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Old 11-08-2011, 11:13 AM   #11
Bruno
 
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

Yes, there's always new neurons going on in an adult. This is VERY different from the radical, highly accelerated growth and pruning going on in children. Adults keep growing new skin, muscle, and bone cells their entire lives too, but they don't grow three feet taller unless something's gone wrong - children do grow three feet or more, as part of their development into adults. Same thing happens in the brain.

From about age 0 to age 18 months, lack of empathy is considered entirely normal in humans, and the presence of empathy would be considered very odd. Empathy emerges in its most crude form in the 18 mos to 3 years period - generally around-ish the 2 years mark but the neurological development from child to child always follows an individual schedule. There's further development and refinement of empathy over the next decade or so of the childs life, but all of that is useless unless the foundation of empathy is present.

Yes, not having an arm is unusual and not a developmental problem - but we aren't talking about arms. Babies are equipped with arms well before leaving the womb. Babies are NOT equipped with things like physical strength, the ability to focus on a moving object, manual dexterity, patience, bladder continence, the ability to walk, or empathy. They have to work on all of these things as or after the required neural, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems develop.

Humans are more-or-less born a year or two premature, because otherwise we would never fit through our mothers pevis. Or more accurately, some developmental tasks are prioritized way before others because of the need to exit the womb before the head gets too big - you don't need empathy or the ability to walk nearly as much as you need the ability to breathe, digest food, and attract sympathetic care givers.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:29 AM   #12
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

Again, if when one writes, "child" they mean infant or toddler, then ignore what I write. Because when I write, "child" I mean five to around thirteen.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
I thought there was an age below which you can't diagnose a sociopath. All children are almost totally self centered and don't really think of other people having their own motivations until they grow up a bit.
Whether or not this is true at TL8 is irrelevant. The Justicariate is TL9 in social technologies (and some others), and partially relies on the aid of a rather unique entity for diagnosis. Even if children cannot already have certain conditions developed at certain ages, it is still possible to predict such development with TL9 social advancements.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I just have trouble seeing lacking empathy completely as anything other than an innate trait rather than some kind of late blooming of such an intrinsic feature of a social animal. [...]
Strengthening a weak mental aspect, yes, but growing a feature from nothing, I just don't believe is possible.
I do see your point here, older kids should have some empathy and conscience if they're not sociopaths. But they will have less of both if they're a full grown adult.

My point was that it may be very difficult to properly diagnose whether a pre-teen or teenager (who, even if healthy, has a significantly underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex and limited empathy) has full-blown sociopathy or simply, as you say, a "weak mental aspect".

Furthermore, various environmental factors can slow the development of these traits even more. Particularly drug use and trauma (both of which are common in teenagers who grow up to be sociopaths and many who don't.)
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Whether or not this is true at TL8 is irrelevant. The Justicariate is TL9 in social technologies (and some others), and partially relies on the aid of a rather unique entity for diagnosis. Even if children cannot already have certain conditions developed at certain ages, it is still possible to predict such development with TL9 social advancements.
Sorry, I've been contributing to thread drift. I'll stop now.

Your concept is interesting, I especially like the idea of brainwashing them to follow a code of behavior regardless of any internal moral compass.

To address your original question about how much of a drain on the state this would be: maybe less than you'd think.

The more dangerous/less intelligent sociopaths and future sociopaths already require more state resources. (Institutions, alternative schools, etc...) The intelligent sociopaths tend to avoid detection.

I used to work in an alternative school for "at-risk youth", several of our clients were potential sociopaths, our goal was much as you describe: teach them to behave morally and legally, even if it would never come naturally to them. This is for their own good: we wanted them to have jobs and pleasant lives.

I currently work part-time at a house for people who are on conditional release from institutions after being declared "Not Guilty by reason of mental illness or defect." Some of my clients have been sociopaths.

It is cheaper to hire people like me and pay their rent in a house than it is to keep treating them in institutions or prisons.

If your program results in significantly fewer adult criminals in the prisons, it will have paid for itself.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:00 PM   #16
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Officially you can't diagnose kids with all sorts of disorders, not because they don't have them, but out of fear of "labeling" them.
No, you can't diagnose a child with a personality disorder because that's scientifically invalid. A personality disorders (such as sociopathic or psychopathic personality disorder) describes a disordered adult personality. Children do not have fully formed personalities.

Psychopaths would make terrible super-soldiers, as they lack impulse control, and lacking any sense of loyalty to the mission, would be easily corruptible. Since psychopaths lack a normal response to punishment, they would be a nightmare to train, and would be essentially impossible to impose discipline on.

Sociopathic personality disorder currently includes what used to be called psychopaths as well as other individuals who would qualify. However, there is a body of research on psychopaths that distinguishes the ways in which they differ from other sociopaths. There are often distinct phenotypes within disorders; over time, this distinctions wax and wane according to advances in research.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:26 PM   #17
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Are you sure you aren't confusing sociopaths with psychopaths?
Neither "sociopath" nor "psychopath" are current clinical terms, though they are both commonly used loosely to refer to people with Antisocial Personality Disorder (psyschopath used to be a clinical term for a diagnosis which was replaced with this one.)

Quote:
Most sociopaths aren't criminals. They aren't any more impulsive or reckless than anyone else.
Well, no. A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of others rights characterized by at least three of the following seven factors are required to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, so its pretty hard to qualify without being more impulsive or reckless than anyone else (particularly if you aren't a criminal):
  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  • deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  • impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  • consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

Quote:
They make excellent businessmen
There's been a lot of (AFAIK, pop psychology) claims that some systemic problems in corporate business are due to an disproportionate concentration of sociopaths in executive positions, but that's not the same thing as "sociopaths make excellent businessmen". (Its also possible that that usage is more loose than antisocial personality disorder and encompasses other personality disorders, like narcissistic personality disorder.)
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
I thought there was an age below which you can't diagnose a sociopath.
Antisocial personality disorder cannot be diagnosed below a certain age. However, conduct disorder can be, and conduct disorder manifesting before a certain age is a prerequisite for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. So, quite literally every "sociopath" (insofar as that links to an actual diagnosis) has to have had a diagnosable pyschiatric condition as a child (though it may not have been diagnosed until later, often concurrent with the diagnosis of the adult disorder for which it is a prerequisite.)

(The suggestion by another poster than this has something to do with fear of labelling is completely off-base; "conduct disorder" is as much a label as "antisocial personality disorder" is.)
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I just have trouble seeing lacking empathy completely as anything other than an innate trait rather than some kind of late blooming of such an intrinsic feature of a social animal.
There are lots of things in all fields of knowledge where the reality revealed by study doesn't match the typical layman's intuition
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:02 PM   #20
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Default Re: [SE] "Your child is a sociopath? Fear not, we will take care of this!"

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Originally Posted by cmdicely View Post
  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  • deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  • impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  • consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
Wait... so most RPG PCs are sociopaths? =P
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