How to detect a psychopath? 5 things you didn’t know about this mental disorder

In Killing Eve, the hit TV show on the BBCVillanelle, a psycho assassin, tells Eve, a security agent: “You should never call a psycho a psycho. They dislike that.” Then, she purses her lips, imitating a disgruntled person.

Most people think they know what a psychopath looks like: someone with no feelings. Someone who, as a child, probably tortured animals for fun. But here are five things you probably didn’t know about psychopaths.

1. We are all a bit psychopathic.. Psychopathy is a spectrum, and we are all somewhere on it. If you have ever shown a lack of guilt or remorse, or have not empathized with someone, or have been charming to someone else to get what you want (remember your last job interview?), then you have displayed a psychopathic trait. . Perhaps you act recklessly in certain situations or have taken great risks; all of these are also psychopathic traits.

2. Not all psychopaths are nuts. Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs are typical images of psychopaths in popular culture. While it is true that most serial killers are psychopaths, the vast majority of psychopaths are not serial killers. Psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population and can be productive members of our society.

Their lack of emotions such as anxiety and fear helps them remain calm in frightening situations. In various experiments they have been shown to have a reduced startle reaction. If someone has given you a scare while watching a horror movie, chances are you’ve displayed an “exaggerated startle reaction,” in other words, you’ve jumped out of your seat, and perhaps even screamed. Psychopaths react much less intensely in fear-provoking situations. In fact, they remain calm. This can be a useful trait if you are a soldier, surgeon, or member of the special forces.

Psychopaths can also be very charming (although only on the surface), and have the ability to take risks with confidence, be ruthless, goal-oriented, and make bold decisions. This makes them well suited to settings like Wall Street, the boardroom, and parliament. In them, psychopaths are more likely to break square than to break heads.

While it is true that most serial killers are psychopaths, the vast majority of psychopaths are not serial killers. PHOTO: iStock

3. Psychopaths prefer Sex and the City to The Ingalls Family. You are more likely to find psychopaths in towns and cities. They prefer what psychologists define as a “rapid life history strategy.” That is, they focus on increasing their short-term mating opportunities and increasing their number of sexual partners rather than investing much effort in long-term mating, parenting, and life stability. This strategy is related to greater risk taking and greater selfishness. Likewise, cities offer psychopaths better opportunities to find people to manipulate. They also provide them with greater anonymity and therefore a lower risk of being detected.

4. Psychopathic women are a bit different.. Although male and female psychopaths are similar in many ways, some studies have found certain differences. For example, female psychopaths appear to be more prone to anxiety, emotional problems, and promiscuity than male psychopaths.

Some psychologists claim that female psychopathy is sometimes diagnosed as borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by poor management of emotions, impulsive reactions, and outbursts of anger. This could explain why most studies show that rates of psychopathy are lower among women.

Our most recent research shows that psychopathic women appear to prefer dating non-psychopathic men for the short term, perhaps because they view them as playthings, or so that they can be easily tricked and manipulated. However, in long-term relationships, a psychopathic woman will look for a psychopathic partner. Ultimately, God makes them and they come together.

5. Psychopaths have feelings… well, some feelings.. Although psychopaths show a lack of specific emotions, such as anxiety, fear, and sadness, they can feel other emotions, such as happiness, joy, surprise, and disgust, in a similar way to most of us. Therefore, although it may be difficult for them to recognize fearful or sad faces and are less active in the face of threats and punishment, they can identify happy faces and respond positively when rewarded.

However, while earning a few bucks might make you happy, a psychopath would need a much bigger reward to feel good. In other words, they can feel happy and motivated if the rewards are high enough. Of course, they can also become enraged, especially in reaction to provocation, or feel frustrated when they don’t achieve their goals. So Villanelle is right to some extent. It is possible to hurt the feelings of a psychopath, but they are probably different feelings that will be hurt for different reasons.

Nadja Heim She is a senior professor of psychology at the Nottingham Trent UniversityUnited Kingdom.

This article was taken from The Conversation and reproduced under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in cooperation with Newsweek / Published in cooperation with Newsweek

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How to detect a psychopath? 5 things you didn’t know about this mental disorder