had been no mistake. The scan was mine."For the first fifty-eight years of his life James Fallon was by all appearances a normal guy. A successful neuroscientist and medical school professor, he'd been raised in a loving, supportive family, married his high school sweetheart, and had three kids and lots of friends.
Then he learned a shocking truth that would not only disrupt his personal and professional life, but would lead him to question the very nature of his own identity.
The Psychopath Inside tells the fascinating story of Fallon's reaction to the discovery that he has the brain of a psychopath. While researching serial murderers, he uncovered a distinct neurological pattern in their brain scans that helped explain their cold and violent behavior. A few months later he learned that he was descended from a family with a long line of murderers which confirmed that Fallon's own brain pattern wasn't a fluke.
As a scientist convinced that humans are shaped by their genetics, Fallon set out to reconcile the truth about his brain with everything he knew about the mind, behavior, and the influence of nature vs. nurture on our personalities. How could he, a successful scientist and a happy family man with no history of violence, be a psychopath? How much did his biology influence his behavior? Was he capable of some of the gruesome atrocities perpetrated by the serial killers he had studied?- Advertisement -
Have you been scored on the Hare Psychopathy scale.
you say, near the end of the book, you say you're not a psychopath, but then you say you are a pro-social psychopath and lucky psychopath.
One of my favorite quotes is from Ben Franklin, who said, "The beauty of rationalization is you can rationalize anything" And you, with your 150+ IQ are a really, really good rationalizer.
Can you go into your three legged theory on psychopathy.
It was a combination of love and luck-- because, as a teenager you engaged in criminal actions that could have gotten you arrested.
You've gone through your life with people telling you things, including a psychiatrist, "For you to have done this, you have to be a psychopath."
I am less nervous doing this interview with you then I was when I did the interview with Confessions of a Sociopath.
For me, frankly Rob, it's fun. It's a game.
The experts I've spoken to say that for psychopaths and sociopaths, it's all a game, about manipulation and control.
I have all I want because I have a kind of fearless dominance.
But you have hurt people. Your daughter and sister sent you letters telling you"
I blew them off, because, as my mother said, "Jim you just don't care."
This not caring-- that's tied to lack of empathy--
I can see a child in trouble and I can cry. But being close to me I don't give any more than if you were a stranger.
You mention in your book how your caring for children was locked in, because of the manifest ion of some gene expression, before other factors in psychopathy kicked in.
Unless someone pisses you off. Let's talk about revenge.
experts talked about hard core signs
I just saw Philomena, in which a woman shows incredible forgiveness. How are you with forgiveness?
I ask how psychopaths function in indigenous tribal cultures.
who are the shamans
who are the leaders with fearless dominance
Discovery Channel went to Sahara to test Berber bedouin nomads.
You just made a leap from discussing them as Berber bedouin nomads to describing them as warrior culure.
They had no memory of violence going back 400 years.
What is the warrior gene, how does it manifest and what percentage of people have it?
15 warrior genes. If you have one it doesn't affect you that much. If you have all of them you are going to be an aggressive person.
There are about 15 tied to empathy, 15 tied to aggression and advice and 12 tied to anxiety and other traits that play into psychopathy.
1% vs 2% psychopaths in population
1% females 2% males. Percent of people with warrior gene varies from culture to culture
Categorical psychopaths-- 28 score and above
Look at 20 score then it's 5 -8 and above.
You've said you have bipolar disorder ,not the worst kind, and you have mania and have said, who would want to let go of that?
I have hypomania".
it sounds like the kind of state that you would want a drug to give you.
Is there a tie-in between bipolar disorder and psychopathy?
So you ride the "wave" of the high and manipulate or take people into dangerous situations, like the time you took a relative to be exposed to Marburg virus, which is related to Ebola virus.
What about doing something to protect the world from psychopaths. You talk about how it costs the US a half a trillion a year, in just the more concrete costs of prisons, theft, etc.
So you are saying that if they can be identified early, and they can be protected from abuse, then they will be less likely to be hurtful.
I'm pleased that you agree that there should be ways to identify and develop interventions-- with a lot of caveats. Have there been forums where this idea has been discussed and explored?
What is the annual research budget for what, with a 500 billion to a trillion dollar damage to our society, is one of the most expensive economic impacts on our culture?
So, I am on a campaign.
Where does your brain and your genetics fit in with your libertarianism?
Any aspects of the psychopathic aspects of your makeup that tie in to your libertarian rationale?
Where does fairness fit with the US being one of the most unequal in terms of opportunity to succeed?
What about a bottom up, top down connection?
You talk about a sweet spot on the psychopathy spectrum. Let's wrap up with that.
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