26

Before trying to give any sort of answer, it is important to address a common misconception. In popular culture, the terms child-molester and pedophile are often equated. Scientifically, they are not at all the same. The approximate scientific definition for a pedophile is: an individual that has an unwavering sexual attraction to prepubescent children ...


24

I think it's important to clarify that pedophilia is currently classified by the DSM IV as a paraphilia. A paraphilia is as a "recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving non-human objects, the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one's partner, children, non-consenting persons. The word "paraphilia" is ...


19

There are a few references to the scientific literature on trolling in the wikipedia article Some psychologists have suggested that flaming would be caused by deindividuation or decreased self-evaluation: the anonymity of online postings would lead to disinhibition amongst individuals (Kiesler et al, 1984). Others have suggested that although ...


19

Yes and No By the standards of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (or DSM-IV in its current form), perhaps the most prominent all-in-one manual to assist physicians in accurately defining a patient's disorder, has specific criteria for a disorder, including: is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (...


17

Sanity is an explicit legal definition. It is generally not a psychological term. This is Wikipedia's definition of Sanity which aligns perfectly to my understanding of abnormal psychology. (emphasis mine): In criminal and mental health law, sanity is a legal term denoting that an individual is of sound mind and therefore can bear legal responsibility for ...


15

Depends which IQ test you use - individuals with ASDs show a typical "pattern" on the WAIS, which can cause it to appear like they have lower IQs. When tested with tests which aren't biased in this way, they appear to have the same IQ range as neurotypicals. The assumption that those with an ASD are cognitively impaired pervades both popular and scientific ...


14

From an article by the NY times. Trolling, defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of ...


13

From my very brief skim of the field, it seems like the consensus is that savants have access to the kind of low-level information processing which non-savants do not. I'll summarize one such theory in some detail, since it's the one that I've happened to read. But I'm not an expert in this field and this is just one of the theories, the rest of which I ...


13

It's all about the receptors, really. There are 7 families of serotonin receptors that perform different functions within the brain, and according to Wikipedia 14 different subtypes have been discovered. The article assumes that a blanket level of serotonin would be sufficient to "perk" up the brain, wherein it is much more complicated. Serotonin serves ...


12

The Hare Psychopathology Checklist is considered the current gold standard for measuring potential psychopathy. If you're interested in psychopathology, the book Without Conscience by Robert Hare, Ph.D., is a fascinating read. He has a second book called Snakes In Suits, which I have not yet read, so I cannot recommend or not recommend it. Dr. Hare has a ...


12

Ben Brocka makes many fine points. Insanity is a legal definition and what constitutes insanity will vary state to state, even jurisdiction to jurisdiction. What makes sanity so hard to quantify is the fact that so often, in a forensic setting, it comes down to the discretion of a jury of one's peers or the Court to accept or deny insanity as an explanation ...


12

I am by no means any sort of expert at the French mental health system, but I was curious and found a few reasons that may indicate why such a philosophy is prevalent. In this blog, an American psychologist analyzes the differences between the American and French schools of thought on ADHD, but the observations hold for other conditions as well. While ...


11

Here is an article explaining trolling based on Sperber and Mercier's "argumentative theory" of human reasoning. The latter is a fascinating paper in its own right. References Mercier, H. and Sperber, D. (2011). Why do humans reason? arguments for an argumentative theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(02):57-74. FREE PDF


11

The Neurobiology and Genetics of Borderline Personality Disorder indicates that a good deal of research has been done but a specific mechanism causing it has not been pinned down. It appears to be largely genetic which would strongly suggest a neurobiological/nature basis as opposed to a "nurture" related cause. (emphasis mine) In summary, the ...


11

Cognitive dissonance theory seems to be exactly what you're looking for. It seeks to explain how and why people hold incongruous or dissonant beliefs. I guess egosyntonic beliefs would be consonant with self, egodystonic would be dissonant. Anyway, I'll just link you to the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance


11

Pornography laws are a relic of the Victorian era, and not based on any science. Research that can conclusively determine the effect of pornography on children is hard to come by due to the resultant ethical environment. Most research depends on self-reports: Surveys ask adolescents how much pornography they have been exposed to, and attempt to correlate ...


11

Ironically enough, Wikipedia does offer as meaningful a distinction as any of the answers here so far: The term sociopathy may have been first introduced in 1909 in Germany by biological psychiatrist Karl Birnbaum and in 1930 in the US by educational psychologist George E. Partridge, as an alternative to, or a subtype of, the concept of psychopathy.[137] ...


11

Some neurodegenerative diseases cause extreme gullibility, in particular Alzheimer Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the scientists were able to determine which parts of the brain govern a person’s ability to identify sarcasm and lies. The images revealed the associations between the deteriorations of particular parts of the brain and the ...


11

Worldbuilding may have beaten you to this: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/99881/15591 Williams Syndrome is not, strictly-speaking a purely mental condition. It is "caused by a genetic abnormality" and commonly leads to problems "with teeth, heart problems, especially supravalvular aortic stenosis, and periods of high blood calcium". But, ...


10

Dissociative Disorders are really fascinating to me as well. Fugue states/episodes as well as dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder) in particular. PTSD must be differentiated from disorders that can exhibit phenomenological similarities, such as borderline personality disorder and dissociative disorders (including dissociative ...


9

Well that looks like the behavior of any person with a strong passion and focus for his work. There are plenty of these around! I guess it would be more common in any field of work were people already have dedicated a significant part of their life to it, and where it is almost a prerequisite. Being a mathematician selects and cultivates people able to ...


9

In this paper, the authors note that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia share many abnormal resting state network connections. But some connections are specific to bipolar disorder and others are specific to schizophrenia. I think to really describe the two illnesses, one must look at specific biological data. Fuzzy terms like "mood disorder" and "thought ...


9

I suppose at face value, the answer to the question "Is serotonin linked to depression?" would 'yes'. However, if the question was "Is Major Depressive Disorder or Dysthimia the result of deficits in serotonergic signaling?" the answer becomes much less black-and-white. First, to piggyback on Chuck's response, it is very important to consider 5-HT (...


9

In light of a recent question in MedicalSciences.SE, I thought I would update this answer to include some information from my answer there. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) now affects one in 68 births in the United States and is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disability worldwide (Edmiston, et al. 2017) [free access paper with links to cited papers]. ...


8

This is only one possible pathway. There are many potential ones. Further the fact that this is possible does not mean that it is the case always. Stress activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. For example, a meta-analysis by Dickerson et al. (2004) demonstrated that an acute laboratory based stressor reliably increased cortisol levels, ...


8

I think the difference comes down to awareness and control. A person who "wears many hats" and can step into different archetypes is a sort of personality chameleon, whereas a person with dissociative identity disorder has little or no control over changing personalities, and certain personalities within that person may be only partially or completely ...


8

I am not a professional, but it is my understanding that it is common for major depression to not show up in adults until the age of 30 to 60 years old; see for example, Table 2 of Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, Mood Disorders - Major Depressive Disorder. Overall, the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible