Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology & The Work

Pashalis

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Jones said:
Pashalis:

After that he also started to notice that when he says something that he shouldn't say that it robs him energy immediately.
I recognise this sensation at times, and I also recognise the struggle against saying something I perhaps shouldn't. It ain't always easy. Sometimes it wins.

I wonder though if this dynamic works in the opposite way for some? I mean if lying actually energises them instead of de-energising them? Or if it's a contextual thing. For example the lies that people tell in order to protect others from harm? Those that were helping to protect the Jews in Nazi Germany as one thing that comes to mind.
I dunno. I think the best course of action for now is to read those recommend books first and then we will hopefully have a better understanding of what happens exactly and what we can do about it.
 

Echo Blue

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So, I was asked to share my aha! moments while reading "Inside the Criminal Mind". The first realization was how I lied to myself for so many years due to the fact that I blamed my mother for my not getting along with my siblings when we were growing up. But in all honesty, it was my bad attitude and crankyness that caused me to feel isolated.

There are other factors involved, my mom had six children. And being the oldest, I was the designated babysitter. My attitude could've been different but I chose to be irritable and took it out on my mom and sisters. But what affected me so strongly in this aha! moment was all the time I wasted being unhappy and angry about something that I could have done differently.

My sisters and I are very close today. But for a long time I was very resentful about them being close while growing up and I was not part of that connectedness. I had to work very hard at rebuilding my connection with my family. It took a while, but I'm so happy that I was able to make the changes that make me very happy today.

Of course, I could be totally wrong about my aha moment, but it has cleared up these issues from my childhood that were still haunting me today. But I feel like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders. And that I now can stop feeling angry and guilty about the past.

The other aha moment I had was that I have been consciously trying to slow down my thinking especially when I start to feel irritated at not being listened to. What I mean by slowing down my thinking is that I really listen to what the other person is saying instead of thinking about how I'm going to respond. It takes more of an effort on my part, but it has helped me to really hear what the other person is saying and feeling.

I hope whatever makes sense.


Echo Blue
 

whitecoast

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I finished reading Fallon's The Psychopath Inside. I found it amazing that at the end the author concluded that he was a pro-social psychopath... in spite of all the terrible things many people confided to him about how he treated them (and on some occasions, didn't treat them).

I enjoyed reading about how certain brain regions adjudicate certain antagonistic circuits between various brain regions. The most specific examples given relate to the dorsal prefrontal cortex (which according to fallon was about higher cognitive processing and thinking), the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (which is strongly involved in ethics and morality), and the amygdala and hippocampal cortex (which contains more basic animal instincts and emotions). The dorsal prefrontal cortex also mediates between the medial and lateral cortex, which have been linked to processing internal stimuli (like emotions) and external stimuli (the outer world from the senses).

What was also interesting is how Fallon brought up Anthony Jack's ideas in 2012 about how this structure may be in part responsible for our tendency to divide reality into spirit and matter, as well as often animalistic drives and higher moral order. It hearkens back to Collingwood's discussion of the scientific worldview (or philosophical/thinking error), which is in a way really the worldview of the dorsal profrontal cortex in that it makes hard distinctions between abstract universals and their particulars. Maturing into a historical point of view, rather than this capacity for rational dissection viewing itself as the be-all, end-all, the notion that the inner and outer world are separate is dissolved, and in response to this the conflict between morals and instincts is given a better context into which it can situate itself.

I'm into chapter 4 of Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind. So far it's been a little... frustrating to read, espeically after Raine's neurological work. As an example, Samenow argues that "no, peer groups do not turn us into criminals because many people have poor peers who are non-criminals", and he applies this to parents as well. What bothered me the most about the parenting chapter is that all the examples he gave of delinquent children/teenagers represented them as these little black (pandoran) boxes that just consistently outsmarted the ability of caring parents to curb their escalating behavior. He mentions that often psychologists and other authorities blame parents for when children turn out poorly, when (according to Samenow) the blame presumably lies with the child and his thinking errors and drives for certain expressions of power. To me, this isn't really solving the problem but rather passing the buck. It's still a moralistic interpretation imo. But again, I'm only 4 chapters in.
 

