Moral Judgment by Alleged Sociopaths as a Means to Cope with
Problems of Definition and Identification in Mealey's Model
.....the order of 'cause and effect' in the relationship
between heredity and behavior. Schoenfeld asserts that the issue...
involves an assumption that "Structure determines function, "that is
...differences in performance arise from physical differences.
(1) P = H + E + I
where P accounts for phenotypic variance; H and E represent the
independent main effects of heredity and environment, respectively;
and I is the interaction of the two. However, ...he shows that
equation (1) cannot be solved, since H and E are indispensable and not
operationalizable. Equation (1) should thus be reduced to be
(2) P = I
as implied in another quotation from Schoenfeld (pp 25-26):
Can accept: "Heredity" is the potentiality of the development under
given conditions and "environment" is the totality of those
>This preliminary distinction between "heridity" & "environmental"
>bears resemlance >with Mealey's definition of "primary" & "secondary"
>psychopaths. Where the former >has a stronger genetic basis to
>become one(?) However, if there is really such >potentiality, then
>what factor can possibily "set it off" and makinf this particular
>gene's effect becomes apparent?
>"Schoenfeld also claimed that because H and E
>cannot be isolated from each other, i.e. their main effects cannot be
>identified." Is this quote implying that H and E 's sparate effects
>can't be identified but their interactive effect can be?!"
A related problem is definitional circularity. Sociopathy as a
construct includes behaviorally-inferred predispositions such as
irresponsibility, egocentricity and impulsiveness.
Behaviorally-inferred emotional predispositions, i.e., lack of feeling
of social emotions vs. an ability to feel them, are assumed to
differentiate between primary and secondary sociopathy in real
settings. Such a differentiation would not succeed without taking into
account etiological considerations associated with H and E. However,
the contributions of H and E to behavior are not identifiable, as
suggested by Schoenfeld. Thus, there should be problems
One possible solution...
For example the one by Anderson (1991)
(3) Blame (or blame avoidance) = Culpa O Consequences
The amount of blame is a cognitive integral
(represented by the symbol O) of the negative value of culpability and
consequences. Based on subjects' judgments of a series of anti-social
incidents, their valuation of different aspects of culpa and
consequences as well as the rules used for the integration of
information about these elements can be inferred.
>Wolf (1985) further proposed application of this paradigm to several
>problems of definition and identification in the construct of
(4) Blame = Intent O Damage
where intent and damage are special cases of culpa and consequences,
Using this framework, Mealey's hypotheses regarding the role of
emotional predispositions in sociopathy can be formulated in terms of
blame schema. For example,
(5) Blame = PD O ED
where PD and ED represent property and emotional damage caused to the
victim. The integrated evolutionary model implies that more importance
is expected to be assigned to property damage by sociopaths than by
normative people, and more by primary than by secondary sociopaths.
The above hypotheses can be refined by exposing subjects to two
presentations of a design derived from the model in (5), one from a
perspective of (identification with) a victim and the other from a
perspective of a harmdoer, thus facilitating blaming and avoidance of
>This model may account for the secondary sociopath, but if the
>"primary" ones are capable of looking from other's
>perspectives, thus being able to measure their own property as
>well as emotional damage, then why are they being "allocated" into
>another category as opposed to "secondary"? As it has been
>suggested that "primary" cannot "feel" or access to their social
>emotions (or even they are lacking that particular capacity of
>"having" those emotions), what can this blame model do with respect
>to identifying them? Wolf also claimed that apart from looking from
>the victim's perspective, the other is from the perspective of the
>amount of propert damage, can this perspective contribute in
>lowering the damage caused by those "primary" sociopaths? Because
>they know that those are solid evidence against their crime.
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