Psychopath’s brains are unable to fully process punishment

“Here’s Johnny !” Jack Nicholson in film “The Shining”

According to researchers from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, adults that have psychopathic personality disorder process punishment and reward differently than normal adults because of systematic differences in their brains. The researchers’ studies involved 12 violent individuals diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder (ASPD) and psychopathy, 20 violent individuals diagnosed with ASPD but not psychopathy and 18 healthy non-offenders to serve as the control group. Those with ASPD are commonly hostile, quick to act on impulse and abysmal at decisions. Those with psychopathy are commonly characterized with a lack of empathy towards others and use aggression in order to obtain what they desire without caring about the impact of their actions on the well-being of others. The researchers’ reason for focusing on ASPD and psychopathy in individuals is due to the majority of violent criminal activity being done by people with ASPD. Additionally, half of the people in the prisons in the United Kingdom have met the diagnostic standards for having ASPD. A third of those with ASPD in prison also fit the criteria for psychopathy.

The study consisted of the individuals performing a “reinforcement learning task” while in a functional MRI scanner. The researched tried to evaluate the abilities of the members of the three groups to change their behavior, exhibit “adaptive decision-making”, when they started getting punished for actions that were previously rewarded. The researchers found that those with psychopathy did not merely have a reduction in neural sensitivity to the punishment but instead had different organizational structures in the brain systems responsible for processing information on reversal learning and adaptive decision making. The researchers concluded that the current classification of adult diagnostic schemes included a too large range of individuals with varying characteristics. This included psychopaths who had structural processing differences in their brains from other individuals. Treatment should then be made to be specific instead of general.

This study reminded me of the paper “The Role of Emotion in Decision Making”.  In that study,  individuals with impairments in the brain, specifically vmPFC lesion patients, chose actions detrimental to them even with foreknowing that harm would come onto them if they performed those actions. Like those with psychopathy, their brain processes the consequences of their actions differently and unlike normal individuals, they lack the same level of ability in choosing “good” actions.


Naqvi N, Shiv B, Bechara A (2006) The role of emotion in decision making: a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 15:260 –264.


Health Benefits of Quinoa

WP_20141218_001Many people in the fast and quick paced New York City forget to eat properly and take care of themselves. Take one look at this simple cup and grab it quickly on the go. It is a perfect source of sustenance for anyone who needs to get lunch quickly and stay healthy. There is no need to buy this particular cup at a store in fact everyone can make it at home. This particular cup of salad looks really delicious. When I first cast my eyes on it, I was curious about the small little grainy looking things on the bottom. After doing some research I learned that it is called Quinoa and it is a  grain-like vegetable that is rich in substances and nutrients that we may need in our day to day life. There are about 120 known varieties of this grain and it can come in different colors. Although it isn’t really a grain, we tend to treat it like one.

Huffington Post

It turns out that Quinoa is a relative of spinach, beets and chard. The part of Quinoa that we usually eat are the seeds, which gives us the impression that it is a grain. It makes it a perfect gluten-free food because of the way it is grown. Quinoa is also very rich in protein. In fact, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the nine essential amino acids needed for our body that cannot be produced within our body already. This is the world’s one of the most popular super foods.

Nutrient Breakdown of Quinoa from

1 cup of cooked quinoa, or 185 grams:

  • Protein: 8 grams.
  • Fiber: 5 grams.
  • Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 19% of the RDA.
  • Copper: 18% of the RDA.
  • Iron: 15% of the RDA.
  • Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
  • Over 10% of the RDA for Vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
  • Small amounts of Calcium, B3 (Niacin) and Vitamin E.



Check out these information sites:

“11 Proven Health Benefits of Quinoa (No. 1 Is My Favorite).” Authority Nutrition. 20 July 2014. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <;.

“7 Reasons Quinoa Is the New Health Food Superstar.” The Huffington Post. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <;.