Review Article - (2017) Volume 2, Issue 2

Reconceptualising Psychopathy

Stephen Mihailides*, Roslyn Galligan and Glen Bates
Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University, Australia
*Corresponding Author: Stephen Mihailides, Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University, John Street, Hawthorn, Australia, Tel: 0403 209 663 Email:


This work re-engineers theory about psychopathy, by redevelopment of core assumptions about psychopathy. In that redevelopment, the origins of current theory are traced, to analyse critically the post Cleckley period of construct development. The discordances in competing lines of existing theory become a precursor to theoretical innovation. The notion of paradoxical superfunctioning-a topical feature of Cleckley's work is recognised as having utility for redefining theory. This precedes fundamental reformulation of theory of psychopathy, where the focus is upon the implications of normal levels of psychopathy for adaptive human functioning. Psychopathy is formulated as a statetrait construct. The principle of dynamism is deployed to guide understanding of how state levels of psychopathy may vary by context. Tenets of a State-Psychopathy Hypothesis are organised within assumptions of evolutionary psychology. Psychopathy is interlocked within the functions of the innate survival and predatory instincts of a territorial, human organism. Psychopathy is defined within evolutionary theory's modularity of mind framework. Implications recognise that empathy and psychopathy co-occur at normal levels of both constructs. The Directional Vector Hypothesis is developed to reconcile this expected co-occurrence, which proposes that there is a dual processing capacity for empathic and psychopathic cognition. New theory therefore predicts that empathy and psychopathy are not mutually exclusive. Psychopathic cognition for normal populations is defined as occurring within a quarantined zone of the mind, as a targeting scanner that sweeps socio-cultural environments, scanning for threat. New theory predicts that experimentally manipulating survival threat should impact psychopathy levels for normal populations.

Keywords: Psychopathy; Adaptive; Evolutionary psychology; Directional vector; Dual-processing

Reconceptualising Psychopathy

This review develops theory about normal, not clinical levels of psychopathy. It reworks the assumption of deficit and grounds revisions of psychopathy theory in the Adaptive Psychopathy Hypothesis. The paper formulates a state-trait theory about psychopathy. Due to a silence in the current literature about normal levels of psychopathy, the review traces information about the construct outside the extant psychological literature in the formulation of the State-Psychopathy Hypothesis. Contributions from the historical record about war, covert surveillance, religious laws prescribing stoning to death for apostasy, genocides, and cross-cultural laws inform modeling [1-6]. Tenets of the State Psychopathy Hypothesis are grounded in evolutionary psychology. An innate human territoriality and survival instinct is implicated with appearance of transient trends in elevations of collective psychopathy, such as appear during genocides and wars. A territorial incursion and survival threat in placed as central for the assumption of the State Psychopathy hypothesis. New theory predicts that a territorial incursion representing a survival threat to participants, should raise state psychopathy levels.

This review initiates the theoretical innovation by tracing the divergence away from Cleckley's original position in 1941 when two parallel streams of theory emerged. McCord and McCord [7], preceded Hare [8] in the stream that studied forensic presentations. They diverged from other authors who studied clinical populations [9,10]. This split in the literature resulted in a divergent phenomenology and set of measurement standards for each stream. Some attempt at reunification has emerged through a unifying descriptive phenomenology, proposed by ideas grounded in Triarchic Psychopathy [11]. A review of principles of mechanistic theories [12-19] from prior experimental work is considered alongside the descriptive phenomenology. Theoretical assumptions of mechanistic paradigms are critically analyzed.

Findings of the critical analysis are then positioned within metaethics [20]. Meta-ethics is an essential tool that is applied in order to unify the split in literatures about psychopathy. Guided by meta-ethics, a re-alignment of the psychopathy literature guides the tracing of psychopathy's footprint in cognition, but for normal populations. Meta-ethics is a tool for pointing to empathy and psychopathy as they are expressed in normal populations. The outcome of analysis challenges the assumption that empathy and psychopathy are mutually exclusive. In revision to theory, psychopathy and empathy are defined as co-occurring.

A new concept is defined to explain how psychopathy and empathy may reasonably co-occur. The concept, quarantining areas of intrapsychic cognition, is developed in the review. One quarantine area each for empathy and psychopathy are defined by new theory, outlining how each is laden with an affective-range. For psychopathy the qualitative features of that affective range are cold heartedness, baseness, instincts to slay, cruelty, pleasure at suffering, ghoulish humor but where they emerge for normal-range psychopathy. Discussion pre-empts new ideas about vector quarantining of cognition, which is traced, more deeply, to the human survival and territorial instincts. Theory outlines the place of survival threat and territorial incursion in activation of quarantined psychopathic affect, cognition and behavior. The final adaptation of new nomenclature for this vector tracing is achieved within evolutionary psychology.

Key Features of the History of Psychopathy: Cleckley and the Two Evolutionary Lines of Theory since Cleckley

Only one of two subsequent lines of research sustained Cleckley's views about psychopathy bearing adaptive features. It was the work of McCord and McCord [7], preceding the move towards Hare's antisocial, often forensic populations [8] where divergence from the common origin of Cleckley's work occurred. The literature remains replete with theoreticians who do [8,21] versus do not [22,23] observe divergence from the conceptual origins of psychopathy in Cleckley's plenary work.

This has implications for modern ideas about the phenomenology of psychopathy that reflect the critical divergence in the literature. For example, the PCL-R [21,24] with its two-factor, four facet structure, and its factor-structure variations in the literature [25], represent measurement models more likely to emphasize psychopathology. Those models capture deficit-based ideas about anti-sociality and criminality. Conversely, alternative scholarship [9,26] adapts nomenclature for the superstructure of psychopathy differently. Levenson's work resulted in the public-domain tool, the Levenson Psychopathy Inventory, in a modest, but well noted literature. The work of Lilienfeld et al. [22] has a greater literary foundation, in its focus upon psychopathy as a personality disorder with some adaptive features. The Lilienfeld and Andrews [9] Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) and subsequent revision to the PPI-R [26] defined eight subscales to the PPI-R. For details about the PPI-R and various nomological networks ascribed to it, see Benning et al. [27], and Neumann et al. [28]. The subject of one of the PPI-R's subscales, Coldheartedness (CH), is focused upon by Marcus et al. [29], which is an analysis for those interested in understanding the PPI-R as a 3- factor inventory.

