Understanding Psychopathy: The Biopsychosocial Perspective, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Understanding Psychopathy

The Biopsychosocial Perspective, 1st Edition

By Nicholas D. Thomson


184 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138570733
pub: 2019-04-11
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Understanding Psychopathy is an essential, accessible new guide on psychopathy and its development. Through the lens of the biopsychosocial model, Thomson explores a wide range of factors contributing to the development of psychopathy, from the genetic to the environmental, supported by the latest research into the disorder.

Thomson examines psychopathy from all angles, analysing social, psychological and biological factors, in addition to the history and assessment of psychopathy, and links to violent crime. Theory and research are supported throughout with fascinating case studies. These case studies provide accessible and relevant examples for readers who are new to the field, and to those more familiar with psychopathy and its implications.

Understanding Psychopathy is a brilliant resource for psychology students, researchers and practitioners in the criminal justice system alike, with grounding in forensic psychology, clinical psychology and criminology.


"In the last 20 years, studies investigating psychopathy have increased exponentially. Several theoretical frameworks have been developed focusing on either social, psychological or biological explanations. Yet, there is a great deal of controversy and lack of replication among existing studies. If we manage to consider the unique and interactive influences among biological, psychological and social influences, as argued in this book, we may begin to offer a better explanation of the complicated phenomenon of psychopathy. Psychopathy is an exciting area of research, and Thomson offers an in-depth expert analysis of the latest research on the biopsychosocial mechanisms of psychopathy, providing an excellent resource for researchers and clinicians alike." - Dr. Kostas Fanti, PhD., Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Cyprus and Director of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab.

"Thomson provides us with a highly readable volume on the multifarious nature of psychopathy. Having done the exhaustive scientific leg-work, he presents the evidence for a biopsychosocial understanding of psychopathy, and thus provides the topology, the banks of the river so to speak, for beginning the challenging journey of tracing the inter-connected multi-causal nature of this personality disorder. It may help address one of the most puzzling questions regarding the link between covert antisocial features of the disorder (deceitful, callous, manipulation of others) and the more overt features (impulsive, reckless, aggression), which can precede the covert features, and that both are components of a broad genetic factor." - Dr. Craig Neumann, PhD., Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at the University of North Texas.

"Understanding Psychopathy provides a comprehensive review of the development and causal links of psychopathy. By integrating the latest research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, the book extensively considers psychopathy from a biopsychosocial perspective. Thomson delivers an accessible and compelling resource for forensic practitioners, researchers, students, and laypersons." - Dr Annette McKeown, PsyD., Principal Forensic Psychologist, Kolvin Service UK.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Psychopathy and the Biopsychosocial Model

Chapter 2: History and Assessment of Psychopathy

Chapter 3: Psychopathy and Violent Crime

Chapter 4: Genetics and the Environment

Chapter 5: Biological Factors

Chapter 6: Psychological Factors

Chapter 7: Social Factors

Chapter 8: The Biopsychosocial Model of Psychopathy

About the Author

Nicholas D. Thomson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Program Evaluator for the Injury and Violence Prevention at VCU Health Trauma Center, and Honorary Fellow at the University of Durham. He is an accredited psychotherapist by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and has over a decade of clinical experience working in prisons and inpatient settings in both the US and UK, and currently runs a private practice. Formerly, he was the module leader at the University of Durham for the Forensic Psychology and Psychopathy programs, and taught Abnormal Psychology.

About the Series

New Frontiers in Forensic Psychology

New Frontiers in Forensic Psychology brings together the most contemporary research in core and emerging topics in the field, providing a comprehensive review of new areas of investigation in forensic psychology, and new perspectives on existing topics of enquiry.

The series includes original volumes in which the authors are encouraged to explores unchartered territory, make cross-disciplinary evaluations, and where possible break new ground.

The series is an essential resource for senior undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and practitioners across forensic psychology, criminology and social policy.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Applied Psychology