Study: Can Violent Psychopaths ‘Switch On’ Empathy?

Even heartless killers can be caring — when they want to be.

Psychopaths do not lack empathy, as previously thought. Instead they can switch it on and off at will, BBC News reports.

When placed in a brain scanner, 18 convicted psychopathic criminals had no trouble feeling empathy while viewing a video of a person in pain — when they were asked to.

If not prompted the areas of the brain related to feelings of empathy for others did not light up. The study focused on the brain’s so-called “mirror system,” which helps us feel other people’s pain,  SBS World News reports. 

by Brett Nuckles