Altair

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Echo Blue said:
So, I was asked to share my aha! moments while reading "Inside the Criminal Mind". The first realization was how I lied to myself for so many years due to the fact that I blamed my mother for my not getting along with my siblings when we were growing up. But in all honesty, it was my bad attitude and crankyness that caused me to feel isolated.

There are other factors involved, my mom had six children. And being the oldest, I was the designated babysitter. My attitude could've been different but I chose to be irritable and took it out on my mom and sisters. But what affected me so strongly in this aha! moment was all the time I wasted being unhappy and angry about something that I could have done differently.

My sisters and I are very close today. But for a long time I was very resentful about them being close while growing up and I was not part of that connectedness. I had to work very hard at rebuilding my connection with my family. It took a while, but I'm so happy that I was able to make the changes that make me very happy today.

Of course, I could be totally wrong about my aha moment, but it has cleared up these issues from my childhood that were still haunting me today. But I feel like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders. And that I now can stop feeling angry and guilty about the past.

The other aha moment I had was that I have been consciously trying to slow down my thinking especially when I start to feel irritated at not being listened to. What I mean by slowing down my thinking is that I really listen to what the other person is saying instead of thinking about how I'm going to respond. It takes more of an effort on my part, but it has helped me to really hear what the other person is saying and feeling.

I hope whatever makes sense.


Echo Blue
Thank you! It makes sense for me and I had similar experiences as well with my family. I think that resolving family issues is an important part of "simple karmic understandings", as C's once put it.
 

Laura

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Altair said:
Echo Blue said:
So, I was asked to share my aha! moments while reading "Inside the Criminal Mind". The first realization was how I lied to myself for so many years due to the fact that I blamed my mother for my not getting along with my siblings when we were growing up. But in all honesty, it was my bad attitude and crankyness that caused me to feel isolated.
Thank you! It makes sense for me and I had similar experiences as well with my family. I think that resolving family issues is an important part of "simple karmic understandings", as C's once put it.
Yes, that's exactly the sort of "aha!" moments I had. Some about myself, and some about others, and many that were combinations. I think just about everybody is going to see themselves to some extent. What is most important is seeing how wrong things can go and that it doesn't have to be this way.
 

Beau

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Laura said:
Yes, that's exactly the sort of "aha!" moments I had. Some about myself, and some about others, and many that were combinations. I think just about everybody is going to see themselves to some extent. What is most important is seeing how wrong things can go and that it doesn't have to be this way.
Reading about Yochelson's intense 'mirror' sessions with Leroy was so fascinating, and instructive. He spared no feelings, and he did that seemingly out of a desire to help his criminal patients to change and get better. The amazing thing to me was that he was able to reach some of his criminals and enact change. If there's any reason to feel positive about doing The Work and changing ourselves, just look at the people who were doing horrible things and who we would classify as psychopaths but who were clearly not because they changed their behavior through intense and serious feedback and changing their thinking.
 

Laura

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Beau said:
Laura said:
Yes, that's exactly the sort of "aha!" moments I had. Some about myself, and some about others, and many that were combinations. I think just about everybody is going to see themselves to some extent. What is most important is seeing how wrong things can go and that it doesn't have to be this way.
Reading about Yochelson's intense 'mirror' sessions with Leroy was so fascinating, and instructive. He spared no feelings, and he did that seemingly out of a desire to help his criminal patients to change and get better. The amazing thing to me was that he was able to reach some of his criminals and enact change. If there's any reason to feel positive about doing The Work and changing ourselves, just look at the people who were doing horrible things and who we would classify as psychopaths but who were clearly not because they changed their behavior through intense and serious feedback and changing their thinking.
Yes indeed! If those individuals, with so much more to work against than most people, could make changes, there is no reason that the ordinary person can't do it. But then, as Samenow pointed out, they were motivated by the threat of loss of their freedom. Only after awhile did their motivation arise from within to be a better person. That's why the "Terror of the Situation" or a "bankruptcy" seems to be needed for a person to truly, sincerely, engage in the work. Otherwise, the minute it gets uncomfortable, they back away and, if really pathological, attack those who offer them the only thing that could help turn their lives around. As Gurdjieff says, for such people, there is no worse punishment than that they should be stuck with themselves with no prospects for change.
 

