Psychopathy of 1,800 prisoners leads to novel diagnostic tool for criminals and non-criminals alike

first_imgShare on Twitter Email After a large-scale research project involving hundreds of prisoners at maximum security jails, a psychologist at the University of Huddersfield has developed a new method for assessing psychopathy.Dr Daniel Boduszek’s aim was to devise a scale that would grasp the essence of psychopathy, without being influenced by the subject’s background characteristics, including criminal history.  Psychopaths – marked out by traits such as manipulativeness and egocentricity – exist and can flourish in many areas of life, such as business.Therefore there is a need for what Dr Boduszek describes in a new article as a “clean personality measure of psychopathy uncontaminated with behavioural items”.  This would “enable researchers to extend the construct to all populations regardless of criminal history”. LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Share Share on Facebook So, although Dr Boduszek and his co-researchers conducted their study among 1,794 prisoners at ten prisons, the criminality and anti-social behaviour of the volunteer participants was not a factor when they were asked to give their levels of agreement to the 20 statements that are part of the Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS).  This has been devised by Dr Boduszek, who is Reader in Criminal Psychology at the University of Huddersfield.The full list of statements in the PPTS – a “self-report scale” – is given in the new article by Dr Boduszek and his co-researchers that is newly-published in the Journal of Criminal Justice.They include: “I don’t care if I upset someone to get what I want”; “I tend to focus on my own thoughts and ideas rather than on what others might be thinking”; “Seeing people cry doesn’t really upset me”; “In general, I’m only willing to help other people if doing so will benefit me as well”; “I sometimes provoke people on purpose to see their reaction”.The purpose of the newly-developed PPTS is to place the emphasis on the core factors that were first described in the 1940s by the influential US psychologist Hervey M. Cleckley, author of The Mask of Sanity: An attempt to clarify some issues about the so-called psychopathic personality.One of the priorities when developing the new scale was to ensure that egocentricity is fully tested.  This was one of Cleckley’s key criteria but it “has been largely neglected in psychopathy assessment research to date”, according to Dr Boduszek.He is Polish-born, and before switching to an academic career he worked as a psychologist in prisons, including maximum-security correctional units.  His contacts helped him to organise the large-scale trial of PPTS when 2,000 prisoners in ten maximum security prisons in Poland were invited to participate.  Almost, 1,800 agreed to do so, and Dr Boduszek ensured that there was a spread of offenders – they ranged from murderers and sexual predators to people who had committed non-violent crimes.As a means of validating the PPTS and measuring its success, the participants also completed six other personality-assessment scales that are in use.  In his article, Dr Boduszek gives a detailed description of the methodology and the outcome and argues that his psychopathy model is represented by four distinctive factors, including affective responsiveness, cognitive responsiveness, interpersonal manipulation, and egocentricity.  He also emphasised that psychopathy should not be studied without controlling for the level of intelligence.He concludes that “this brief measure of psychopathic traits uncontaminated with behavioural items can be used in the same way among participants with and without criminal history”.There will be further development and testing of the PPTS, and Dr Boduszek is hoping to carry out research in UK and US prisons and among the general population. The goal is to develop a diagnostic tool that could have its most practical application within prisons – for example, as a way of identifying inmates with increased psychopathic traits to suggest the most appropriate therapeutic interventions for such individuals.The article Introduction and validation of Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale in a large prison sample, by Daniel Boduszek, with Agata Debowska, Katie Dhingra and Matt DeLisi, appears inJournal of Criminal Justice.last_img read more

