Do you work alongside a “successful psychopath”? Science explains how to find out


Apparently they have a solution for everything, they know how to be charming and convincing. Yet even the most unsuspecting colleagues, who hold important positions, could be suffering from psychopathy. Psychologist Scott Lilienfeld, a professor at Emory University, and researcher Ashley Watts wrote for “The Conversation” an article in which they explain how to recognize a “successful psychopath” and how to understand if it is the person who works alongside us.

“There psychopathy it is not easy to define, according to many psychologists it is a personality disorder characterized by a tendency to fascinate others combined with profound dishonesty, insensitivity, lack of guilt and impulsivity – the scholars write -. According to some estimates, 1 percent of the world’s population would suffer from it and, for some reason that is still not completely clarified, men would be most affected by it”. “The data – they add – suggest that the characteristic features of psychopathy ‘lie’, thus some individuals may possess some of them but not fully fit into the category”.

According to Lilienfeld and Watts, despite a certain propensity towards violence and aggression, it is by no means certain that all psychopaths are criminals. On the contrary, many would be successfully integrated into working environments, so as to go unnoticed. Some traits would work to their advantage. Boldness, for example, combining composure and charm together with a tendency to take risks and a certain emotional resilience, could push them towards leadership positions. As well as charisma and audacity. But that same boldness could also translate into a craze for control, aggressive and impulsive behavior or a tendency to look only at one’s own interests.

“The Idea of ​​Psychopathy by success it is controversial, but it is not new – the psychologists continue – Already in 1941, the American psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley had underlined this paradox in his book ‘The Mask of Sanity’. According to him, the psychopath is a hybrid creature, who wears a mask of normality that hides an emotional impoverishment and a deeply disturbed core. In his eyes, psychopaths are charming, self-absorbed, dishonest, guilt-free, and ruthless people who live their lives avoiding deep interpersonal relationships.” , on the other hand, to forge successful relationships, both at a relational and employment level. In the short term.”

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Do you work alongside a “successful psychopath”? Science explains how to find out