Theories of Psychopath and Violent Criminal Behaviors



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Theories of Psychopath and Violent Criminal Behaviors


Psychopathy is a personality disorder defined by a lacking empathy, regret, and guilt. Theories of psychopathic behavior are frameworks that aim to explain the traits and actions of people with psychopathy. These theories aim to comprehend this condition’s intricate and multifaceted roots and frequently concentrate on psychological and biological aspects that may contribute to psychopathy. On the other side, theories of violent criminal conduct are conceptual frameworks that try to describe why some people participate in violent activity, especially conduct that causes harm to others. These theories aim to comprehend the intricate and multifaceted reasons for violent conduct in individuals and frequently concentrate on psychological, societal, and biological variables that may lead to violent behavior.

Although there may be some similarities, violent criminal conduct theories and psychopathic behavior theories are distinct. While violent criminal behavior is a broad category that people with or without psychopathy can display, psychopathy is a unique personality condition. Moreover, although theories of violent criminal behavior may emphasize social and environmental causes, theories of psychopathic behavior may emphasize personal psychological and biological elements.

Psychopath Behaviors Theories

Psychodynamic Theory

Psychodynamic theory, commonly referred to as psychoanalytic theory, strongly emphasizes the unconscious mind and the importance of early events in forming a person’s personality and conduct. This theory holds that conflicts and battles between a person’s id, ego, and superego, among other parts of their mind, impact their psychological development. The idea of the id, the portion of the psyche responsible for fundamental desires and impulses, is one facet of the psychodynamic theory that is pertinent to the conduct of psychopaths (Anderson& Kiehl, n.d.). Psychopaths frequently have an overdeveloped id that rules their psyche and causes them to act impulsively and selfishly. This might show up as a lack of empathy or care for others and a determination to accomplish their own goals without considering the repercussions.

The idea of the ego, the portion of the mind that communicates between the id and the external world, is another facet of psychodynamic theory pertinent to psychopathic conduct. Psychopaths often have weak or underdeveloped egos, making it difficult to control their impulses and emotions (Psychopathic Personality Theory, n.d.). This can lead to rash and impulsive behavior and a failure to think through the effects of their choices. Psychodynamic theory also contends that early events have a significant impact on a people’s personality and behavior.

Cognitive-behavioral Theory

The cognitive-behavioral theory emphasizes how thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect people’s behavior. This idea contends that a person’s thoughts and beliefs about himself and the universe greatly influence their feelings and conduct (2022). The concept that one’s thoughts and beliefs can affect their emotions and conduct is one part of the cognitive-behavioral theory that is pertinent to the behavior of psychopaths. Psychopaths are believed to have warped or dysfunctional mental patterns and ideas, which causes them to act impulsively and recklessly. For instance, a psychopath could act callously or manipulatively because of skewed notions they hold about the worth of other people’s lives.

The notion that a person’s surroundings and experiences can also impact their thoughts and beliefs is another component of cognitive-behavioral theory pertinent to psychopathic conduct. Psychopaths are believed to have endured traumatic or abusive childhood experiences, which may have negatively influenced their ideas and attitudes (2015). For instance, a psychopath who has been subjected to abuse may believe that the world is hostile and hazardous, which causes them to act in deceptive or violent ways to defend themselves.

Biological Theory

According to the biological theory of psychopathic conduct, people with these features have naturally different brain structures and functions, which may factor in their propensity for impulsive and antisocial behavior. These variations could be caused by biological factors such as genetics, prenatal exposure to chemicals or stressors, or other factors. This theory holds that people who exhibit psychopathic qualities frequently have anomalies in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain in charge of judgment and impulse control (Fournier et al., 2021). Serotonin, which can influence mood and behavior, is one of the chemicals that may be out of balance in their brains.

Lack of sympathy and compassion for others is one of the main characteristics of psychopathic conduct. This might result from variations in how the brain processes emotional information and reacts properly. The amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for processing emotions, is particularly less active in people with psychopathic tendencies, according to studies (Anderson & Kiehl, n.d). Overall, the biological theory of psychopathic behavior holds that impulsive and antisocial conduct in people with psychopathic tendencies is brought on by inherent abnormalities in the brain’s structure and functioning. Although this theory does not fully account for all elements of psychopathy, it offers a helpful framework for comprehending the root reasons for this difficult and frequently upsetting condition.