Read more

With mini-vessels, mini-brains expand research potential

first_imgScientists have recently made a wondrous variety of mini-brains — 3-D cultures of neural cells that model basic properties of living brains — but a new finding could add to the field’s growing excitement in an entirely new “vein”: Brown University’s mini-brains now grow blood vessels, too.The networks of capillaries within the little balls of nervous system cells could enable new kinds of large-scale lab investigations into diseases, such as stroke or concussion, where the interaction between the brain and its circulatory system is paramount, said Diane Hoffman-Kim, senior author of the study in The Journal of Neuroscience Methods. More fundamentally, vasculature makes mini-brains more realistic models of natural noggins.“This is exciting because real brains have vasculature,” said Hoffman-Kim, an associate professor of medical science and of engineering at Brown. “We rely on it. For our neurons to do their thing, they have to be close to some blood vessels. If we are going to study lab models of the brain, we would love for them to have vasculature, too.” Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twitter LinkedIncenter_img Share Email Making the most of mini-brainsEspecially because scientists can make them by the hundreds, mini-brains hold promise not only for advancing medical and scientific research, but also for doing so with less need for animal models. Hoffman-Kim’s lab first described its mini-brain method in 2015. While the engineered tissues appeared relatively simple compared to some others, they were also relatively easy and inexpensive to make.But what had remained unnoticed at the time, even by the inventors, was that the little 8,000-cell spheres cultured from mouse cells were capable of growing an elementary circulatory system.Only as members of the lab including lead author and Brown Graduate School alumna Molly Boutin continued to work with and study the mini-brains did they discover that after about day three of culture, about two-thirds of the mini-brains had grown networks of non-neural tissue. Closer inspection revealed that these tangles of spaghetti were self-assembled (i.e. they just grew) tubes made of the cells and proteins found in blood vessels.The new study features a wide variety of imaging experiments in which staining and fluorescence techniques reveal those different cell types and proteins within the mini-brain spheres. The study also documents their integration with the neural tissues. Cross-sections under a transmission electron microscope, meanwhile, show that the capillaries are indeed hollow tubes that could transport blood.Of course, there is no blood in a tiny mini-brain, Hoffman-Kim said. They exist in an agarose wellplate, not in a living animal. But she’s currently working with a colleague at Brown to design a way to connect the mini-brains with a microfluidic apparatus that could produce an external source of circulation through a mini-brain.“We’ve sketched on a few napkins together,” she quipped.The capillary networks are not as dense as they would be in a real brain, she acknowledged. The study also shows that they don’t last longer than about a week or two.New researchAware of both their constraints and their potential, Hoffman-Kim’s lab has already started experiments to take advantage of the presence of vasculature. Study second author Liana Kramer, a Brown senior, has begun looking at what happens to the vasculature and neural cells when mini-brains are deprived of oxygen or glucose. Later that same test bed could be used to examine the difference that different drugs or other treatments make.Vasculature is particularly important not only because it delivers oxygen, glucose and medicine to brain cells, but also because research shows that in strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury, the brain sometimes attempts to redesign its vasculature to compensate for what’s happening to it. The mini-brains could allow researchers to observe such responses amid different lab-created conditions and treatments, Hoffman-Kim said.“We can study a range of injury conditions, several drugs that are being tested and several conditions — such as stroke and diabetes — together,” she said.last_img read more

Read more

WAS LEWIS CARROLL ON CRACK?

first_imgOne of the great challenges of being a parent or a grandparent comes around this time of year, when every grade school and high school puts on a play or musical.I don’t have to tell you about the joy of seeing your own flesh and blood standing there on stage, desperately trying to remember their lines.Sadly, this thrill lasts for only a few minutes. Then comes that moment when you realize your incredibly talented child’s one big line or one big song is over and now you have to listen to all these other little kids who, frankly, have no place on the stage compared your child or grandchild who, with a little luck, can easily go on to become the next Justin Bieber or Lindsay Lohan, minus the drugs, drinking, tattoos, and shoplifting, of course.My own career on the school stage came to a disastrous end when I was eight years old. I was, naturally, a child prodigy, and I played the mandolin. Every little Italian boy played the mandolin in those days, unless he was blind, in which case he played the accordion.I was given the honor of playing for the assembly at PS 95. My job was to sit alone on the stage playing “Pomp and Circumstance” on the mandolin while the entire student body of the school marched down the aisle to their seats.So there I was, sitting and waiting for the music teacher to hit the two chords on the piano, which was my cue to start playing, when I started daydreaming. The teacher, old fat Miss Rossman, kept hitting the same two chords, and I was just staring straight ahead. Then, when I realized it was time to play, I froze.Finally Miss Rossman heaved her 260 pounds onto the stage, where she forcibly removed me by pulling me by the arm, and then she dashed back down to the piano to play the students in. I was the laughingstock of the third grade.However, my disgrace on the stage of PS 95 pales in comparison to the worst school play experience of my life.That came a number of years ago when I was summoned by my daughter to view a command performance by two of my grandchildren in a school production of the much-hated Alice in Wonderland.Do you know a single human being who ever liked Alice in Wonderland? When you talk about over-rated pieces of doo-doo, Alice has to be on the top of everyone’s list.And yet, since 1865, when it was first written by Lewis Carroll (while he clearly was on crack), we have had the “Alice in Wonderland Conspiracy,” which has been passed on from parent to child.Every child comes out of the womb hating Alice in Wonderland, but from the moment they are born they are force-fed the Alice treatment. They get started with musical mobiles spinning Alice characters above their cribs. They are read to sleep by the Golden Book version of the book . . . they watch Alice cartoons . . . they are forced to sit through Walt Disney’s interminable flop version. As they mature, they realize they’re bored, but they don’t want to break their parents’ hearts and tell them that this so-called classic is a stiff.Then they grow up and have children of their own and what do they do? They inflict this moronic, confusing book on their own children. And if that’s not bad enough, every once in a while some jerk in the movie business or one of the networks takes a shot at boring the entire nation with still another version of Alice in Wonderland.There’s even been a porno version, and I will bet the next porno version of Alice will star Stormy Daniels as Alice, and guess who will play the Mad Hatter?So there I was, sitting alone in this loud high school auditorium filled with giddy parents warmly greeting their neighbors with a sweet sincerity that you can only find in the suburbs. The show was produced by a sadistic music teacher, who got up and talked about the wonders of Alice in Wonderland.When the show started, it was beyond boring. From 20 feet away every school kid looks alike, so I had no idea which of the kids were my talented grandkids and which were some other grandparents’ creepy untalented grandchildren.Every second was an hour. “This is a nightmare,” I thought. “This will never end. I’m going to die here.”A minute/hour later, the thought of death began to grow on me.I can just see those headlines: “Kindly Old Granddad Dies Happy While Watching Grandkids Perform in Alice in Wonderland” in the Daily News.The New York Post’s headline would be, “Was It Murder in Kiddy Theater?” with the subhead, “Did the Mad Hatter Run Amok?”Finally, after what seemed like a month, the lights came up and many of the parents and grandparents gave the performance a standing ovation. One of my legs was lucky enough to have fallen asleep during the dreary show, so my getting up to applaud the piece-of-dreck show was a nightmare. Many mistook my tears of relief for tears of joy.A note for grandparents who are going to be snookered into attending a grandchild’s show this year. Here’s a tip on how to make the show move along once the lights in the auditorium are dimmed:Purchase at least 20 little airline-sized bottles of vodka, which you can hide in your pockets and shoes. It’s best that husbands and wives work as a team. Grandpa can open the bottle, take a slug and pass the bottle on to Grandma. Grandma can finish off the bottle with one swig and then hide the empty bottles in her purse. I promise, a great time will be had by all. And you can tell your grandkids that you were so filled with emotion by their great performance that your speech became slurred.If you wish to comment on “Jerry’s Ink” please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com. Sharelast_img read more

