Tag Archives | psychopaths

How To Live Like A Sociopath

sociopathThe Economist explains that sociopathic tendencies offer opportunity for advancement in contemporary society, and disturbingly points out that economists view sociopathy as the “correct” way to behave. Here’s the self-help guide with tips from M.E. Thomas, a law professor and sociopath:

Assess costs and benefits. Sociopaths, says Ms. Thomas, “are incredibly sensitive to incentive structures and actively consider both actual costs and opportunity costs in their decision-making” (unlike the rest of us, to the disappointment of most economists). “I have always lived in the worst neighborhoods,” Ms Thomas writes. “Rent is cheap and I figure there’s no need for me to pay a safety premium if I have health insurance.”

Disregard unspoken rules. After being hired at an elite law firm, Ms. Thomas exploited her company’s “non-existent” vacation policy by taking long weekends and lengthy vacations abroad. “People were implicitly expected not to take vacations, but I had my own lifelong policy of following only explicit rules, and then only because they’re easiest to prove against me,” she explains.

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Psychopaths Have Empathy Switch

a-clockwork-orange-1971Apparently psychopaths can empathize with other people, they just don’t as a general rule.

Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research.

Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain.

Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up.

Scientists, reporting in Brain, say their research explains how psychopaths can be both callous and charming.

The team proposes that with the right training, it could be possible to help psychopaths activate their “empathy switch”, which could bring them a step closer to rehabilitation.

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The Energetics of Psychopathy

Picture: Anna Bal (CC)

Do you remember the scene in The Green Mile when death row inmate John Coffee is touched by murderer “Wild Bill”? After feeling some powerful negative energy, he says, “You a bad man.”

Are you like John Coffee? Would you know it if you brushed up against a cold-blooded killer? You might if you’re what Dr. Judith Orloff calls an “intuitive empath“.

I began to sense energy emanating from people when I was around 20 or 21 years old.  An interesting thing happens when a person turns 21: The prefrontal cortex of the brain matures. I think that I had always sensed energy around me unconsciously, but at this time I became conscious of it and began to investigate these experiences analytically. When I learned about Chi or Qi energy  in practices like reiki and qi gong, it was not simply an idea I accepted intellectually or on faith: It simply put a name to what I had already experienced.… Read the rest

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Logical Thinking Seems to Negate Empathy

Picture: Grindilu (CC)

Disinfonaughts are likely to be familiar with Jon Ronson’s book “The Psychopath Test”. In a nutshell the acclaimed journalist discovered evidence that suggested being a psychopath is useful if you want to survive in the cold logical world of management and business. (Listen to Jon Ronson on the Disinfocast – ed.) Now PopSci reports on evidence that empathy (a quality missing from the mind of a psychopath) is difficult to maintain when processing purely logical thoughts:

A new study published in NeuroImage found that separate neural pathways are used alternately for empathetic and analytic problem solving. The study compares it to a see-saw. When you’re busy empathizing, the neural network for analysis is repressed, and this switches according to the task at hand.

Anthony Jack, an assistant professor in cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, relates the idea to an optical illusion.

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Looking Behind The Mask Of A Psychopath

The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin‘s intriguing new advice piece (intended for criminal interrogation) on how to communicate with a psychopathic individual:

Psychopaths often appear at ease during interviews that most people would find stressful or overwhelming. Several explanations exist for their apparent lack of concern, including an absence of social anxiety. They seek or create exciting or risky situations that put them on the edge. Their need for stimulation and proneness to boredom means psychopaths often become disinterested, distracted, or disconnected during interviews. A single investigator may not provide sufficient stimulation and challenge.

A psychopath’s inherent narcissism, selfishness, and grandiosity comprise foundations for theme building. Premises used in past successful interviews of psychopathic serial killers focused on praising their intelligence, cleverness, and skill in evading capture as compared with other serial killers. Because of psychopaths’ inflated sense of self worth and importance, interviewers should anticipate that these suspects will feel superior to them.

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