First off, this is the NYT Magazine. It's entertainment, not a peer-reviewed research journal. Non-academic publications tend to grossly exaggerate real science to make it sound more interesting.

As with most things, it's nature + nurture. People can have the sort of brain activity found in sociopaths, but not be sociopaths themselves. They had the potential for it, but it was never triggered by environmental factors.

Also, children's brains change so much that it's not appropriate to diagnose them as sociopaths. There's a good chance that they'll grow out of it as their brains mature.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
Um, no, the NYT Sunday mag isn't "entertainment." it's journalism--fact-checked, heavily edited and then copy-edited for accuracy. Obviously it's not a peer-reviewed, academic journal. That's not its function. But it's a highly respected publication. "Grossly exaggerate" isn't tolerated.
Originally Posted by journotraveler
I agree that NYT is journalism. However, I think what Eilowny is referring to is the media's tendency to take one random scientific study and create headlines such as "The cure for xyz" or "Vegetables cause xyz cancer" etc. I've heard many researchers complain about this. The media seems to dismiss the fact that correlation does not prove causation and get people fired up about something that might be nothing.

I wouldn't discredit the whole article just because it isn't an academic journal entry. I read it. It seems well written and well researched (for its purpose) to me. As with all things, I'd just say "consider the source".