Read more

West knows best

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Read more

API: exports strengthen US global position

first_imgPress Release, August 8, 2014; Image: Dominion Trade report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows American energy exports are revitalizing the economy and shifting the balance of power around the world, said API Chief Economist John Felmy.“Domestic oil and natural gas production helped drive record exports last year, and our ability to impact global markets continues to grow,” said Felmy. “But America’s potential as an energy superpower remains limited by outdated trade restrictions that prevent more U.S. oil and natural gas from reaching global markets. Lifting these barriers will mean more jobs and a more powerful position – both economically and diplomatically.”Felmy continued to say, “Already, innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have allowed U.S. energy exports to put a major dent in the trade deficit. Today’s reports show that exports of crude oil and petroleum products are up more than $1.2 billion from the same month last year, to $12.7 billion. For the year to date, the total trade deficit for crude oil and petroleum products is down $20.4 billion from the same period last year.”If policymakers act now to allow free trade, U.S. energy exports can further reduce the impact of unrest overseas and limit the influence of foreign suppliers that dominate other markets. And studies show that American crude oil exports will promote higher energy production and put downward pressure on prices for consumers.“By acting now, we can send a major signal to world markets that competitors overseas cannot ignore. Congress and the administration must act quickly to accelerate Department of Energy approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects and lift 70’s-era restrictions on crude oil exports,” concluded Felmy.last_img read more

Read more

IADC Facts About: Selecting a Destination for Dredged Material

first_imgThe International Association of Dredging Contractors (IADC) has just released a new ‘Facts About’ publication named ‘Selecting a Destination for Dredged Material‘.‘Facts About’ is a series of concise, easy-to-read leaflets which give an effective overview of essential facts about specific dredging and maritime construction subjects.Each leaflet provides a kind of ‘management summary’ for stakeholders who need a quick understanding of a particular issue.One of the first areas of concern when executing a dredging project is always “what will be done with the dredged material?” Every dredging project should take into consideration the final use or destination of the sediment that will be excavated.Failing to examine this prior to starting a project has led to many conflicts, protests and legal delays. The misunderstandings arise quite often from a lack of knowledge of what dredged material actually is.The nature of the project, the characteristics of the dredged material and the accessibility to placement sites are all factors to be considered early on.These factors will guide decisions about the total costs of the project.The type of material, the potential use of the material, the distance to a suitable placement site, the mode of transportation to the placement site, the possibility of dredged material treatment – all these aspects have financial and environmental consequences.last_img read more