Keit

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Laura said:
Yes indeed! If those individuals, with so much more to work against than most people, could make changes, there is no reason that the ordinary person can't do it. But then, as Samenow pointed out, they were motivated by the threat of loss of their freedom. Only after awhile did their motivation arise from within to be a better person. That's why the "Terror of the Situation" or a "bankruptcy" seems to be needed for a person to truly, sincerely, engage in the work. Otherwise, the minute it gets uncomfortable, they back away and, if really pathological, attack those who offer them the only thing that could help turn their lives around. As Gurdjieff says, for such people, there is no worse punishment than that they should be stuck with themselves with no prospects for change.
At least for me the main challenge in seeing the "terror of the situation" and endless layers of things that still have to be corrected, is that some of them could be permanently damaged, so there is no real prospect in becoming a fully and healthy functioning individual. There is only the "becoming better than before", and even this only after a continuous and conscious effort.

It may seem depressing, and it is sometimes, especially during the down moments. What worked for me is remembering that things could be much much worse if I didn't make the changes. Interestingly enough, it isn't so different from "being motivated by the threat of loss of one's freedom", or one's sanity to be exact. What also works is remembering being grateful, and that it is our personal responsibility as human beings to do the best we can with what is given to us by the Universe. So greater awareness means greater responsibility, and more things we can do if we make the necessary effort.
 

Ant22

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Beau said:
luc said:
I'm currently reading Raine's book (still at the beginning), and I feel the same about him - after Collingwood, at first I thought it will be an easy read, but while it's not very demanding intellectually, there is something deeply disturbing about these topics. Notably, I sense a direct connection between my own shortcomings, my own automatic behavior that may be damaging to others if I'm not aware enough all the time, and the murderous, psychopathic cases discussed in the book. It's really horrific to think about it that way, but there it is - it's the same thing. It's the dark path that lurks behind every little act that we commit if we don't pay strict attention and that we then rationalize away. I guess we need to face this horror, and these books seem to facilitate that greatly.
Indeed, that is similar to what I am noticing while reading Inside the Criminal Mind. That connection you speak of shows that it's not just the criminals in Samenow's case studies who should be worried about their thinking, but all of us. We should all be examining our thinking and behavior which can lead us away from where we want to go. I'd say one of the really important things the book does is give you a really personal terror of the situation, which is something that can be hard to get otherwise. If the book is read in that way not just in a detached way where one is merely reading about criminals 'not like me', I think it can be incredibly useful.
Yes! That! I too found the book pretty shocking to read. It really did a great job in uncovering tons of blind spots and thinking errors I'd otherwise either take ages to discover or I wouldn't have noticed them at all. There is also a sense of relief because it's impossible to work with the "I don't know what I don't know" part. Although there is still loads to discover and work on, I'm glad that now I know a little more than before.

My opinion of my own character and behaviour wasn't exactly positive before I read Inside the Criminal Mind and approached it with a pretty grim assumption that I was about to find out how hopeless my case was. Well, it's not as bad as I feared but it certainly is very far from perfection. Also, reading through other people's experiences was tremendously helpful throughout the process. Without it, rather than looking at the book as an analysis of the Predator's Mind I'd most likely assume it's just me and my own damaged 'machine'.