Predominantly, proponents of the PPI-R observe the adaptive functioning of psychopathy as measured by the Fearless Dominance subscale. A topical debate exists about the area [22,30-32]. Obstruction about adaptive facility of Fearless Dominance is the focus of Lynam and Miller [30]; Miller and Lynam [31], for those interested in that debate. An umbrella phenomenlogy has subsequently emerged in an attempt to unify psychopathy from conflicting genres in the Triarchic Personality Inventory, the Tri_P, [11,33]. There is also a complex, wider literature about fear, anxiety, harm avoidance [34], relevant to an extended discussion about Fearless Dominance but it goes beyond the purposes of our research. For those interested, those readings explore Hare's Interpersonal/Affective domain of the Psychopathy Checklist, and how Boldness (Tri_P) and the Fearless Dominance (PPI-R) relate to Lykeen's low-fear hypothesis of earlier dual-deficit theory about psychopathy.

Mechanistic Theories

Mechanistic paradigms are numerous in the post-Lykken literature. Critical analysis of mechanism assists decode Triarchic Psychopathy for understanding adaptive, normal-range state-trait psychopathy. Mechanistic theories were developed by a group of theorists who sought to define experimental paradigms for studying psychopathy. In general, there was an emphasis upon understanding individual differences in mechanism, to study psychopathy’s role in socialization or condition ability. That is, mechanistic theories assisted to understand the ease with which a person could be reared, trained or parented into developing a conscience and appreciation of, and respect for social rules, norms and laws.

In these competing views about condition ability, the assumption of deficit and pathology is well established in the dual deficit theory of the low-fear hypothesis of psychopathy ([18], for the well-known originally formulated modeling). The assumption of pathology is apparent in the terminology itself 'dual deficit' where presumption of pathology is embedded in theoretical terms. The assumption of deficit was adapted to bio psychosocial theories [13,17,35-38] and quite recently adapted to biopsychosocial theory by Snowden and Gray [39]. Similarly, a variation in the assumption of deficit is apparent in information processing, interpersonal and cognitive-motivational theories [40-48]. Deficit is presumed in these theories because they mobilize language that defines models that speak about pathology or defect, rather than, for example, natural variation in cognitive process.

The low-fear hypothesis of dual-deficit theory lent itself to adaptation by cognitive-behavioral and behavioral paradigms, within, for example, the different theories of passive and active avoidance, aversive learning, of socialization and condition ability [12-19]. The absence of, or lessened capacity to feel fear (ergo low-fear hypothesis), anxiety or some feature of those, has obvious implications for behavior within operant- and classical-conditioning and socialization paradigms. See, for example, some of the numerous commentaries about the low-fear hypothesis, as summarized many times in prior works [16,23,49-59]. Some contrary evidence appears in Scerbo et al. [60] because psychopaths did not respond with elevations in rates to response-contingent punishment, where a low-fear response would have predicted elevations. Instead psychopaths had elevated responses to reward-contingent stimuli.

Variations on these paradigms, such as those from bio psychosocial, psychobiological and neurobiologically grounded theories of temperament lend themselves to individual differences accounts of psychopathic behavior, by tracing affect and behavior to biological cause [13,17,35-39]. The theories draw, to different degrees, from behaviorism, neurobiology, and define different methodological tools for testing ideas about mechanism. Generally, they presume individual differences in core temperamental factors. A neurobiological foundation for temperamental factors is the basic idea theorists draw upon. None of the theories challenge the assumption of deficit or pathology. They, instead, view psychopathic behavior as having a biological basis.

Critical Analysis of Modern Theory: The Constructs Theorists Omitted, Psychopathy and the Normal Population

Aside from the point that the potentially adaptive accounts of bio psychosocial concepts are left underdeveloped by theorists, there remain further challenges for these theories. The novelty or sensationseeking aspects of bio psychosocial theories have implications for mechanism that sit uncomfortably with the assumption of deficit. That is apparent in the requirement to recognize elevations, not deficits on novelty seeking for psychopathic individuals. In bio psychosocial theory, psychopathy was conceptualized as elevated novelty-seeking and lowered harm-avoidance strategies. Psychopathy involves elevated boredom proneness, engagement with novelty-, possibly thrill- or pleasure-based goals, when by contrast with the normal population, such goals cause harm, arouse fear, and trigger inhibition. Without the capacity for recognition of the potential for harm and fear, bio psychosocial modeling could explain how any behavior could potentially become pleasurable or thrilling, however repugnant or heinous those behaviors are for people with in-tact harm-avoidance, or fear-based emotional circuitry.

Dual deficit is not immediately implied by this adaptation, without making the presumption, firstly that novelty seeking is somehow categorically pathogenic at some upper (c.f. lower) threshold, then secondly, asserting that an elevation in a construct is a deficit in another, namely impulse control. Instead, defining psychopathy as the combination of elevation and lowering (not deficit per se) across two constructs provides a richer, more revealing foundation upon which to construe the condition (In another variation on theory about condition ability, Eysenck described biological bases for temperamental variation in his three independent dimensions, (neuroticism-stability, extraversion-introversion and psychoticism-superego). In Eysenck's theory, deficit is attributed to condition ability, through individual differences in a propensity for cortical arousal and learning. Theoreticians become divided about how best to apply Eysenck's constructs to psychopathy [61-63]. Gray, for example, asserted that the BIS and the BAS are the product of a 45 degree rotation of Eysenck's dimensions, respectively, represented by NI (anxiety) and NE (impulsivity).

The difficulty, in general, for these theories about condition ability and socialization are that they are value-laden. They require that some arbitrary point of reference be a basis for 'correct' socialization. Then for psychopathy, definitionally, to be deviation from some kind of presumably 'correct' socialization. Stating the problem another way, it is only by insisting that there is a proper socialization in the valueladen sense that theoretical ideas about psychopathy can be sustained by older theories of condition ability. Whether an older theory such as for example, the Eysenckian tradition [13] or a current theory about socialization [39], in general they suffer the same problem.

A value-neutral prose, with alternative vocabulary could apply terms such as elevation and lowering of core dimensions would correct a problem. Such a change would also encourage a broader range of tools for developing experimental method. Alternatively, by defining socialization resistant to monolithic social norms, instead, afford science new utility. Revising the emphasis with new utility, positing that psychopathic tendency permits the challenging of such norms, encourages new methods of research. In such a revision an adaptive functioning for psychopathy can, for example, recognize psychopathy's place in challenging social norms, or as part of an impetus for change.

