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Antisocial Personalities

NCJ Number
D T Lykken
Date Published
269 pages
After reviewing the literature on psychopathy, this book documents the claim that sociopaths, not psychopaths, are responsible for most crime.
Part I outlines a theory of socialization based on evolutionary and genetic concepts. Using a taxonomy, this section distinguishes those individuals whose crimes are a byproduct of genuine psychosis and another group of psychologically normal offenders whose crimes can be attributed to situational factors, including restricted options, easily rationalized temptation, or excessive provocation. This leaves the main body of persistently antisocial offenders, the family of antisocial personalities. The largest genus within this family consists of the sociopaths. The three chapters of Part II provide the evolutionary and genetic basis for the author's analysis of the causes of crime and violence. Part III introduces the psychopathic personality and discusses the relevant experimental literature. Part IV focuses on the sociopathic personalities, who are more numerous and constitute the larger social problem. The concluding chapter offers suggestions for treating and preventing antisocial personality. Among the suggestions are guidance and training services for parents who are motivated to raise their children successfully but lack the skills and resources to do so, the provision of alternative rearing environments for children whose parents cannot or will not make effective use of help and guidance, and the licensure of parenthood. Extensive figures, tables, and 400 references