What Do Psycopaths Do When Not Committing Crimes?
When thinking of the word psychopath, hardly anyone has any good connotations that come to mind. Most people tend to think of some serial killers such as Jeffrey Dhamer or some other criminals that will always stay in the history books. So while it is true that some with the disorder can be alarmingly violent it is believed that it only relates to a minority. The study also suggests that many psychopaths are successful people. What exactly did the findings state? Why have there been so many negative connotations with the disorder and many see those suffering with it as criminals? And just how can this change of outlook help? Read on to find out.
Of course, when most people think of psychopaths, the first thing that comes to the minds of many people is serial killers. And it’s no surprise when people such as Ted Bundy have practically become synonymous with the words “serial killer” and “psychopath.” By many, he was described as very sly and charming, which was a way for him to lure his many victims. Another person that appeared very polite and unassuming, something many come to associate with psychopathy, has been Jefferey Dhamer who killed seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. One criminal, while never having been caught by investigators, who was described as a psychopath by psychologists was the infamous Zodiac Killer who was known for operating in Northern California in the late 1960s. But what exactly is psychopathy and what are the symptoms? Find out on the next page.
What Is Psychopathy?
Before looking more into the findings of the study which suggest that contrary to popular belief, not all psychopaths are criminals, it is first worth knowing just exactly what it is. Of course, it is true that few psychology terms stir up confusion like the word psychopath and while it is often used to describe a person who has a mental illness, that is not an official diagnosis. Its true definition in psychiatry is “antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)” The disorder describes an individual who shows patterns of manipulation and violation to others.
Symptoms Of Psychopathy
According to the American Psychological Association some of the more common symptoms of ASPD include socially irresponsible behavior, disregarding or violating the rights of others, and not being able to distinguish between what is right and wrong. A person who might be suffering from the disorder might also have a bigger tendency to lie more often, have difficulty showing remorse or empathy, and manipulate and hurt others. The last is a characteristic that has for a long time been associated with the aforementioned serial killers. The person might also have recurring problems with the law. But does that mean that every single person who has ASPD has faced those issues? A recent study seems to suggest that might not be the case! Read on to find out!
How Many Psychopaths Are There?
While trying to answer the question, how many psychopaths are there in the world it is difficult to do that for various reasons, such as the fact that not everyone gets diagnosed. The Atlantic has reported that psychopaths make up around 1% of the US population, with the American Psychological Association’s findings revealing that for an unknown reason, males demonstrate higher levels of psychopathic traits than females. As for the question that makes some a psychopath, it can be different things. According to specialists that spoke with the Business Insider, it could be in someone’s DNA or their upbringing could have an impact on whether they become a psychopath.
Why Do People Think psychopaths Are Dangerous?
Of course, as we mentioned at the start of the article, most people when thinking of psychopaths think of criminals and dangerous criminals. One of the reasons for that is the media. Here we do not just mean the movies and TV shows but also the press. Most likely when we hear of someone who is a psychopath it is only the criminals that are reported on. And while there is truth to the notion that psychopathic individuals are more likely than others to commit crimes, it does not mean that all of them are criminals. According to one article on the matter published by The Conversation, this misconception is largely due to researchers who tend to seek psychopaths out where they can locate them in large numbers and that means places such as prisons. But just how successful can psychopaths become in the workplace? Read on to find out.
Successful Vs Unsuccessful Psychopaths
When talking about those with ASPD researchers have separated psychopathic individuals into two groups, “successful” and “unsuccessful”. The successful psychopaths have been those who, for example, might be the CEO or a lawyer while their unsuccessful counterparts are those who might have been convicted of a crime or possess the traits of a person who has been. Some researchers have theorized that those who become successful develop greater conscientious traits which in the end leads to an inhibition of heightened antisocial impulses. The research team from the Virginia Commonwealth University had collected data from around 1356 serious juvenile offenders in Arizona and Pennsylvania and they used this to test their theory. Amon those who re-offended less were labeled as the “successful” offenders, which showed an increase in general inhibitory control as well as the inhibition of aggression over time.
Who Are Some Famous Successful Psychopaths?
Given the researcher's finding, it has had people wondering who those very successful psychopaths are and many have been trying to figure out whether some of the most powerful and rich people in the world could be psychopaths. According to an article by NBC News, as many as 1 in 5 business owners could be psychopaths. Though many names are suggested in online forums under such topics, such as many politicians, the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, it is worth pointing out that these are just speculations of people online and none of these people have come forward. Many results while searching for such names, bring up the names of famous serial killers.
Treatment For Psychopathy
Another asked question is could psychopathy be cured. Not exactly however it may be possible to diminish some of the traits such as sensation-seeking, impulsivity, aggression, and related emotional pain with the help of psychotherapy, and/or neurofeedback. Long-term therapy, which some specialists consider to be at least 5 years, seems effective in some categories of psychopaths.
Are study Findings Helpful In Removing Stigma?
The study which finds that psychopaths are more likely to be successful in their career fields has the potential to remove the stigma around ASPD and who people that there are strengths and positives associated with psychopathy and not just deficits. It shows that it is not a personality trait simply composed of negative facts and shows people that there are many forms that it can take. They can also be useful within clinical and forensic settings, especially when it comes to working on effective and early intervention strategies that could potentially identify the strengths of psychotic individuals, which could lead to deter any anti-social behavior later on in life.
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