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Psychopathic Traits

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Identifying children with psychopathic traits can have several advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, this identification allows for children with callous-unemotional traits to be treated at an early age and for the national cost of psychopathy to be reduced. Since mental illness becomes harder to treat the longer it lasts, by detecting it at an early age, an effective treatment approach can be developed. It is very difficult to accurately diagnose children with psychopathy, as there is no set criterion for symptoms. For example, Michael, the young boy referred to in the NY Times article, had visited several doctors, all of whom diagnosed him with varying disorders. By contrast, however, since the cognitive features of a child's
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