The mistake of not recognizing the value-laden nature of the socialization construct causes two additional tensions. The first tension is apparent where the criminality construct is scrutinized, an intrinsically value-laded term, for non-psychopathic, but antisocial populations. For example, violent crime, white-collar crime, sexual offending, and gangland-related organized crime are construed quite differently in different cultures, with culturally distinct emphases apparent in laws, threshold tests for law breaking, and in sanctions for law breaking. In summary, drawing on trans-cultural ideas about 'criminality', one society's criminal is not all societies’ criminal, which is not a new idea [64].

The second tension relates to psychopathy's appearance in both criminal and non-criminal groups. We do not know which part of the impetus for law breaking and anti-social behavior is about pathological psychopathy and which part is not. Extending that point, but for normal-range psychopathy, the literature is silent about how to operationalize the construct into tesd experiments that predict the criterion variable, law breaking. The psychological literature provides no cogent theory that explores any relationship between normal levels of psychopathy and law breaking. Stated another way, we do not know whether psychopathy has a role, or what kind of role psychopathy has in law breaking for those people holding normal levels of psychopathy.

Normal-Range Levels of Psychopathy: Implications from Meta-Ethics Arising when Exploring Non- Extreme Levels of Psychopathy

New questions arise about normal-range levels of psychopathy when locating its cognitive footprint, when meta-ethics oversees the discussion. Meta-ethics is a theoretical approach that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, codification, values and judgments. Meta-ethical abstraction is critical, because it helps to view internal cognitive process, but whilst one eye is firmly in an aerial perspective, whilst tracing signature features of psychopathic process on the ground. Meta-ethics guides the analysis because it goes beyond the presumption that there is 'a' single correct set of social norms, law and ethics. That kind of aerial perspective helps correct ideas in theories of socialization about psychopathy. Meta-ethics [20], has stated higher-order principles, that can, by adapting them, comment about psychopathy, at normal levels. This is necessary, given earlier arguments pointing out the problem about theories of condition ability and psychopathy.

Moral Absolutism, Moral Universalism, Moral Relativism and Psychopathy

The literature about psychopathy is more often, though not exclusively silent at the meta-ethical level of analysis. There is only a small literature available from meta-ethics [65-69]. Prior ideas are limited to the focus on utilitarian meta-ethics versus deontological meta-ethics and psychopathy's place within those two basic philosophies. Utilitarianism is decisions that sacrifice the rights of few for the greater good. Deontological ethics by contrast, judge’s morality based on the action's adherence to rule/s. Theory looked at how psychopathy is associated with preference for one or other meta-ethical position, with overall, utilitarianism associated with psychopathy.

By contrast, universalism, relativism and absolutism, extracted from Leach and Harbin [20], for an oblique focus, clarifies appreciation of discussion. It becomes possible to view morality trans-culturally, by alternative contrasting, and so, expose value-laden ideas about morality and psychopathy. Leach and Harbin [20] originally applied their ideas to codes of conduct, but relativism, universalism and absolutism are tools that have utility to generalize. This extension enriches the small literature from meta-ethics about psychopathy. An analysis of psychopathy as it applies to universalism, relativism and absolutism precedes resumption of focus upon utilitarianism.

The first point of clarification notes that psychopathy theorists leave implicit the meta-ethics of analysis about what is meant by 'moral incapacitation' and by the 'amorality' of psychopaths. It is not clear that the prior language applied serves theory best. For example, work such as Levenson et al. [9], Lilienfeld et al. [22], Hare and Neumann [70] implicitly take a position of moral absolutism or moral universalism in their work. That is, psychopaths are commonly presumed to have deficient or disordered moral capacity, rather than holding morally relative, or cogent ideologies. There is a problem with the implicit assumption of theory. The problem is that there are numerous exemplars in all collective social trends of psychopathic thinking, affect and behavior which emulate their clinical counterpart in all crosscultural conflicts. So, it is moral relativism that can explain the great divergence in moral outlook of contrasting cultures in serious conflict. Stated inversely, ideas about moral universalism and absolutism do not hold when contrasting collectives who are in conflict. That is, exemplars of psychopathic affect, cognition and behavior emerge in consideration of the normal, not psychopathic populations when contrasting warring cultures. Evidence of this is most obvious by intercultural contrasting, but the evidence can also be intra-cultural. Examples are numerous, and outlining some whilst drawing on metaethics does reveal where psychopathy's basic footprint expresses itself en masse in the normal population.

First, examples of collective psychopathy highlight the point when focusing the analysis, even in intra-cultural focus. Examples include surveillance laws [71], permitting legalized abductions, forced interviews and gross violations of privacy including monitoring of sexual activity for non-offending people. Inter-cultural examples include variations in moral dialogue on corporation law, institutional law, military practices, and sexual practices [1,6]. More serious collective psychopathy is apparent in inter-cultural examples of apostasy laws that sanction killings in the name of a deity, and hatebased minority-group oppression by deployment of excessive force and violence. Even variations in criminal laws highlight the presence of collective psychopathy at the more severe end of the collectivepsychopathy spectrum, as apparent in differing cultures' death penalty laws sanctioned by their differing moral majorities. At the most severe and obvious end of the collective psychopathy spectrum are wars, but especially genocides.

In all examples, higher likelihood of the emergence of objectification of people occurs in a contextual disabling of affect from the empathic spectrum. The objectification is grounded in justifications of blame, need, hatred, or greed. For example, Statesanctioned surveillance laws justify abductions for the National interest. This is just shared collective self-interest, relying on Sovereign risk concepts. Under those, heed for the individual suffering, for their trauma and for their distress factor out in the blame-focused commentary that justify self-interest laws. Policies that govern such activities necessarily objectify citizens affected by secret service events, in order to mount arguments that justify laws allowing covert surveillance. Individuals' objections, their affect and rights are annulled, and thus, they have no means to halt invasive practices. That is also lack of empathy for the affected group, where cognitive manoeuvres of the appraiser disable heed for the suffering of those affected by surveillance laws.

Moving further into the collective psychopathy spectrum, intercultural laws for the death penalty apply it for drug trafficking in Indonesia, for example, but not in Western countries. Within Western countries, the death penalty is applied for heinous crimes such as serial killing or sexualized serial killing. Ethical relativism, not moral universalism and not moral absolutism, best accommodates this range of values in different collectives' moral majorities. Thus, across a sovereign boundary, opposed cultures death penalty laws may be viewed as barbaric, immoral or callous, and as lacking empathy for those affected. For spy laws, intra-cultural conflicts reflect the same cross flux of moral relativism in opposing claims about what immorality means.