Read more

Chapman Freeborn wins top cargo charter award

first_imgGeorge Mikhailov, manager of Chapman Freeborn’s China team, collected the award on behalf of the company’s worldwide offices at a ceremony in Shanghai attended by leading figures from the cargo aviation industry. During the last 12 months, in addition to day to day work for freight forwarders and logistics providers, Chapman Freeborn has been involved in providing support for the earthquake disaster in Haiti and notably used the Antonov 225, the world’s largest fixed-wing aircraft, for the first time on an operation in South America, to transport four pieces of oil and gas equipment totalling almost 150 tonnes from Houston to Sao Paulo.last_img

Read more

Mammoet heats up in Texas

first_imgDue to limited available space in the refinery to lay down the boom and jib of Mammoet’s CC8800 crawler cranes, the heavy lift specialist constructed the two cranes in mid-air.The east CC8800 jib was installed while suspended in the air by two cranes, while the west CC8800 jib and the main boom were assembled in mid-air above inactive pipe racks.Once completed, the two CC8800 cranes lifted more than 50 components over several months.www.mammoet.comlast_img

Read more

Dominica condemns recent missile launch by North Korea

first_img Share 294 Views   one comment Share Tweet Sharing is caring!center_img Share LocalNewsPolitics Dominica condemns recent missile launch by North Korea by: Dominica Vibes News – February 10, 2016 An image obtained by Yonhap News Agency show a ballistic missile believed to have been launched from underwater near Sinpo, on the northeast coast of North Korea on May 9.(Photo: KCNA via European Pressphoto Agency)The Dominican government has joined global condemnation of the recent missile launch by North Korea.Reports from South Korea’s defence ministry and Japanese media indicates that North Korea “appears to be preparing to launch a long-range missile” as activity has been spotted at a launch station on the west coast of the isolated nation. This follows North Korea’s fourth nuclear bomb test on 6 January 2016.Last week Pyongyang announced it was planning to launch a satellite at some point in February; which was internationally condemned as critics say it is a cover to test banned missile technology. UN sanctions against North Korea prohibit it from carrying out any nuclear or ballistic missile tests.In a brief statement on 7 February 2016, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Dominica “lends it’s voice in support of global condemnation of the recent missile launch by North Korea”.“Dominica was fully supportive of the stance taken by the United Nations Security Council in roundly condemning the action and calling on North Korea to cease violation of agreed codes of security and conduct”.Mr. Skerrit said any such launch or threat of launch, has serious implications for world peace, and the ramifications could be severe for all humanity.“Long range missiles, rockets, whatever name you wish to ascribe them, is no laughing matter. This is a serious development that calls for global action and reaction‎ to send a clear message to North Korea that the civilized and peace loving world has had enough,” Mr Skerrit said.“The government of Dominica calls on the members of the United Nations Security Council, the authorities in North Korea and the wider membership of the United Nations, to do all in their power to bring North Korea into conformity with relevant UN resolutions, in particular, and international law in general,” the statement concluded.last_img read more

Read more

R&S Solution Protects Austria’s Air Show Against Threats from Drones

first_imgRohde & Schwarz safeguarded Austria’s AirPower 2016 air show against the security risk of commercial drones encroaching on the show’s airspace. This was accomplished using the R&S ARDRONIS radiomonitoring solution that enables users to identify drone control signals early on, to locate and even stop the drone.Remote control microdrones are constantly invading the privacy of individuals and violating the boundaries of protected areas. These flying objects pose a safety risk at airports where they interfere with air traffic flow and a security risk at major events. At an air show, both of these are a factor, as any disruption of the closely timed take-offs and landings can represent a danger to event participants and spectators alike. To counteract such a risk, the Austrian Armed Forces relied on the R&S ARDRONIS radiomonitoring system. Working in cooperation with Rohde & Schwarz, AirPower 2016 was the first event to operate a test setup tailored to these special requirements.R&S ARDRONIS enables users to locate the operator of a remote controlled microdrone and intervene in a timely manner. Remote controls for microdrones usually operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz ISM band, but also in other frequency bands such as 433 MHz or 4.3 GHz. This solution monitors the signals in the relevant frequency bands. It maintains an extensive library of drone control signal profiles in order to detect and classify these types of signals. It reliably and automatically detects the remote control of a commercial drone within a 1 km radius.The R&S ARDRONIS system used at AirPower 2016 was additionally equipped with direction finding functionality. The direction information obtained can be used to find the person with the remote control. If the drone transmits a video downlink, this signal will also be located. The information is clearly shown on a map on the display.Other options are available for R&S ARDRONIS. For example, it can disrupt specific drone control signals to prevent the drone from performing a maneuver that poses a safety threat. Only the signals for controlling the drones are disrupted. Other signals in the vicinity are not affected. In contrast to broadband interferers that affect the entire frequency band, the ISM band continues to be available for other services such as Bluetooth or WLAN, or to control private drones.last_img read more

Read more