Re: Mealey

From: Whitehouse Chantal (
Date: Fri May 15 1998 - 14:40:30 BST

Mealey Questions

   because they are partly dependent upon learning and socialization,
   secondary emotions can vary across individuals and cultures

Don't primary emotions vary across individuals to some extent? e.g.
some people exhibit more fear or anger than others.

   adoptive children with both a genetic risk and an environmental risk
   have a far greater risk of expressing criminal behaviour than do
   adoptees with no such risk or only one risk factor, and that risk
   factor is more than a simple additive effect.

Is there any difference between adoptive children with genetic risk
only compared to children with no risk? If there is this would imply
people can be born bad.

Mealey talks about a genetic factor underlying all deviant behaviour
"d". If "d" is on a normal distribution, as she suggests, with
sociopaths at the extreme end, what is at the other extreme? Would it
be extremely altruistic peple with great social empathy- Mother
Theresa's. Would a lack of "d" result in altruistic behaviour or
would you need an extra genetic factor - "a"?

In attempting to explain secondary sociopathy Mealey she says that
children with poor social skills are at a disadvantage in
interactions with age-mates and rejected by popular children. Similar
children therefore consort with each other. She then says that
antisocia behaviour is reinforced in this group and new antisocial
skills learnt. This antisocial behaviour escalates in response to
social rewards provided by the group, and eventually may lead to
sociopathy. This seems to be a huge leap, a group of poorly socially
skilled children giving rise to a cold calculating sociopath just
through reinforcement of some behaviours. Why should the group reward
antisocial behaviours anyway? If they are friends of sort should they
not develop some sort of social skill such as loyalty to each other?

   The use of antisocial statergies is not restricted to sociopaths.
   Christies developed a scale for measuring this subclinical variation
   in antisocial personality; he called it the Machiavellianism scale.
   It can be thought of as a low-level manifestation of sociopathy.

Is a high score on the Mach scale correlated with the same genetic
factors as primary sociopathy or the social factors of secondary
sociopathy, or neither?


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