Further, there are viewing panels for the death penalty that seat victim and perpetrator families side by side, arguably in a perverse blending seating arrangement. So, wherever angry pleasure, satisfaction, cold vindication [72], are present at a viewing, not only occurs but it is publicly sanctioned. It is difficult to dispute that the affective process reflects normal-range psychopathic process. Interestingly, this affective process converges by degree with that of the affect that is associated with serial killers' violent crimes. Stated plainly, some degree of cold-heartedness, anger and pleasure are usually present in psychopaths' crimes. Put another way, for one person's sense of the moral appropriateness of anger, cold-heartedness and pleasure for punitive or retributive justice, there is another who finds disgust, or immorality or amorality in public executions. Instead, some people value restorative justice and abhor corporal and capital punishment. Further, for those put to death by social norms supporting laws upholding the death penalty, there is, at times, provision to bury the deceased only with a number [73], not a name on their graves. There are burial sites quarantined from society, where rows of crosses with numbers on graves are openly displaying the objectification of those put to death by death-penalty laws. That objectification is sanctioned at the collective level.

Then, at the more severe end of the collective psychopathy spectrum sits apostasy laws, the human tendency for war [2,3] and the human capacity for genocides. Apostasy laws such as religiously sanctioned honor killings for infidelity, stoning for female rape victims, and for homosexuality are examples. A number of countries' moral majorities have formerly coded death penalty laws prescribed for apostasy in non-secular countries, such as Yemen's 1994 Penal Code, where men can be sentenced to death for extra-marital sex with men. In Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Qatar, and Sudan homosexual males may be put to death under apostasy laws prescribed by Sharia law [4,5]. Likewise, Women are stoned to death where Sharia law is implemented as filming of them evidences [74,75]. To elucidate the great range in moral relativism in the death penalty commentary presented, whilst in the USA an offender can be executed for rape and killing the rape victim, in the Middle East, it is the rape victim that is stoned to death by the collective, acting in concert, in some religious fundamentalist enclaves. Thus, 'the psychopath' it is in the West by one set of measurement standards, and then 'social norms' it is in the Middle East by the other.

Moving further into the collective-psychopathy range, genocides evidence a severe expression of it [2,3,76]. Numerous examples exist of genocidal thinking and behavior, beyond the literature on psychopathy. They are not uncommon. They have been documented over the course of human history. In the 20th century alone, hundreds of millions of people have died in genocides, though these materials are not cited in the psychopathy literature. It is difficult to exclude such materials when seeking to understand psychopathy because, for example, during the Rwanda genocide, the 'weapon of mass destruction' was a machete. For all the examples provided, there is a context-dependent appearance of objectification, callous lack of empathy, and amorality for the collective psychopathy that is inherent in normal populations.

Whilst the Nazi genocide is often cited as the most serious, because it commodified mass killing with cold, ordered mechanization it is not clear that such criteria should define what 'most serious' means for genocides. The Nazi genocide is one of many like it, such as the Greek genocide of the residual Ottoman population left in Greece after the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829). In both, the host populations did not descend into devolved chaos, and the socially sanctioned violence targeted culturally anomalous groups. They are termed here affective genocides, with ignition signatures in emotional antipathy, and commodity greed for the envy of relative wealth and status of the subjugated groups. By contrast, the Rwandan genocide evidenced the affective and commodity greed as one of two genocide ignition signatures defined here. However, during the Rwandan genocide, there was the second ignition signature, which was sexualized envy and hatred. Genocidal rape occurred on an extremely large scale, perpetrated by ranks of the army, Gendarmerie, by militias including the Interahamwe, the Impuzamugambi, the Catholic clergy and by countless ordinary civilians. This second ignition signature is termed here the sexual-hatred and greed ignition signature. The hateful sexual envy aspect is most apparent, by observing the great change in post genocide, law reforms, implemented by the female majority of parliament. Parliament altered property laws, permitting cross-tribe property ownership rights. Post genocide, Hutu males now marry the wealthier Tutsi, with laws that transition sexual hatred, fostering sexually romantic partners in formerly warring tribes.

Genocides with dual ignition signature spread chaos, social disintegration, and butchery rapidly in a variation of social contagion. To highlight this, amongst the numerous atrocities that occurred in Rwanda, on the 25th of April 1994, thousands of refugees in a stadium, who were provided food by the Red Cross, were raped, killed and their bodies [77,78]. Senator Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who was the then Minister for Family Welfare and the Advancement of Women incited troops into sexual rage who then perpetrated sexual hate crimes. The Senator's son, Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, the Hutu head of a paramilitary group Interahamwe, led and surrounded the stadium, apparently under Senator Pauline's orders to rape the women before killing them [78]. The Senator was tried and convicted for genocide and incitement to rape, and convicted on seven charges in 2011. She was the first woman to be convicted of genocidal rape.

To contrast the analysis within ideas derived from clinical psychopathy, during genocides with the single affective ignition signature, people mirror the behavior of psychopaths who perpetrate non-sexual crimes. By contrast, genocides with the dual sexuo-affective ignition signatures trigger psychopathic thinking, affect and behavior, and en-masse. Here, collectives mirror the sexualized psychopathic hate crimes of the solo sadistic psychopathic sexual offender in both Western and Middle Eastern countries [74].

Unifying ideas from the prior discussion, objectification emerges, recurrently as a core indication of psychopathy. The capacity to objectify is therefore an indication that there is a human-shared psychopathic-by-degree facility. This converges with clinical notions about psychopaths 'objectification of victims'. Psychopathology as objectification is common language in review of psychopaths', psychopathic crimes and psychopathic thinking. However, it is important to concurrently recognize that for those affected by 'psychopaths' crimes', grief and empathy for the recipients of the death penalty are sparse in societies. Likewise the same applies during genocides. Dialogue about forgiveness for those on death row is equally scant as it is in countries entrenched in warring factions and during genocides. Instead, baser instincts govern collective thinking, by degree, justifying cold heartedness, sometimes ghoulish humor, Unifying ideas from the prior discussion, objectification emerges, recurrently as a core indication of psychopathy. The capacity to objectify is therefore an indication that there is a human-shared psychopathic-by-degree facility. This converges with clinical notions about psychopaths 'objectification of victims'. Psychopathology as objectification is common language in review of psychopaths', psychopathic crimes and psychopathic thinking. However, it is important to concurrently recognize that for those affected by 'psychopaths' crimes', grief and empathy for the recipients of the death penalty are sparse in societies. Likewise the same applies during genocides. Dialogue about forgiveness for those on death row is equally scant as it is in countries entrenched in warring factions and during genocides. Instead, baser instincts govern collective thinking, by degree, justifying cold heartedness, sometimes ghoulish humor, angry vindication, and smiles of pleasure about the death [79,80] in appraisals of those on death row. The materials imply angry pleasure or satisfaction of viewing a death.

