Studies on young children have identified a genetic link for some such disorders, but environmental factors also have an effect

Humans have succeeded as a species in large part because of our ability to cooperate and coordinate with each other. These skills are driven by a range of “moral emotions” such as guilt and empathy, which help us to navigate the nuance of social interactions appropriately.

Those who lack moral emotions are classed as having “callous-unemotional” traits: persistent personality characteristics that make negotiating social situations difficult. The combination of callous-unemotional traits and antisocial behaviour in adolescents and adults is typically diagnosed as psychopathy.

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Read More Nature or nurture: unravelling the roots of childhood behaviour disorders

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