What are the developmental origins of the psychopathic mind? Is psychopathy a genetic condition? Or do people become psychopaths because they have been maltreated? Is it inevitable that someone who displays psychopathic features in childhood will become an adult psychopath? ‘Why do some people become psychopaths?’ outlines what we know so far regarding risk factors for psychopathy and how confident we can be of their causality. It first discusses how twin and adoption studies have demonstrated that psychopathic personality traits are moderately to strongly heritable in children and adults and then looks at the gene–environment correlation. It also considers how atypical feeling and thought processes may develop over time.