Psychopathy's range of impact is as wide as human affective, sexual and spiritual domains. All human cultures have a vector of religious, spiritual practices, and religious laws that validate and justify killing on terms evidencing features of psychopathy. Humans have the capacity to extend, at times, even to spiritualize and sanction violent killings, where love, care and compassion are not the governing affect. Instead, lack of empathy, cold heartedness, hatred, pleasurable satisfaction at the banishment of those violently killed affect from the psychopathic spectrum governs the process. So, even spiritualization can be an enabler of a permission claimed, at times by collective thinking, for some facets of psychopathic process.

By way of contrast, the closest term from law that is used to describe a psychopath's crime, (when it is a crime of the organized variant, [81]) is the commonly used term 'modus operandi', the MO. An MO, by degree, converges with its collective-psychopathy contrast. MO is really just a constellation of descriptors emergent from analysis of the crime, the criminal, the crime scene and the criminal's process bearing his/her features sometimes thought of as their signature elements connected to the person committing them. Further, an MO may, indeed, draw on a spiritualized process as well. Some psychopaths claim spiritual governance in behavior, and so their MO reflects aspects of it [82]. This is particularly true for psychopaths who ascribe to Satanism although psychopaths may perpetrate in the name of the Christian God as well. Typically, behaviors may be ritualized, or are in service to an evil spiritual realm where a god oversees that realm. It is not surprising, therefore, that during inter-cultural conflicts, there are theologies for sectors of 'a' population that are counter-opposed spiritually to the 'other' population. Each religion, drawing on their deity's codifications and purpose, counter-labels the opposing culture's practices as spiritually evil. The opposed culture labeled as evil is politicized, by a spiritualized authority. This sometimes facilitates the transition of countries into war. The relationships of spirituality and human capacity to transition to war or quell and reverse transitions from wars is the focus of a pending theoretical innovation for future writing.

Summary of Implications for Meta-Ethics and Collective Psychopathy

In summary, a law that either prosecutes infidelity or same-sex contact, even in the name of a deity, for example, may reflect implicit utilitarianism and reflect views of people with normal levels of psychopathy. By abstraction, generalizing the principle, a social or religious norm that disables access to social resources or to rights of a privileged social majority, have three critical hallmarks. The first two are nominated from meta-ethics, grounded in moral relativism and utilitarian policy. They involve objectification of a targeted social group, where moral relativism enables justification to visit any kind of behavior upon the targeted group. Then on the third, implications for understanding collective, normal psychopathy are emergent from analysis of meta-ethics. The third implication is more clearly salient wherever social norms, laws and social policy result in very serious harm to minorities, or during trans-sovereign conflicts. It is the capacity for human populations to invert, or suspend care, suspend morality, suspend concern, suspend empathy or suspend heed for those harmed that also implies emergence of a) the capacity for thinking and behaviors with signature psychopathic features, given the b) presence of normal-level psychopathy in all societies. There is also a, c) targeting within the mind, of a sector, or of a segment, a vector of directionality in relatively quarantined zones. That is, only some subsection of peoples' views evidence the qualities of normalpsychopathic process.

There are two distinct lines of thought that would identify a useful place for meta-ethical ideas about cultural relativism beyond the psychopathy literature as a tool to assist and guide the identification of psychopathy in normal populations. One of those lines recognizes existing sovereign and trans-sovereign ideas of law, order and moral relativism (e.g., the surveillance, death penalty) where baser, darker, more callous human endeavor can be and is, at times, socially or collectively sanctioned. The second line observed emergence of base, violent human behavior outside times of peace, where the empathy facility appears disabled, at least transiently. The disabling of empathy is not a global disabling of it. During confrontations between mass collectives, empathy is disabled, only directionally, that is towards the 'maligned other'. Such a directional disabling occurs during genocidal trends. It is even justified, enabling violent, bloody or murderous utilitarian policy, norms, religious practices and in murderous law about human sexual behavior.

Such materials are also exemplars of socially relevant behavior that fall outside the psychopathy literature base's ideas about morality. Ideas about moral transgression are often implicated in psychopathic presentations in the psychopathy literature base for clinical levels of personality-based psychopathy. However, ideas from meta-ethics would suggest that the literature about psychopathy has had too narrow a consideration about human capacity for callousness, disabled affective process, disabled empathy, dis-inhibition, objectification and moral transgression.

Therefore, the pervasive presence of psychopathy at normal levels requires consideration of the purpose, place and presence of the construct for human capacity. 'Deficit' and 'pathology' are improper terms, where such prevalence of psychopathy in all cultures must mean, instead, that the construct exists for a reason. It must imply something for continuity of humankind. Attention, therefore, is oriented inversely, away from ideas of deficit, with focus upon psychopathy's place for adaptive human endeavor.

The Formulation of the Adaptive-Psychopathy Hypothesis

In the formulation of the adaptive-psychopathy hypothesis, attention is returned to the question of adaptive psychopathy within views of dimensionality and psychopathy. Prior literature has viewed the bell curve of the probability distribution at two standard deviations and beyond to define psychopathy. The compulsion to sustain that perspective assists with refreshed salience, in an equally vivid reversal of perspective. Therefore, the focus now, ensures a 180 degree turn, where the bell curve is studied, from the second standard deviation, back down through the mean and beyond, into the far tails of the normal distribution. This view forms the balance of the basis to dismantling the assumption of deficit. The review then defines principles of a new theory defining the Adaptive Psychopathy Hypothesis.

The attempt to establish psychopathy as a taxon, that is, as phenotypically distinct with defining characteristics, differentiating it from other types or kinds in a population implies objectification as well. This level of objectification would probably be reflective of normal-range psychopathy in scientists, and one embedded, tacitly, in scientific process that labels people with high-end psychopathic traits. The taxonomic assumption of that older view has less support than the converse. Methods adapted ideas from plenary work [83] to test the taxonomic view, as noted by Guay et al. [84], state, "Although Hare conceptualised the PCL as a way of indicating how closely an individual approximated the 'prototypic' psychopath" (p: 701), authors further note that psychopathy was determined, by their work, to be dimensional, not taxonomic. Overall greater support for the dimensional not taxonomic view exists [84-87]. There is competing evidence, for example, in older work by Harris et al. [88]. It is possible that human diversity permits both streams (taxonomic and dimensional) of psychopathy in humanity.

