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There was a time – back in our more primitive days – when two of the factors we now think of as highly problematic: fearlessness and the capacity for the remorseless perpetuation of violence, were the very qualities the tribe valued most in its dominant leaders.
We’re also gradually coming to understand the phenomenon of character disturbance within the context of evolutionary history.
Historically, the evidence for a genetic predisposition to APD has come from studies of monozygotic (identical) twins reared apart.
The fact that the twin of an individual with an antisocial behavior history is more likely to show the same kind of behaviors despite being raised in a different environment argues for a genetic predisposition to the disorder.
It’s been established for some time that genes play a significant role in the makeup of those individuals eventually diagnosed with such conditions as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD, sometimes also now termed Dissocial Personality Disorder or DPD).
And while the concepts of psychopathy and sociopathy have been around for a long time, neither has been recognized as an official disorder (although it’s likely that the upcoming revision of the official diagnostic manual will include the key aspects of psychopathy as a variant form of APD).