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Evil Genes is a book by Barbara Oakley, a systems engineer, about the neurological and social factors contributing to chronic antisocial behavior. The text was published on October 31, 2007 by Prometheus Books.
The book has earned both praise and criticism for its treatment of what Oakley considers gaps in psychological research surrounding “successfully sinister” individuals — those who show subclinical symptoms of personality disorders, and who are often found in positions of authority in politics, religion, business, and academia.
Neurology (from Greek: νεῦρον, neuron, and the suffix -λογία -logia “study of”) is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Neurology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of conditions and disease involving the central and peripheral nervous system (and its subdivisions, the autonomic nervous system and the somatic nervous system); including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle. Neurological practice relies heavily on the field of neuroscience, which is the scientific study of the nervous system.
A neurologist is a physician specializing in neurology and trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat neurological disorders. Neurologists may also be involved in clinical research, clinical trials, and basic or translational research. While neurology is a non-surgical specialty, its corresponding surgical specialty is neurosurgery.
There is significant overlap between the fields of neurology and psychiatry, with the boundary between the two disciplines and the conditions they treat being somewhat nebulous.
Anti-social behaviours are actions that harm or lack consideration for the well-being of others. Many people also label behaviour which is deemed contrary to prevailing norms for social conduct as anti-social behaviour. The term is especially used in British English.
Anti-social is frequently used, incorrectly, to mean either “nonsocial” or “unsociable”. The words are not synonyms.
The American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, diagnoses persistent anti-social behaviour as antisocial personality disorder. The World Health Organization includes it in the International Classification of Diseases as “dissocial personality disorder”. A pattern of persistent anti-social behaviours can also be present in children and adolescents diagnosed with conduct problems, including conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder under the DSM-5.
Psychopathy, sometimes considered synonymous with sociopathy, is characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, and egotistical traits. Different conceptions of psychopathy have been used throughout history that are only partly overlapping and may sometimes be contradictory.
Hervey M. Cleckley, an American psychiatrist, influenced the initial diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality reaction/disturbance in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), as did American psychologist George E. Partridge. The DSM and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) subsequently introduced the diagnoses of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and dissocial personality disorder (DPD) respectively, stating that these diagnoses have been referred to (or include what is referred to) as psychopathy or sociopathy. The creation of ASPD and DPD was driven by the fact that many of the classic traits of psychopathy were impossible to measure objectively. Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare later repopularized the construct of psychopathy in criminology with his Psychopathy Checklist.
Although no psychiatric or psychological organization has sanctioned a diagnosis titled “psychopathy”, assessments of psychopathic characteristics are widely used in criminal justice settings in some nations and may have important consequences for individuals.[specify] The study of psychopathy is an active field of research. The term is also used by the general public, popular press, and in fictional portrayals. While the term is often employed in common usage along with “crazy”, “insane”, and “mentally ill”, there is a categorical difference between psychosis and psychopathy.
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