In the formulation of the Adaptive-Psychopathy Hypothesis, prior arguments, noted a targeting within the mind, of a sector, or of a segment, or vector of directionality in relatively quarantined zones. This quarantine concept as adapted to collective psychopathy highlights and organizes subsequent theory. Signature behaviors, affective clusters (cold heartedness, angry pleasure, baser instincts to slay, ghoulish humor) and implications for cognition are the focus. Because normal psychopathy subsumes population-level events, process variables are required to define methodological basis for future experiments about state-trait psychopathy.

The first such dimension recognizes the wide variability, over time, in cultural practices (e.g., regimes, passing genocides, chapters of honors killings) of varied expression of levels collective psychopathy. Therefore, the second dimension moves away from a stricter confinement of psychopathy levels, to trait ideas about psychopathy. A state-like view allows for shifts in elevations of collective psychopathy. Therefore, there is a basis to conclude that normal psychopathy is not a static, but rather a dynamic construct. This idea converges in measure, with forensic psychology and ideas about risk assessment (metaanalysis by Guy et al. [89]; and also Mihailides et al. [90] where analysis of inter-sovereign legal standards was used to comment on static and dynamic risk assessment practices). Equally absent from the psychopathy literature is a framework for organizing core principles that define how such dynamic shifting in psychopathic cognition varies over time.

The idea is not new, outside the psychopathy literature. For example studies have explored trait and state anxiety [91], and trait and state anger [92]. The relationship between cognition and mood in psychopathology is another instance where states are studied to determine their impact on cognition. Mood-induction paradigms are prolific in the literature (meta-analysis by Peckham et al. [93]). Cognitive psychology also contributes schema availability and accessibility to ideas of social-cognitive theory about attachment theory [94]. Similarly, to allow for individual differences in motivational states, motivational theories acknowledge the dynamism of motivation. An example is reversal theory for a recent review of motivational theory. Higgins [95], in his recent book explores the motivational theory in the social-cognition perspective.

The wide range of state-trait models assists to ground thinking about psychopathy in order to trace state-trait features in psychopathy's expression. Therefore, summarizing arguments into a new terminology, the Adaptive-Psychopathy Hypothesis posits that there is a vector of directionality (that is a direction of orientation in cognition), that points to quarantined zones of the mind affected by psychopathic capacity or potential. The quarantined zone reflects a style of cognition, with particular affective features, and also traceable by meta-ethical ideas about moral relativism and utilitarianism. Psychopathy's footprint is placed as an affective spectrum that emerges during deviation from nominal empathic function and warmheartedness in transition to cold heartedness, baseness, meanness, even greed for resources, together with potential for contextual disinhibition. Therefore, directional vectors for empathy (or its lack), as well as for dis-inhibition are also predicted. Because collective psychopathy attracts trans-cultural consideration, where it emerges about particular people, situations, contexts, cultures, spiritualties, sexualities, laws, and social norms, a process pertinent for the human condition applies. The cognitive processes of psychopathy must, therefore, reflect some fundament of human nature. Therefore, consideration is turned to evolutionary psychology for the final tracing of the underlying vector implicit in psychopathic cognition. New language applies the terms quarantined, directional vectors of processing in the psychopathic region of the mind.

The Adaptive Psychopathy Hypothesis within Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical framework, flexible enough to lend itself to explanatory models from different sub-disciplines of psychology. Evolutionary psychology focuses less on 'how' questions of an organism's structures, function, and instead focuses more upon 'why' questions. Those are questions about 'why' a species evolved structures, and, adaptations [96-102]. For psychopathy (at normal range), this focus asks 'why' humans evolved with need for psychopathy and why it has a place in adaptations. Evolutionary psychology focuses on the functional byproducts of natural and sexual selection. Questions, about which human traits are adaptations, are explored, sometimes within a modularity of mind framework. Normal levels of psychopathy in a modularity of mind model, being so prevalent, also imply its selection would be the product of sexual selection. The modular mind approach argues that there are distinct but interrelated modular components of mind that serve different functions. It is a very appropriate use of nomenclature, given the basis for the Adaptive-Psychopathy Hypothesis, where 'modular' converges well with an idea about a directional-vector and quarantine zone for psychopathic cognition at normal levels. From this view point psychological adaptations including those for psychopathy evolved to solve recurrent problems facing the organism in the environment.

Behaviors or traits that occur trans-culturally are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations, which are evolved cognitive and emotional adaptations reflective of human psychological nature [103]. Evolutionary psychology sometimes refers to a computational theory of mind, where theorists define the cognitive modules that are the result of natural selection. This is also a very grounding tenet, when a quarantined directionality can then draw on circumscribed computational events.

Examples from evolutionary psychology are language acquisition modules [104,105], incest avoidance mechanisms, cheater detection mechanisms, intelligence, sex-specific mating preferences, foraging mechanisms, alliance-tracking mechanism and agent-detection mechanism [106]. Some adaptations are defined as domain-specific, which are those that respond to recurrent adaptive problems over the course of human history. By contrast, domain-general modules are those that manage evolutionary novelty [104]. A quarantined, directional vector in psychopathic cognition would imply a domainspecific cognitive footprint, because of the recurrence, and continual application of the cognitive faculty, where novelty is not implied.

Evolutionary psychology recognizes a number of subtle, flexible social instincts that facilitate or encourage the formation of extended families, lifelong friendships, and political alliances. It is value-neutral in its language for defining adaptations. For example, even infanticide [106] as a study area for evolutionary psychology explores this phenomenon as a potential adaptation for certain environmental contingencies. Within this view, adaptations are expected to show evidence of complexity, functionality and species universality, whereas the by-products of adaptations and random variations of adaptations will not. An adaptation can be obligate or facultative. An obligate adaptation is one that is relatively robust in the face of typical environmental variation. Facultative adaptations, by contrast, vary in their expression, contingent upon environmental influences. An example is attachment style, where developmental influences from child-rearing environments influence attachment-related functioning and behavior. Because cultures appear to vary significantly, in their peaks and troughs of expression of collective psychopathy (e.g., genocides are not continuous, they are episodic), this has implications for the Adaptive-Psychopathy Hypothesis. It would imply, also, that a quarantined zone, for a directional vector in the psychopathic modular mind, with domain-specific process, would also be facultative, not obligate.

