The Chemistry of Psychopathy


This is the Chemistry of Psychopathy. I chose this topic because I have always liked to learn about how the brain normally functions versus how it functions when the chemicals are not balanced. Approximately, 1% of the world’s population are psychopaths and while that might not seem like a big number that means that about 70,000,000 people in the world are, or lean towards psychopathic tendencies. I feel as though this topic will help people learn about the chemical balances that occur daily in their brain so that they function properly. Most likely, many people at one point or another has wondered what goes on in the brain. This is here to help those people answer that question.

Composition of ...

Main Components -

    • Dopamine (C8H11NO2)
    • Serotonin (C10H12N2O)
    • Oxytocin (C43H66N12O12S2)
    • Endorphins
    • 5-HIAA - 5-hydroxyindoleacetic
  • Homovanillic- breakdown of Serotonin and Dopamine

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


    • How? - Made starting with tryptophan, a building block to proteins.Going through a unique biochemical conversion process.
    • What?- It is a mixture of tryptophan and a chemical reactant, called tryptophan hydroxylase. when mixed they create Serotonin.
    • When?- Everyday Serotonin is being produced inside of your brain. it is being released to constantly steady your Dopamine levels.
    • Why?- Serotonin is produced to help with gut movements and mood stabilizing.
    • Where?- Serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier therefore, it is made inside of the enterochromaffin cells in the GI tract.


    • How?- There are several distinct dopamine transmitters. Dopamine is released in the pituitary gland and is sent through nerve cells to these distinct transmitters. Most rewards cause a bigger release of Dopamine.
    • What?- Dopamine is a made of 3, 4- dihydroxyphenethylamine.
    • When?- Dopamine is also constantly released it serves as your aggressive impulse and mood operator.
    • Why?- Dopamine is a neurohormone that helps you with movement, memory, attention, sleep, mood, pleasurable reward, behavior and cognition
  • Where?- Created in many portions of the brain including the Substantia Nigra, the Ventral Tegmental area and is released by the Hypothalamus.

Chemistry's Role

The chemicals Dopamine and Serotonin are naturally occurring in the brain. Though, they can be man- made in a lab. If someone were to take the extra doses of either chemical, and they were off, even by a slight amount the individual could suffer hallucinations, paranoia, and insanity. These chemicals flow through our brain through neurotransmitters. Dopamine is L-DOPA which itself can be synthesized from an amino acid called Phenylalanine or the non-essential amino acid Tyrosine.

Background Research

The chemical levels in everyone’s brain is different. Though everyone still has the same chemicals being produced. Your brain is always functioning to keep these chemicals in check and stay regulated.


-Definition of Psychopath

-Neurotransmitter function


-Definition of brain functions

-Dopamine and Serotonin

-Alteration in brains of Psychopaths and normal brains

-What the difference actually is

-How the chemicals react to each other

-How they are created in the brain


- How Serotonin is made

- What it consists of

-How it helps the brain function

About the Author

HaLiegh is a junior at Senior High. She enjoys learning about how the brain functions and produces these chemicals so that it can work properly, and efficiently. Next year she will study her research further so that when it comes time for college, she is prepared to learn even more. She has already learned from Psychology and Chemistry about how this complex organ manages to amaze even the most achieved scientists.