Hannibal lecter is probably the most famous fictional Psychopath known today.Jack the Ripper a historical Psychopath was “Many people suggest the Ripper was a psychopath because he was smart enough to ensure no clues were left behind, he was never caught and was most likely regarded as charming and gentlemanly in society.” (end quote). What is the personality of a Psychopath?
When I started to investigate this simple question there is a mountain of information on the subject but still no simple straight answer. In the back of my mind I have this book title “My father was a Psychopath” maybe I’m destined to write a book on the subject. I am fascinated from a behaviour perspective on how the brilliant mind of these individuals are different from the rest of society. They “estimate that just less than 1% of all noninstitutionalized males aged 18 and over have psychopathy” in the United States.
The Psychopath Whisperer: Inside the Minds of Those Without a Conscience Book by Kent Kiehl was an excellent audio book I listened to last year. It’s definitely a read if you’re interested in the science and the history of actual killers. The word Psychopath is not actually a medical term that medical practitioners use to describe a patient. The main reason it is not recognised because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a Book by American Psychiatric Association labels it as antisocial disorder instead. I’m sure you agree if your neighbour was a Psychopath and murdered his work colleagues it is not very socialable.
Psychopath is a mental disorder and diagnosis and treatment of any modalities is not an easy task. The Big Five Inventory (BFI) help to discover some of the Psychopath personality traits. Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. There are other tools to underpin a person behaviour. The BFI is used to score individuals
Hare Psychopath Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) “The PCL-R comprises twenty items that are used to assess the presence of psychopathic traits in adults”(end quote) This is a partial report to assess a likely Psychopath because with all mental disorders , the histories of the patient gives vital clues. Below is a checklist of Hare List
• glib and superficial charm
• grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
• need for stimulation
• pathological lying
• cunning and manipulativeness
• lack of remorse or guilt
• shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
• callousness and lack of empathy
• parasitic lifestyle
• poor behavioral controls
• sexual promiscuity
• early behavior problems
• lack of realistic long-term goals
• failure to accept responsibility for own actions
• many short-term marital relationships
• juvenile delinquency
• revocation of conditional release
• criminal versatility
In the list the lack of empathy jumps out to me personally as I believe the world would function better in the workplace , in the family and with friends with this super quality. Studies show that some Psychopaths do have some empathy but it is restrictive. The complexity of human behaviour is fascinating but science and Psychology and neuroscience are making progress.
In conclusion on my search for the signs of a Psychopath is not a quick fix approach. Discovering and understanding a Psychopath is very often too late because of their brilliant mind.