Evolutionary Theory

According to the evolutionary theory of psychopathic conduct, some characteristics, like impulsivity and a lack of empathy, may have been favorable in the past and have since been handed down through natural selection. According to this argument, having psychopathic tendencies may have helped people thrive and procreate in prehistoric conditions (Psychopathic Personality Theory, n.d.). For instance, a lack of empathy may have made people more brutal and craftier in their pursuit of resources or mates. In contrast, impulsivity may have aided them in making snap judgments in perilous circumstances. These characteristics, though, might not be as useful in contemporary culture as they might encourage criminal activity and other societal ills. Despite this, the qualities may continue since they are ingrained in each person’s genetic makeup. The discovery of certain genetic variations linked to psychopathic tendencies lends more evidence that these traits have a biological basis.

Theories of Violent criminal Behaviors

Psychological Perspective

According to the psychological interpretation of violent criminal behavior, people who commit violent crimes may have underlying psychological problems or personality features that influence their behavior. This viewpoint emphasizes the contribution of personal qualities and cognitive biases to the emergence of violent criminal behavior (2015). This hypothesis contends that people who commit violent crimes may have personality qualities that increase their propensities to act violently, such as low empathy or high impulsivity. They might also exhibit cognitive biases, such as a propensity to read circumstances as hostile or aggressive, which can trigger violent outbursts. Additionally, traumatic events or other psychological pain could have had an impact on their behavior and perspective.

Sociological Perspective

According to the sociological interpretation of the theory of violent criminal conduct, social and environmental factors play an important part in the emergence of violent behavior. According to this view, people do not just act violently out of the blue; rather, their behavior is influenced by the greater social and cultural context in which they reside (Anderson & Kiehl, n.d). This viewpoint holds that an individual’s social environment is a significant component that can influence violent criminal behavior. Their family, friends, and neighborhood may play a role in this, as well as the larger culture and society in which they live. For instance, those who grow up in high-violence contexts, such as inner-city communities, may be more inclined to act violently.

A person’s propensity for violent behavior can also be influenced by exposure to specific cultural norms and values, such as the notion that is using violence to resolve conflicts. This viewpoint also emphasizes how social injustice and discrimination contribute to the emergence of violent criminal conduct (2015). People who are marginalized or oppressed may act violently more frequently to cope with their circumstances or as a form of resistance. Unfair access to resources and opportunities can also encourage violent behavior since some people may resort to crime to get what they require to survive.

Biological Theory

According to the biological perspective on the theory of violent criminal conduct, a person’s propensity for violent behavior can be influenced by biological traits, including genetics and brain makeup. This viewpoint emphasizes how biological variables influence how people behave and think. According to this theory, heredity is a significant aspect that may contribute to violent criminal conduct. According to research, specific genetic variants are linked to a higher likelihood of violent conduct (Anderson & Kiehl, n.d.). For instance, several mutations in the MAOA gene, which is important for controlling neurotransmitters, have been associated with increased aggression and violent behavior. Furthermore, there may be a hereditary component to this type of conduct, as people with a history of violent behavior in their families may be more likely to exhibit violent behavior themselves. This view asserts that brain structure and function, like psychopath behaviors, can contribute to violent criminal behavior.

Similarities between Theories of Psychopath and Violent Criminal Behaviors

According to the theories of psychopathic behavior and violent criminal behavior, certain personal characteristics, such as personality traits and cognitive biases, can influence the emergence of these behaviors. According to the notion of psychopathic conduct, people who display psychopathic features, such as impulsivity and a lack of empathy, may be more prone to act in a way that is detrimental to others (Skeem et al., 2007). These characteristics, which can result in criminal conduct and social dysfunction, may be influenced by genetics and brain shape. Similarly, the theory of violent criminal conduct contends that personal characteristics, including personality traits and cognitive biases, might affect a person’s propensity for violent behavior.

The theories of psychopathic behavior and violent criminal behavior both acknowledge the potential influence of genetics and brain makeup on a person’s propensity for psychopathic or violent behavior. The idea of psychopathic conduct suggests that genetic variants may be linked to a higher risk of psychopathic traits, such as impulsivity and a lack of empathy (2015). These genetic variants might affect how some parts of the brain that control aggression and violence work. The genetic and biochemical underpinnings of psychopathic tendencies can be better understood by researchers, who may then be able to create more potent preventative and therapeutic measures.

Both the theory of psychopathic conduct and the theory of violent criminal behavior acknowledge that these behaviors can have detrimental effects on both people and society and that it is crucial to treat them to promote the welfare of both. The hypothesis of psychopathic behavior states that those who display psychopathic qualities may suffer from various adverse effects (2022). These include potential issues with interpersonal relationships, challenges maintaining employment, and an elevated chance of engaging in criminal activity. Additionally, psychopathic people may have detrimental effects on society by committing crimes that cause harm to other people or by participating in socially undesirable behaviors.