Laura said:
Altair said:
Echo Blue said:
So, I was asked to share my aha! moments while reading "Inside the Criminal Mind". The first realization was how I lied to myself for so many years due to the fact that I blamed my mother for my not getting along with my siblings when we were growing up. But in all honesty, it was my bad attitude and crankyness that caused me to feel isolated.
Thank you! It makes sense for me and I had similar experiences as well with my family. I think that resolving family issues is an important part of "simple karmic understandings", as C's once put it.
Yes, that's exactly the sort of "aha!" moments I had. Some about myself, and some about others, and many that were combinations. I think just about everybody is going to see themselves to some extent. What is most important is seeing how wrong things can go and that it doesn't have to be this way.
Yup. Same here too. I took notes on the margins of the book that often consisted of names of people (including my own) whose behaviors and attitudes suddenly became clear. Despite being a very intense and shocking read, I read Inside the Criminal Mind in record time. I started reading it on Tuesday and with only one chapter to go I should finish it by the end of this week. I've decided to create a list of traits of Samenow's 'Criminal' which I'm going to print in two copies and stick one on my wall and one in my journal. Given how oblivious I have been to my own manifestations of the 'Predator's Mind and how often I catch myself falling back into old patterns in other areas I may do with some visual reminder. I will be moving on to The Myth of Out Of Character Crime immediately afterwards.

As for "seeing how wrong things can go", it was pretty shocking to read through the descriptions of the criminals having a sense of purposelessness of their own lives, despite their conviction they're unique and special. Then there is their sense of entitlement to pretty much everything including other people, their possessions and attention - and constant anger and frustration when people fail to deliver on their unrealistic expectations. And blaming everything and everyone for one's circumstances, even when they are a result of one's own actions. Of course I'm guilty of these behaviours too but the book made me realise what can happen if those thinking errors are left to grow and take over more and more of the mind. Gosh, what kind of nightmare existence is that?? If this is where this downward spiral of leaving these errors uncorrected is leading then I cannot be more grateful for an opportunity to go in the opposite direction!!


Edit: typo
 

Laura

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Ant22 said:
As for "seeing how wrong things can go", it was pretty shocking to read through the descriptions of the criminals having a sense of purposelessness of their own lives, despite their conviction they're unique and special. Then there is their sense of entitlement to pretty much everything including other people, their possessions and attention - and constant anger and frustration when people fail to deliver on their unrealistic expectations. And blaming everything and everyone for one's circumstances, even when they are a result of one's own actions. Of course I'm guilty of these behaviours too but the book made me realise what can happen if those thinking errors are left to grow and take over more and more of the mind. Gosh, what kind of nightmare existence is that?? If this is where this downward spiral of leaving these errors uncorrected is leading then I cannot be more grateful for an opportunity to go in the opposite direction!!
The extent to which those thinking errors can grow, especially when they involve sexual fantasies, is laid bare in Ressler's "Whoever Fights Monsters". I think this one is pretty important too because it shows where things can end up if the brakes are not applied and the person changes their thinking and stops dissociating.
 

Laura

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whitecoast said:
I finished reading Fallon's The Psychopath Inside. I found it amazing that at the end the author concluded that he was a pro-social psychopath... in spite of all the terrible things many people confided to him about how he treated them (and on some occasions, didn't treat them).
Are you sure about that? I recall him saying that he does NOT think he is a psychopath but rather, that he suffers from bi-polar disorder. Did you read carefully?

whitecoast said:
I'm into chapter 4 of Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind. So far it's been a little... frustrating to read, espeically after Raine's neurological work. As an example, Samenow argues that "no, peer groups do not turn us into criminals because many people have poor peers who are non-criminals", and he applies this to parents as well. What bothered me the most about the parenting chapter is that all the examples he gave of delinquent children/teenagers represented them as these little black (pandoran) boxes that just consistently outsmarted the ability of caring parents to curb their escalating behavior. He mentions that often psychologists and other authorities blame parents for when children turn out poorly, when (according to Samenow) the blame presumably lies with the child and his thinking errors and drives for certain expressions of power. To me, this isn't really solving the problem but rather passing the buck. It's still a moralistic interpretation imo. But again, I'm only 4 chapters in.
Sounds to me like you were pretty interested in the "it isn't the criminal's fault" deal. As I pointed out, Samenow is a welcome antidote to Raine and Fallon; otherwise, no one has any free will!!!

Yes, obviously, SOME people are hopelessly at the mercy of their brain architecture run amok, but that isn't what we are supposed to be thinking about: we are thinking about fairly normal people who don't have serious pathology and who DO have some free will choice.

Another interesting point might be: what if brain disorders are karmically or spiritually caused? That is, what if a seriously STS "soul" incarnates in a body and CAUSES the brain to twist and distort to match the spiritual essence?

