American researchers took an MRI scanner to a prison in Wisconsin, and scanned the brains of 40 prisoners – finding ‘broken links’ between crucial parts of their brains. Psychopaths such as Hannibal Lecter – Anthony Hopkins’ character in the film The Silence of the Lambs – are callous, anti-social and sometimes violent. They are incapable of feeling empathy or guilt.
Many lead ‘normal’ – even successful – lives. In fact, a recent study suggested that up to one in 25 business leaders may be psychopaths.
One per cent of the population at large is generally reckoned to be psychopathic – but up to 20 per cent of the prison population is reckoned to be psychopathic.
By Rob Waugh