Within evolutionary psychology, adaptations manifest proximate mechanisms that interact with the environment in obligate or facultative contexts. As such, evolutionary psychology is concerned with identifying such mechanisms, as well as the adaptations to which the mechanism or mechanisms belongs. Proximate mechanisms within evolutionary psychology are sometimes termed mental mechanism or psychological adaptations which are those for which evolutionary psychologists also seek to understand the type of information that is the input for mechanism to process. Evolutionary psychology also seeks to understand how such input is processed by a proximate mechanism, and then studies the outputs of such mechanisms. Evolutionary psychology considers that most contents and processes of the brain are unconscious. It asserts that mental problems are typically solved unconsciously, even those that seem easy to solve, but that are unconsciously solved by complicated neural mechanism. So, for a quarantined, directional vector, in a domain-specific, facultative psychopathic modular mind, the specific input for proximate mechanism is anything that psychopathic processing acts upon, to strip internal mental representations, or schemas of warm affect, and of empathy and imbues them, instead, (output) with the cognitive characteristics of collective psychopathy. Such output is the contents of the mind laden with the cognitive features (directionally quarantined) that is the affective constellation of objectified, cold heartedness, implicating, also a human spiritual vector and also a vector about sexual governance or authority. In particular, psychopathic cognition only emerges wherever there is a collision of self-interest in counteropposed human endeavors, and where a competition for ordinance or primacy or expansion or non-coexistence occurs, in cultures' spiritual, commodity, resource and sexual vectors of governance.

Prior adaptationist hypotheses exist for psychopathy, although they are limited in scope in some ways. None really embodies the features outlined in the modeling of the Adaptive Psychopathy Hypothesis. To elucidate, there are four models that have been posited for the area, those being balancing selection, contingent shifts, frequencydependent- selection, and antagonistic-pleiotropy models, drawing upon ideas from Glenn et al. [107], from McNally [108] and as summarized in the Skeem et al. [23] review. Balancing-selection models suggest that genetic variation is maintained by selection, but where varying levels on a trait dimension may be considered adaptive or favoured for distinct environmental contingencies [96]. So psychopathy traits are maintained and procure a fitness advantage, in specific environments [96,107,108]. In either of its two variant submodels (Environmental heterogeneity in Fitness Optima versus Frequency-dependent Selection) theory does not assume a core, shared mechanism, for all human beings, such as the Adaptive-Psychopathy Hypothesis for normal psychopathy implies. In particular, it is the quarantining facility of a directional vector for a domain-specific feature of a computational theory of mind that allows dual processing of empathic events and psychopathic events, directionally. Dual processing is not permitted within the current body of literature about psychopathy. Existent theory implies instead, that 'in-tact empathy' means absence, or perhaps a disabling of psychopathy for normal range. However, the balancing-selection model does go some way in assisting to understand ideas about that small literature on successful psychopathy. Unfortunately, the theory's ideas are reserved, so far, for trait-levels in the clinical range. In its current form it has not been extended to ideas about population-level events of a repetitive nature, such as genocides, for large groups of people holding normal-range psychopathy.

Contingent shift models [96,107] by contrast, suggest psychological mechanisms occur with inbuilt flexible responding to environmental changes. Those are termed contingent shifts or conditional adaptation. Theory can explain how evolved psychological adaptations can shift in expression. Theory predicts risk-averse versus risk-taking behaviors for different contexts such as parenting (a more risk averse requirement for rearing young, in safety) versus surviving famine (risk taking being required to obtain food) [96]. The theory also posits that contingent shifts that occur during early stages of development modify a developmental trajectory to fit (ergo adapt) to precipitating socioenvironmental and physical environments [109,110].

However, theory applies to clinical levels, on assumption of traitpersonality and fixed trajectory. So, whilst it posits ideas about the clinical construct and contingent shifts for conditional adaptation, it does so to explain permanently high levels of promiscuity, deception, feigned emotions, coercion, glibness, superficial charm, impulsivity, fearlessness, lack of emotionality, reactive and instrumental aggression. Theory in its current form does not allow for variation in levels of psychopathy within the person, as implied by the State-Psychopathy Hypothesis, even though it could be adapted to do so.

Antagonistic-pleiotropy, another theory from evolutionary psychology applies the same assumptions as other theories about clinical levels of a trait, for a personality theory. This theory proposes that particular alleles, in a polygenic context, are selected for environmental adaptation. Psychopathy's appearance emphasizes adaptive utility for early promiscuity, sexually coercive behavior, rape and stealing others' sexual partners as means of propagating genes [111-113]. The basic problem with this variation of theory is that it does not extend broadly enough to explain normal psychopathy, its prevalence, and implications for general human behavior. The theory is also not structured to formerly define terms for state-like variation in psychopathy levels.

Extensions of Prior Evolutionary Psychology in Theory about Psychopathy

For the adaptive psychopathy hypothesis within a modularity of mind framework, it is psychopathy's prevalence, trans-culturally, that is the justification for it being a cognitive and emotional architecture that is part of human psychological nature. Within a computational theory of mind, psychopathy attracts the status of a modular adaptation that deals with recurrent problems facing the organism in the environment. Extending prior theory from evolutionary psychology, a directionality of processing (a directional vector), targeting quarantined cognitive events (a targeting scanner) is proposed.

In a critical extension of prior theory, for a contingent shift in environmental conditions where there is transition from a risk-averse to a risk-taking physical, social, socio-sexual, or socio-spiritual environment (or any combination of them) then directional, quarantined psychopathy levels are predicted to rise. Such a risk-phase transition occurs in genocide, during war, and during conflict over ownership of actual and symbolic territory. Such events are about conflict over territorial rights for goods, for land, for food, for primary, literal resources, then also for socio-sexual or socio-spiritual rights, laws, freedoms and resources the latter of which have a greater number of symbolic features, perhaps. Such contingent shifts are about access to and governance of environments. The risk-phase transition always occurs where there is a perturbation of the underlying, fundamental survival and human territorial instincts. Therefore, it is the survival and territorial instincts which are predicted to govern activation of a psychopathic, modular computational mind, for quarantined, targeted cognitive, symbolic events. This, the Directional-Vector Hypothesis, therefore, is also predicted to be implicit in conflict over ownership of symbolic territory as well as literal territory, although internal symbolic events must be implicit in either conflict type.

