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Is Psychopathy or Antisocial Personality Disorder Genetic?



Image via: Kevork Djansezian

The US population has increased to a whopping 324 million people, with about 2 million of them currently being locked behind bars.

According to researchers, antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), a mental illness found in 40-70% of the prison inmate population, as referenced in a Daily Mail report, has yet to be fully understood.

ASPD is characterized by traits such as lack of remorse, aggression, manipulation, and criminal behavior; these traits are seen in many prison inmates, including serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer.

But how exactly does one wake up with such a dangerous personality disorder?

In September 2016, Business Insider reported on a research study suggesting that the majority of prison inmates with ASPD received their illness via their DNA.

Although genetics may play a role in those who’ve developed ASPD, it should be noted that environmental factors, such as childhood abuse or neglect, is still seen as the most likely cause of the disorder.

In the study published by BI, researchers initiated a ‘genome-wide study using data from the Finnish CRIME sample’, which was gathered in 2010 to 2011 from 749 Finnish prison inmates.


Surprisingly enough, researchers found that “rs4714329” links attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with ASPD.

Essentially, genes associated with ADHD increase the risk of developing ASPD, according to the study’s findings.

“In humans, LINC00951 and LRFN2 are both expressed in the brain, especially in the frontal cortex, which is intriguing considering the role of the frontal cortex in behavior and the neuroanatomical findings of reduced gray matter volume in ASPD,” researchers concluded.

Jose Florez is the founder and editor of Mental Daily. His work has appeared in Psychology Today, Glamour, HuffPost, among others. He is a mental health advocate, and currently studying psychology.

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