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The Antisocial Personalities Hardcover – 12 Jun 1995


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Psychology Press (12 Jun 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080581941X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805819410
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,845,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jan 1999
Format: Paperback
this is a very good, readable book on antisocial personalities. david covers all aspects of the disorder in a very readable fashion. there is even bits and pieces of humor thrown in too. loved his two paragraph statement on how psychodynamics describes antisocials. essential reading for any therapist or forensic scientist.
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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Absorbing study of antisocial dysfunction 5 Sep 2001
By TheIrrationalMan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
David T. Lykken, in his highly absorbing and comprehensive exposition, attempts to define the various types of antisocial dysfunction. Although he also takes into account behaviourist and biologistic explanations of the origin of antisocial disorder (such as frontal-lobe brain disorder and the low Serotonin hypothesis), his main argument is that sociopathy is principally a result of inadequate parenting and poor socialisation. He justifies this assertion by quoting statistics which prove that the majority of fearless, aggressive, manipulative impulsive criminals with low I.Q. and little sense of commitment towards jobs, family or others -- (those who are responsible for raising America's crime rate) -- are mainly the result of being brought up in often single-parent households, or else reared by incompetent parents. This leads to delinquency in early youth, as the potential young offender finds no sense of discipline or authority at home, thereby gravitating towards dubious peer groups, such as gangs, who are usually presided upon by older, more mainipulative, though no less intelligent, gangleaders. Lykken also offers some engrossing insights on the possibility of a genetic component in fluencing psychopathic behaviour, leading him to devote several chapters on the hereditability of crime, a topic that has remained highly controversial in criminological circles since Lombroso. Though he denies the existence of a precise gene for "criminality", thus avoiding the untenable view that criminals consititute a fixed "type", he argues that genetics do indeed predispose certain individuals towards psychopathic and sociopathic activity. They may, for instance, be more venturesome, more aggressive, more competitive, more egoistic and more impulsive than other children, though these susceptibilities can only develop into criminality due to environmental inputs: - which, as Lykken claimed, are related to inadequate socialisation and defective parenting styles. His chapter on the relationship between race and criminality -- (in view of the black minority's disproportionate responsibility for over half of America's crimes) -- is evenly and impartially argued. Lykken charges that the same genes, given differing environmental conditioning, can be responsible for breeding either a criminal psychopath or a zealous crime-fighter, and he substantiates this claim by quoting a number of twin studies. Lykken's recommendations on the prevention of sociopathy are controversial. He believes that prevention is far better than the cure, and calls for much needed tax-payer funding for licensed "parenters" to become the wards of parentless or potentially delinquent children. Otherwise, he contends that the majority of psychopathic personalities are incurable, and the only solution would be "biological-prophylactic" legislation...
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Highly recommended for all 26 Mar 2009
By Steven Bagley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Lykken's brilliant book is a thoughtful, and articulate exposition of his theory about biological, psychological, and social causes of crime and antisocial behavior. It says:
1. Various traits such as fearlessness, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and muscular body type, are highly heritable.
2. Those with average measures of such traits who are incompetently raised in asocial environments will go on to commit the majority of violent crimes; these are sociopaths.
3. Those with very high measures of such traits, almost regardless of their nurturing environment, will become psychopaths - fortunately, these are much fewer in number.
4. The solutions to the problems created by the sociopaths are better parenting training, use of alternative rearing environments (foster care), and parental licensing.

Along the way, you'll also get an introduction to evolutionary psychology, a review of various taxonomies of psychopathy and sociopathy, the evidence for Lykken's psychophysiological basis of psychopathy (low fear quotient), and even a short chapter on bull terriers. Lykken writes with a forceful and deeply personal, non-academic style, but avoids the lurid sensationalism of sadism and torture that attracts many readers (and writers) to the antisocial personality. He dispatches psychoanalytic theory in two paragraphs. Most of the book will be accessible to the intelligent layperson; the few more technical sections can be skipped without loss of the flow of his argument.

I first borrowed this from the library, but bought it and read it again; it's that good. It has profound implications for our current society. Liberals won't like the emphasis on behavioral genetics; conservatives might not like the state interference of his proposed parental licensing - tough luck for ideologues. Anyone who is a parent, might become one, or knows someone who is, should read this book. I'm wondering if the person who gave this book a 2-star review actually did read it, because Lykken discusses Hare's work at considerable length.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Innovative Book 23 Feb 2006
By James Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I do seminars across the country for thousands of mental healthcare workers. I was at a prison for over two years (as a psychologist, of course) and I really liked this book. Lykken has a real FEEL for the antisocial "personalities". These are "personalities" honed by neglect, lack of an alpha personality, and lack of bonding. If they don't bond with an alpha by the time they are a certain age, they become THEIR OWN alpha personality. Then it's too late (almost always irreversable with the therapy we have now). My opinion? It's a GREAT BOOK!!

Dr. Jay Carter (author of "Nasty People")
Book review 31 Dec 2013
By Rebecca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book for those who would like to know more about the antisocial personality disorder! Great price on the book. Easy to understand. Well written.
The how and why of psychopathy, a great neglected source of our political dysfunction 22 Sep 2013
By David Lewit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lykken was a no-nonsense experimental psychologist who also was a clinician (seeing a range of distressed or malfunctioning people) and a social engineer. While other psychologists criticize social conditions from a more or less psychoanalytic position, Lykken strongly takes into account breeding of temperament---as with dogs. He discerns with etiological reasoning a dozen different types of sociopaths, and is not afraid to use the term "psychopath"---primary and secondary---according to neurological rigidities. He provides many case history examples. His experimental work with prisoners and others who screen out as psychopathic show how congenital neurological insensitivity to pain stimuli and punishment is at the root of intractable, unconscionable behavior.
To my mind this is of the essence in our understanding and trying to change our secretive, mendacious, catastrophic cultural and political system---which presently allows sociopaths and psychopaths to dominate corporate, governmental, and military regimes. Lykken would teach and license good parenting, essential in preventing sociopathy, and would somehow reduce the proportion of psychopaths in the population. But more practically, we must develop and adopt means of screening them out before allowing them to take control of our major institutions. Here is where many social psychologists and educators need to refocus their energies.
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