Prospective Methodology for Scientific Method and the State-Trait Psychopathy Hypothesis

Experimental studies, in three pending journal articles subsequent to this review, map core constructs from the State-Trait Psychopathy hypothesis onto replicable scientific method. Studies deploy terminology from Evolutionary Psychology, emphasizing psychopathy's modularity of mind in the framework. It is a territorial incursion eliciting survival threat that emerges in new theory as the core assumption of the Adaptive Psychopathy Hypothesis. Thus, scientific method defines means of placing participants in a situation of survival threat. Earlier arguments likened psychopathic cognition as a targeting scanner sweeping sociocultural landscapes for survival threat. The term vector quarantining was used to summarize the process, noting that only a portion of cognition is dedicated to this process. Thus, experimental method necessitates mapping of method to capture survival threat in each person's unique, specific affected areas. Drawing on core arguments from the meta-ethics section, we note that people's unique ideas about others' immoral behavior such as one's position on apostasy death laws are likely to be useful for operationalizing territorial incursion of one's culture. That is, expressed moral judgments about others' 'heinous sexual culture' and for example, 'vile commodity greed', most conveniently elicit personal psychopathic-spectrum affect of threatened judgers. In the study, it is meta-ethics section of this paper that is a fertile ground of ideas for operationalizing territoriality and survival threat. Thus, it is our supposition that territoriality, in vector quarantining, has directionality that is person specific, in an idiographically mappable way. However, nomothetic mechanism of process is implied in the expression of people's idiogrpahic contents when considering experimental method for an operationaliszable science. This means that we expect that deploying a combined idiograpic-nomothetic method to study the Adaptive Psychopathy Hypothesis is the best way to operationalize territorial incursions triggering survival threat. The nomenclature of the Evolutionary Psychopathy section applied to the concepts from the Meta-Ethics sections yields a strong set of methodological substrate for looking at the vector quarantining.

Three prospective experimental papers are considered central for testing new theory. The first develops experimental method to manipulate survival threat in an idiographic-nomothetic framework. The first experimental paper defines a means for eliciting idiographic data from each participant about what they uniquely consider most sexually heinous, most abhorrently unthinkable, corrupt and abominable, for example, in an imaginary 'invading culture'. The experimental paper defines how to operationalize such idiographic data in order to capture pre- and post-psychopathy induction scores. When people are placed in situations where their territory is invaded by moral alien 'heinous' others, responses on psychopathy measures can test the core assumption of new theory. The terminology for the new idographic-nomothetic science is termed the moral inversion method.

The second and third experimental papers are more concerned with predictions about vector quarantining and about the directionality of quarantining. So, we predict that psychopathic cognition in normal populations will be quarantined from empathic and attachment processes. The second experimental paper deploys the moral inversion method to define the independence of empathic and psychopathic process. The paper tests the tenets of earlier arguments where those predicted that empathic cognition should be retained while the psychopathic targeting scanner parsed sociocultural landscapes identifying threat. The third experimental paper looks at vector quarantining and how directionality of psychopathic cognition impacts attachment affect, thought and behavior towards quarantined 'morally heinous' others.


The extensions of current theory that are proposed for psychopathy, under the auspices of evolutionary psychology for the adaptive psychopathy hypothesis, have a predicted architecture, and predictable series of temporal processing events. It is the quarantining vector as a process construct (that is, not a trait construct) that provides the experimental utility for reconciling the hitherto conflict in literature. That conflict posits that if empathy in human populations is not eliminated, then that must mean that psychopathic cognition is not concurrently operating. This primary, overarching, meta-theoretical principle is, therefore, dismantled in the re-engineering of theory about psychopathy.

We propose in a primary revision to assumption that psychopathy and empathy are not mutually exclusive events for normal-level psychopathy. Therefore, new theory conjoins the empathy and psychopathy literature in a particular way. New theory expects that a computational mind has domain-specific dual-processing capacity. Concurrence means dual processing allows for empathic and psychopathic cognition, to operate concurrently. Whilst only two concurrent events (about psychopathic and empathic cognition) are considered by these first theoretical revisions, there is no dogmatic imperative insisting that concurrence is not possible, in a number of other overlay processing events in human, psychological capacity. The predicted affected areas identified in theoretical revision beyond the first developed in this paper extend to spiritualization, sexualization, and attachment processing. It is suspected that the notion of paradoxical super functioning for psychopathy will be best resolved by directional vector juxta positioning that superimposes the sexualized and spiritualized vectors of human psychology. That is because living sexual expression has the greatest set of potential collisions with spiritualized affective processes (e.g., with terms for grace, forgiveness, and spiritualized ideas about sexuality after death). It is expected that such sexuo-spiritual conflicts would be extremely pressuring and elevate psychopathic mode, especially if a conflict impacted childrearing practices. That then, is the context for cross-cultural conflict where warmth and care (the empathic-spectrum affect) are implicated with attachment-related care of offspring. It is, therefore, suspected that evolutionary theory conjoined to evolutionary psychology, will have answers about how to operationalize the Directional-Vector Hypothesis in relation to sexuality and spirituality

The three completed experiments that test the assumptions of the State-Psychopathy Hypothesis, the Directional Vector Hypothesis and the Directional Empathy Hypothesis are pending release. These features about state psychopathy have been implicit in scholarly work of prior journal publications [90,114]. Earlier scholarship is to be extended, and that which is implicit, made explicit, and integrated into future publications. However, because evolutionary theory most clearly points out that prehuman sexuality was a forerunner to cognition, future theorizations should include means to integrate the implications of this for theory about psychopathy. At its most counter-intuitive, a joining of the literature between the 'yielding' affective processes of spirituality (e.g., grace, compassion, emotional surrender) with the baser instincts of predatory sexuality is also implied in revisionist theory for psychopathy. However, spiritualizing intrusive sexuality, for example, is highly discordant with current ideas about human spirituality. Such a joining of uncomfortably opposed spiritual vectors (with expected sexuo-affective conflicts), and how that impacts the State-Psychopathy Hypothesis must be purposeful and carefully guided. A fifth piece of science is allocated for this area.

As noted, however, for the immediate publications, theoretical innovation of current work has predictable methodology to adapt to the experimental conditions that would result in shifts either upwards or downwards in psychopathy levels. The new Directional-Vector Hypothesis considers psychopathic processing to be subsumed in a targeting scanner, underpinned by survival instinct, and that sweeps socio-cultural environments scanning for survival threats. The State- Psychopathy Hypothesis, within this framework lends itself to methodologies that have a directional-vector in their operationalization. Therefore, according to new theoretical tenets, manipulating territorial, survival threat should govern the shifting of psychopathy levels, for people with normal-range psychopathy.


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Citation: Mihailides S, Galligan R, Bates G (2017) Reconceptualising Psychopathy. J Foren Psy 2:120.

Copyright: © 2017 Mihailides S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.