Time to plug a blog readers may or may not yet be familiar with.
Swivelchair at Neurological correlates deals with neuroscience and human behaviour. He translates current psychology/brain research into understandable terms. But more than that, he formulates his own hypotheses. Here is one an intriguing idea:
I’m interested in white matter, which is sort of the neural wiring in the brain, connecting the areas of gray matter. I think that the trouble with disordered thinking may be because of faulty wiring between functional areas of the brain. If this is the case, then that give me hope that it can be fixed — growing new synaptic connections may be a matter of blocking inhibitors or of growing new connections.
In a series of excellent recent posts he considers psychopaths, etc. in the light of possible faulty white matter. Do have a look-see; they warrant reading. Here are a few things that came to my mind.
Do Psychopaths Dream?
January 4, 2008
I noticed that in recovering alcoholics I know, they don’t report dreams, and some have said they don’t dream. And then in suspected psychopaths I know, same thing — lack of dreaming.
If this observation is correct, he suspects a white matter deficiencies. Any feedback from readers would no doubt be appreciated. Continue reading
If you strongly disagree you might be Machiavellian.
A Machiavellian is someone who’s tendency is to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. The charactersitics include: charm, confidence, glibness, arrogance, calculation, cynicism, manipulation and exploitation.
Machiavelliansim is measured using the simple 20-statement MACH-IV self-assessment test devised and standardised by Richard Christie and Florence L. Geis. A score of 60/100 and up qualifies one as a ‘high Mach’ – someone who is detached, calculating, and cynical about people. A ‘low Mach’ is more personal, empathic, and trusting.
Are high-Machs psychopaths? No. The difference is important and needs to be teased apart carefully. Here’s something from Wikipedia to get open the discussion:
It may be difficult to distinguish between the two, because both types exhibit similar tendencies, often while considering it important to mask or misrepresent their motives….(T)rue High Machs (as opposed to sociopaths) tend to take consequences very seriously, and when dedicated to a course of action which may backfire, it is usually because the potential consequences have been weighed quite carefully and the High Mach is prepared to be responsible if blame cannot be deflected sufficiently.
Before we lump high- and low-Machs in respective negative and positive boxes, it should be noted that at the very low end lies maladroitness with others: “kind of dependent, submissive and socially inept. So be sure to invite a high Mach or two to your next dinner party” says Salon.com’s ‘Ivory tower‘, where you can take the MACH-IV test for a look-see.
So, what do you think? Is this a useful ingredient to out into our pot?
Photo: Uffizi statue: Niccolo Machiavelli, originally uploaded by Crashworks