The theories focus on various sorts of behavior, with one significant distinction between psychopathic behavior and violent criminal behavior. The theory of psychopathic conduct focuses on characteristics and actions typical of psychopathy, like lack of empathy, impulsivity, and disregard for other people’s feelings (Kiehl & Hoffman, n.d.). This theory tries to comprehend the fundamental causes and effects of these characteristics and behaviors to create preventative and therapeutic methods for psychopathy.

On the other hand, the theory of violent criminal behavior concentrates on the origins and effects of violent crime. This theory aims to comprehend the variables influencing violent conduct, including personality traits, cognitive biases, and social and environmental variables. In order to shield people and society from the harmful effects of violence, it also tries to develop techniques for avoiding and minimizing violent behavior ((Psychopathic Personality Theory, n.d.). Generally, both theories focus on different sorts of behavior and have different goals and ramifications, even though they have certain components in common.

Evolutionary psychology, a subfield that examines how psychological characteristics and actions have changed over time, is the theoretical foundation for psychopathic conduct. According to this idea, psychopathic behavior is a result of adaptations that were advantageous to our ancestors in their environment but are now detrimental in contemporary society. For instance, psychopaths could have characteristics that made them aggressive and cunning, which would have been useful in a situation where there was competition for resources (Fournier et al., 2021). On the other hand, sociological and psychological perspectives are more frequently linked to the notion of violent criminal behavior. These ideas suggest that personal and societal factors, including a person’s upbringing, social environment, and encounters with violence, influence violent criminal behavior. For instance, someone who grows up in a violent household or area may be more prone to act violently since they may have learned that using violence to resolve disputes is a common practice.

These theories highlight the various elements that may contribute to the emergence of psychopathic and violent criminal behavior. The theory of psychopathic behavior strongly emphasizes the genetic component because it contends that certain psychological characteristics and behaviors, such as aggression and deceitfulness, are the result of environmental adaptations that benefited our ancestors at the time they developed them (2022). According to this argument, those who act psychopathically may have acquired these characteristics from their ancestors, making them more inclined to act in such a manner. On the other hand, the theory of violent criminal conduct concentrates on the impact of social and environmental variables.

Why Psychopaths and Violent Criminals Commit Crimes

Psychopaths and violent criminals may commit crimes for a variety of reasons. They might not have empathy, which is the capacity to comprehend and share the emotions of others, which is one explanation. Due to their inability to grasp how their acts affect others, they may commit crimes (Savopoulos & Amp, 2018). This lack of empathy may be the cause of this. Another cause would be the high impulsivity that psychopaths and violent criminals exhibit. This indicates that individuals frequently behave without thinking through the repercussions of their choices. Due to their impulsivity, they may commit crimes without considering the possible repercussions.

A third possible explanation is that psychopaths and violent criminals may not care about social norms and rules. Due to their disregard for the law, individuals can find it more convenient to commit crimes because they do not value following the laws and rules that keep society safe and orderly. Several studies have hypothesized that psychopathic and aggressive behavior may have a genetic or biological foundation (Fournier et al., 2021). For instance, certain genetic differences or brain abnormalities may increase a person’s likelihood of acting criminally, according to certain studies. Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that more research is needed to properly understand biology and genetics in criminal conduct.

Lastly, it is important to remember that psychopaths and violent criminals have different motivations for committing crimes. Some people may be driven by a need for money or other material possessions, while others may be influenced by a desire for control or authority (Fournier et al., 2021). Psychopaths and violent criminals occasionally commit crimes due to mental illness or other unresolved psychological problems. Other times, their illegal activities may have more complicated and challenging reasons.


In conclusion, several explanations have been proposed to explain the actions of violent criminals and psychopaths. According to these views, impulsivity, a lack of empathy, and a disregard for social norms and rules may all contribute to criminal activity. Additionally, evidence points to the possibility that genetics and biology may contribute to the emergence of violent and psychopathic conduct. Giving psychopaths and violent offenders access to mental health care, and assistance is crucial for their rehabilitation. This could entail counseling, medication, and other interventions that can assist them in controlling their urges and growing more aware of how their actions affect other people. It is crucial to keep in mind that psychopaths and violent criminals may be dealing with complicated psychological disorders, and they are deserving of compassion and assistance as they strive to overcome their difficulties and lead more rewarding lives.
















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