A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths

Would we vote for a psychopath? I didn’t know we had any other options.

via A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths | Think Tank | Big Think

Psychopaths make up 1 to 2 percent of the American population. That’s around 6,278,000 psychopaths who live among us and use intimidation and manipulation to lord over others. In any organization of at least 35 people, one will be a psychopath. Before you start making boss jokes, take some relief in the fact that these types of individuals likely don’t want to murder you in your sleep.

James Fallon should know. He himself is a psychopath. And as a neurobiologist at UC Irvine, Fallon has made a name for himself decoding the psychopathic brain.

What should we look for to spot a psychopath? One easy method is to ask: Is the person running for office? Yes, politicians rank high on the psychopathic scale. And we continue to vote for them.


26 Comments on "A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths"

  1. emperorreagan | May 12, 2014 at 8:20 am |

    I write myself in for all positions every election. Does that make me a psychopath who is extremely attracted to himself?

    • Simon Valentine | May 12, 2014 at 11:59 am |

      maybe, but less likely than you getting voted in to be a judge

    • Liam_McGonagle | May 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm |

      On the other hand, it does reflect an admirable commitment to getting to know the candidate.

  2. astrofrog | May 12, 2014 at 8:42 am |

    George H. W. Bush and Adolf Hitler did not score highly on the psychopath test?

    • Its all just part of the Rothschild and other elitist Zionist agenda. They are just pawns in this massively complicated chess game that we are pieces of and every move is meticulously calculated.

      • Adamas Macalz | May 12, 2014 at 11:53 am |

        if someone is playing a chess game that large, they are probably not a psychopath. they tend to be impulsive, have almost zero ability to delay gratification, and are poor long term decision makers.

        • When you have networth of trillions and control global politics and resources what sort of gratification do you need when you can buy anything you want? And obviously since they have controlled a large portion of the population for many years obviously they are not poor long term decision makers.

      • Simon Valentine | May 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm |

        “i know the suppositions”
        “therefore i grew wings”

  3. should have included a bit about sociopathy and the differences and similarities between the two.

    • Adamas Macalz | May 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

      what is the difference in your opinion?

      • mannyfurious | May 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm |

        I know you weren’t asking me, but, officially, there are no differences between the two. Psychopathy is not a diagnosis in the DSM. Sociopathy is, and most people sort of use the two terms interchangeably.

        For me, though, there is a difference. The sociopath is much more impulsive and destructive. The psychopath is more calculating and narcissistic. The sociopath wants to inflict pain and suffering on the world. The psychopath wants the world to blow him (or her).

        • Adamas Macalz | May 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm |

          so basically almost all US citizens are psychopaths?

          • mannyfurious | May 12, 2014 at 10:18 pm |

            Well, the psychopath is the national hero, so most of the citizens are actively trying to be psychopaths. However, I believe the spiritual void in this country is due to the fact that you have a bunch of non-psychopaths trying to convince themselves that they are. If you’re honestly a psychopath, screwing people over, being compulsively greedy and selfish, ambitious and self-absorbed doesn’t bother you. Most people though, put a lot of effort into doing such things, and then they find themselves miserable and unfulfilled.

            Basically I’m an optimist.

          • That’s why so many mofos are on all kinds of pharmaceutical antidepressants and various other antipsychotic meds. Trying to “succeed” in a psychopathic system when your are not a psychopath is fucking exhausting and crazy making.

          • mannyfurious | May 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm |


        • from what I’ve read it’s actually the opposite. psychopaths are more impulsive and less likely to be able to plan if they can at all. also psychopathy is hereditary and psychopaths are completely unable to empathize. while sociopathy has an environmental cause and the sociopath can have empathy for family and close relations and can methodically plan.

          • mannyfurious | May 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm |

            Well, what did you read? As I said, there’s not actually a professional distinction between the two, and I have yet to come across any literature that distinguishes between the two. My comment was based on personal experience and observation.

    • pattianne pascual | May 13, 2014 at 10:46 am |

      They are the same.the medical associations are the ones that created the separate term. Probably because of profits.

  4. Simon Valentine | May 12, 2014 at 11:58 am |

    someone fell asleep on the “e tu” script

  5. Simon Valentine | May 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm |

    before you make peace with an enemy
    lay them in the dust

  6. Liam_McGonagle | May 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm |

    The healthy individual must be quarantined away from the sick society.

  7. Ted Heistman | May 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm |

    I have seen this before and I have a problem with this guy’s thesis. He is saying he is genetically predisposed to be a psychopath, but that due to his gentle upbringing the genes were never “turned on” so then why the brain change? Why does his MRI scan show similar patterns as that of a psychopath? If the genes had not been turned on wouldn’t his scan look normal?

    • mannyfurious | May 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm |

      Agreed. And besides all that, defaulting to the genetic explanation always leaves much to be desired. There are probably a handful of people out there who “had the genes” to be gold medalists in the 100-yard dash, but obviously did not do so. Genes are always just part of the story–always.

  8. I don’t know about psychos but I find narcissism to be some sort of schizophrenia, but one where the delusions involve the ego and inflate it creating all those antisocial behaviors. I for one have no idea how people think truly and what really is “sanity”. The only thing I have really is my own mind, and my mind is racing all the time, my prejudices usually govern everything, unless im shocked into realization, or those prejudices fade into something else over my maturation but always narrow focus. Neurology will break the code.

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