So, I guess those who are looking for excuses not to change, Raine and Fallon will give them what they want; for those who are interested in free will potentials, Samenow is the ticket, even if The Work is difficult. As he shows, it can be done.
 

Ant22

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Laura said:
Ant22 said:
As for "seeing how wrong things can go", it was pretty shocking to read through the descriptions of the criminals having a sense of purposelessness of their own lives, despite their conviction they're unique and special. Then there is their sense of entitlement to pretty much everything including other people, their possessions and attention - and constant anger and frustration when people fail to deliver on their unrealistic expectations. And blaming everything and everyone for one's circumstances, even when they are a result of one's own actions. Of course I'm guilty of these behaviours too but the book made me realise what can happen if those thinking errors are left to grow and take over more and more of the mind. Gosh, what kind of nightmare existence is that?? If this is where this downward spiral of leaving these errors uncorrected is leading then I cannot be more grateful for an opportunity to go in the opposite direction!!
The extent to which those thinking errors can grow, especially when they involve sexual fantasies, is laid bare in Ressler's "Whoever Fights Monsters". I think this one is pretty important too because it shows where things can end up if the brakes are not applied and the person changes their thinking and stops dissociating.
Thank you, I just bought a kindle version and I'll read it right after the second Samenow book. Samenow said at the beginning of Inside the Criminal Mind that the book describes extreme examples of these behaviours - and reading about the extremes has so far turned out to be a very useful exercise. The combination of seeing my own traits in those case studies combined with a description of the direction they are leading to is truly one heck of a shock!
 

Divide by Zero

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Laura said:
Another interesting point might be: what if brain disorders are karmically or spiritually caused? That is, what if a seriously STS "soul" incarnates in a body and CAUSES the brain to twist and distort to match the spiritual essence?

So, I guess those who are looking for excuses not to change, Raine and Fallon will give them what they want; for those who are interested in free will potentials, Samenow is the ticket, even if The Work is difficult. As he shows, it can be done.
That brings up the chicken or the egg, which came first?

Was the damage caused by the soul, or

does the damaged brain result in an OP/Authoritarian follower, STS candidate, or STO candidate?

The C's said that STS has been looking to manipulate the harvest and perhaps this is why things have become so unnatural and even toxic in this world. This "predator's mind" could be another chicken or the egg scenario, where the potential of such thinking leads to a future reality of this evolution of STS. The limited free will here involves probability (of having a non damaged brain) and choice of that probability to not conform to the twisted society that is a result of even quite "normal" human traits of preservation of self and lying to oneself (to avoid stress, especially in trying times).

It was funny how Fallon tried to become more empathetic and yet he didn't see the point in many things. He was just acting out what was expected of him to be "a good person".
 

Anthony

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Inside the Criminal Mind can really change how you think, behave and see yourself, others and the world. In a way, it's and antidote to constant self-justifying, and with Samenow one can see why G. emphasized working on stopping self-justifying. It's an obstacle to change. Without giving it up, there is no desire to change, there is no facing the situation as it is, there will only be constant excuses (and both our minds and our societies produce abundance of them), and things will remain as they were, or could get progressively worse.

For me personally, it's a bit shocking to start seeing these thinking errors play out in real life, but they are present in me and in others, usually cloaked under a self-serving narrative. After reading and thinking about what Samenow wrote, I can see that I can make everything much more worse than it really is, and how I have repeatedly done so, but that was my choice at the time, and it doesn't have to be that way, and that takes Work.
 

whitecoast

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Laura said:
whitecoast said:
I finished reading Fallon's The Psychopath Inside. I found it amazing that at the end the author concluded that he was a pro-social psychopath... in spite of all the terrible things many people confided to him about how he treated them (and on some occasions, didn't treat them).
Are you sure about that? I recall him saying that he does NOT think he is a psychopath but rather, that he suffers from bi-polar disorder. Did you read carefully?
I'm reading the 2013 version, and on page 225 he writes
So, am I a psychopath? The categorical answer is no.
But a better answer is that I'm a prosocial psychopath....
Either way, it is revealing how desperate he is to try and re-frame and re-contextualize the conclusions many other witnesses, both expert and casual, came to about him.

