Tag Archives | sociopaths

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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Are Shooting Spree Killers Following A Cultural Script?

Via the Public Library of Science, Daniel Lende on the need to understand horrific mass shooting as a cultural practice with underlying meaning, rather than as anomalous, randomized insanity:

Paul Mullen, the esteemed Australian forensic psychologist, invokes cultural scripts as central to understanding why young men like James Holmes, Anders Breivik, and Jared Loughnerdo what they do. It is not because they are insane, some idea that seized them from the inside. Rather, they act out something – and the young men who do so are not random members of society, but have definable characteristics.

Mullen compares these mass killings to the Malaysian amok, a recognized “culture-bound syndrome” often defined as a “spree of killing and destruction (as in the expression “run amok”) followed by amnesia or fatigue.” (For more references, [search] Google Scholar for “amok Malaysia”.

Mullen also counters the common explanation in the United States and elsewhere that these killers must somehow be insane or mad.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Adam Lanza’s DNA To Be Studied In Search Of ‘Killer’ Genes

If certain mutations or abnormalities are blamed for Lanza’s actions, what will we do with other individuals who possess them? The Christian Post reports on a possible preview of witch hunting in the 21st century:

An “Adam Lanza DNA study” has been given the go ahead to see if there is anything inside his genetic makeup that could have given any indication of the horrific acts he was capable of ahead of time.  The study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, is expected to delve into Lanza’s DNA in the hope of finding any kind of genetic abnormalities or mutations in his DNA.

The study has been commissioned by Connecticut Medical Examiner, H. Wayne Carver, who has reached out to geneticists at the University of Connecticut to carry out the study. It is expected that the geneticists will analyze his entire genome in huge detail to try and find any mutations.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

On Why We Love Sociopaths

340x_screen_shot_2010-11-03_at_6.28.33_pmWhat does the ascendance of the sociopath as a pop culture figure mean? The New Inquiry on our ever-growing fascination with “disconnected” characters:

My greatest regret is that I’m not a sociopath. I suspect I’m not alone. I have written before that we live in the age of awkwardness, a strong case could be made that we live in the age of the sociopath. They are dominant figures on television, for example, and within essentially every television genre. Cartoon shows have been fascinated by sociopathic fathers (with varying degrees of sanity) ever since the writers of The Simpsons realized that Homer was a better central character than Bart. On the other end of the spectrum, the flagships of high-brow cable drama have almost all been sociopaths of varying stripes: the mafioso Tony Soprano of The Sopranos, the gangsters Stringer Bell and Marlo of The Wire, the seductive imposter Don Draper of Mad Men, and even the serial-killer title character of Dexter.

Read the rest

Continue Reading