Is there a psychopath gene or not?
Defining what leads a person to becoming a psychopath can be extremely challenging. However, research shows that psychopathy can be a result from environmental and genetic factors. It can be very difficult to point out if there’s a psychopath gene or not, but what we do know is that psychopaths can sometimes run in the family.
So even if there’s no specific psychopath gene, most of the time psychopaths will inherit this from one of their parents. Plus, even if the parent himself won’t have psychopathy, they might actually carry one of the genetic variants that gets transmitted to their kids and they are the ones becoming a psychopath. However, this happens on a case by case basis, so we can’t generalize because there are so many differences.
Can we track a specific psychopath gene?
No, we can’t find any psychopath gene. In fact, psychological problems like psychopathy usually appear due to the combination of hundreds or thousands of different genes. Some say that the monoamine oxidase A gene, also known as the warrior gene or just MAOA is the one that controls protein production and it’s the gene that helps break down those chemicals that help influence mood. This gene is usually connected with an increase in aggressive or violent behavior.
There is a variant named MAOA-L which generates less protein, and that means brain signaling chemicals add up. And when too many of these are adding up, the person can deal with violent tendencies, impulsivity, mood changes and even sleep disorders. James Fallon who is a neuroscientist from the UC Irvine School of Medicine studied the brain of various psychopaths and murderers, and he saw most of them possessed this gene. However, it’s not only this gene that leads to psychopathic behavior, as we mentioned above it’s a combination of different factors.
Environmental risks can be a major factor too
Even if there would be a psychopath gene, there are some other factors lie environmental risks that might influence the appearance of such a behavior. Some consider that perinatal factors like high stress levels, smoking during the pregnancy period or any birth complications can lead to such problems as well.
The lack of parental attention and warmness can also lead to that child developing psychopathic tendencies in the long run. Some other factors can be either a fearless temperament or a low resting rate. It can be very difficult to pinpoint when and how these factors end up creating psychopathic traits, but that’s certainly something that will happen from time to time.
As you can see, there’s no specific psychopath gene per say, although some genes have been linked to people that have psychopathic tendencies. That being said, there are many different factors at hand in a situation like this, so it’s hard to just look for a psychopath gene and then define a person based on that. More research and studies are needed until a person can be defined as a psychopath, and studies are still being performed to find and track a possible psychopath gene!