With regard to biopolar disorder, Fallon does seem to make allowances for the possibility that he has both on page 181:
Psychiatric conditions often carry with them a phenomenon called co-morbidity. This refers to the presence of other disorders in addition to the primary one in question. So a patient diagnosed... with bipolar or schizophrenia will often have other diagnoses too, such as borderline personality disorder. I don't know anyone who is just a psychopath and nothing else. There's wide overlap between disorders, in the symptoms displayed, the brain areas responsible,and the transmitters involved.

And my psychopathic traits can't be discussed in isolation because other problems shape how they're expressed [some of them can - this is excuse-making]. I'm attractive to people because I'm bouncy and glib and I can bullsh*t my way around [a psychopathic trait]. Well, that energy and fluidity comes from my hypomania [a bipolar trait - so some of the extremes of the behavior seem to come out of an interaction between the two, while some come solely from psychopathy or bipolar].
whitecoast said:
I'm into chapter 4 of Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind. So far it's been a little... frustrating to read, espeically after Raine's neurological work. As an example, Samenow argues that "no, peer groups do not turn us into criminals because many people have poor peers who are non-criminals", and he applies this to parents as well. What bothered me the most about the parenting chapter is that all the examples he gave of delinquent children/teenagers represented them as these little black (pandoran) boxes that just consistently outsmarted the ability of caring parents to curb their escalating behavior. He mentions that often psychologists and other authorities blame parents for when children turn out poorly, when (according to Samenow) the blame presumably lies with the child and his thinking errors and drives for certain expressions of power. To me, this isn't really solving the problem but rather passing the buck. It's still a moralistic interpretation imo. But again, I'm only 4 chapters in.
Sounds to me like you were pretty interested in the "it isn't the criminal's fault" deal. As I pointed out, Samenow is a welcome antidote to Raine and Fallon; otherwise, no one has any free will!!!

Yes, obviously, SOME people are hopelessly at the mercy of their brain architecture run amok, but that isn't what we are supposed to be thinking about: we are thinking about fairly normal people who don't have serious pathology and who DO have some free will choice.

Another interesting point might be: what if brain disorders are karmically or spiritually caused? That is, what if a seriously STS "soul" incarnates in a body and CAUSES the brain to twist and distort to match the spiritual essence?

So, I guess those who are looking for excuses not to change, Raine and Fallon will give them what they want; for those who are interested in free will potentials, Samenow is the ticket, even if The Work is difficult. As he shows, it can be done.
Those are interesting points and perspectives.

I suppose what's valuable about Samenow is that the cognitive approach is directly applicable to everyone in dealing with personal problems both criminal and non-criminal, whereas the works of Raine deal with specifically criminality as a social problem (proscribing nutrition, educational resources for mothers, interventions for high-risk adults, etc.) Since we're dealing with large numbers in society - where you can get trends in genes and environment, etc. But at the personal level there's so much detail in our everyday lives that teasing specific gene-environment interactions out isn't always the most productive thing unless it's in extreme cases (or if you're looking to justify or excuse your lack of interest in changing). Much better to just see where the errors are in the specific context of our day-to-day interactions and correct course (and I would include fixing PTSD as fixing "low-level" system 1 thinking errors). Even Fallon has mentioned he has made efforts to show up to funerals and public engagements when he (gasp) doesn't feel like it - efforts that his family did notice and appreciate. The impression I got was he was sort of using the lateral cortex and the VMPFC to kind of develop a work-around for the shoddy limbic-derived empathy. So even if there are large deficiencies in some brain regions, there seems to be enough neuroplasticity to at least get a person to act pro-social, even if at the cost of tremendous effort and self-denial. I wouldn't say that Raine argues that people don't have free will but rather free will is diminished in some people (in some cases maybe even eliminated? Some souls do leave their bodies before death don't they?) The question of if/how a STS soul distorts the genes of the body to be more prone to selfish behavior sure is a can of worms though.

I'll refrain from commenting further until I've finished both of Samenow's books.
 
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