The Development of Psychopathy

Module 3 Assignment
Instructions for this Assignment
Achieve an understanding of how environment and culture contribute to the development of psychopathy.


Examine and illustrate the roles that environment and culture play in the development of psychopathy.

Using Microsoft Word, write a response paper describing what role you think environment and culture play in the development of psychopathy.

Submission Format:
Your paper should be a minimum of one page, double-spaced and include a centered title. Any sources used should be properly cited in APA format.

Use the following format when naming your file: your First Initial and Last Name with the Assignment Name.

The Development of Psychopathy: The Roles of Environment and Culture

Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy, remorse, and guilt, as well as a tendency to manipulate, exploit, and violate the rights of others. Psychopathy is often associated with criminal behavior, violence, and antisociality, but not all psychopaths are criminals or violent. Psychopathy is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that has been studied from various perspectives, such as biological, psychological, social, and cultural. However, there is no consensus on the exact causes or mechanisms of psychopathy, and whether it is a stable or a dynamic condition.

One of the most debated questions in the field of psychopathy research is the relative contribution of nature and nurture, or genes and environment, to the development of psychopathy. Some researchers argue that psychopathy is largely determined by genetic factors, such as abnormalities in brain structure and function, or inherited personality traits. Others contend that psychopathy is influenced by environmental factors, such as childhood abuse, neglect, trauma, or exposure to violence. Moreover, some researchers suggest that psychopathy is a result of an interaction between genetic and environmental factors, such that certain individuals may have a genetic predisposition to psychopathy that is triggered or exacerbated by adverse environmental conditions.

Another important aspect of psychopathy research is the role of culture in the development and expression of psychopathy. Culture can be defined as the shared values, beliefs, norms, and practices of a group of people. Culture can shape how people perceive themselves and others, how they communicate and interact, and how they cope with stress and adversity. Culture can also influence how psychopathy is defined, measured, diagnosed, and treated. For example, some cultures may value individualism, competitiveness, and achievement more than others, which may foster or reward psychopathic traits such as narcissism, dominance, and impulsivity. Conversely, some cultures may emphasize collectivism, cooperation, and harmony more than others, which may discourage or sanction psychopathic behaviors such as aggression, deceitfulness, and irresponsibility.

In conclusion, environment and culture play significant roles in the development of psychopathy. Environment can affect how psychopathic traits are formed and manifested in individuals through various mechanisms, such as biological processes, psychological processes, social processes, and developmental processes. Culture can affect how psychopathic traits are perceived and evaluated by others through various factors, such as cultural values, cultural norms, cultural practices, and cultural diversity. Therefore, it is important to consider both environment and culture when studying psychopathy.


Blair RJR (2010) Psychopathy: cognitive and neural dysfunction. Dialogues Clin Neurosci 12: 289–300.

Cima M & Raine A (2009) Distinct characteristics of psychopathy relate to different subtypes of aggression. Pers Individ Dif 47: 835–840.

Hare RD & Neumann CS (2008) Psychopathy as a clinical and empirical construct. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 4: 217–246.

Kiehl KA & Hoffman MB (2011) The criminal psychopath: history,
and economics. Jurimetrics 51: 355–397.

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