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July 25 2013

Violent psychopaths can show empathy, study shows


Hannibal Lecter can probably feel for his victims, but only if you ask him.

A brain-imaging study of 18 violent, psychopathic criminals in the Netherlands, the largest such study undertaken, suggests they can summon empathy when prompted.

The report, published Wednesday in the journal Brain, showed that empathic circuits that are unconsciously activated in the brains of normal people may be dormant or switched off in psychopaths -- not absent, as commonly thought.

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