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Front Psychol. 2013 Mar 27;4:139. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00139. eCollection 2013.

Psychopathy, adaptation, and disorder.

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  • 1Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Queen's University Kingston, ON, Canada ; Department of Psychology, Queen's University Kingston, ON, Canada.

Abstract

In a recent study, we found a negative association between psychopathy and violence against genetic relatives. We interpreted this result as a form of nepotism and argued that it failed to support the hypothesis that psychopathy is a mental disorder, suggesting instead that it supports the hypothesis that psychopathy is an evolved life history strategy. This interpretation and subsequent arguments have been challenged in a number of ways. Here, we identify several misunderstandings regarding the harmful dysfunction definition of mental disorder as it applies to psychopathy and regarding the meaning of nepotism. Furthermore, we examine the evidence provided by our critics that psychopathy is associated with other disorders, and we offer a comment on their alternative model of psychopathy. We conclude that there remains little evidence that psychopathy is the product of dysfunctional mechanisms.

KEYWORDS:

adaptation; inclusive fitness theory; mental disorder; psychopathy; social evolution

PMID:
23543424
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3608900
Free PMC Article
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