Psychopaths are very charming, very manipulative and they don’t care about your feelings. So, what makes them this way? In the video below, three scientists – Kevin Dutton, James Fallon and Michael Stone – briefly explain the major characteristics of psychopathy by examining three dimensions: neurological, social, and criminal.
That power corrupts is true but is only the tip of the iceberg, Brian Klaas argues in the second video below exploring how psychopaths rise to power. A major hidden part of this iceberg is a series of broken systems that attract and promote the wrong kinds of people into power.
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According to Very Well Mind, the term “psychopath” is used to describe someone who is callous, unemotional, and morally depraved. Although not an official mental health diagnosis, it is often used in clinical and legal settings to refer to someone who often is egocentric, antisocial, lacks remorse and empathy for others, and often has criminal tendencies.
Kevin Dutton is a research psychologist at the Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Science, Magdalen College, University of Oxford. James Fallon teaches neuroscience at the University of California Irvine. Michael Stone is a professor of clinical psychiatry at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
In the first video below, Dutton begins by saying: “Psychopaths don’t feel emotions like us. They are masters at pushing those emotional hot buttons that elicit emotions in others, in us. Sympathy being one of the major, major motivators.
Fallon says: “They’re not going to kill you or rape you or maybe even take your money but they’re going to manipulate the situation, make you look bad or use you in some way. Something bad is going to happen and if you sense that, people have a sense that something is wrong with somebody, you walk away. You don’t fight these guys because they’re an intraspecies predator. A human that is a predator on other humans.”
Stone explains that there are several areas in the brain that are very important in social decision-making and moral attitudes. “The interesting thing about the kind of cold-hearted murderers is that [an area of their brain called] amygdalas don’t function properly.”
Fallon explains that another area of the brain involved in inhibiting our behaviour, the orbital cortex, is also “turned off” in a psychopath.
You can read a transcript of the video HERE.
In the video below, Brian Klaas, a political scientist and associate professor at the University of London, explains why psychopaths rise to power. He argues that while the popular phrase “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” is true to a certain extent, the real problem lies in broken systems that attract and promote the wrong kind of people.
In his research, Klaas has found that people who crave power are more likely to self-select into positions of power, resulting in a slate of leaders who are not representative of the general population. He believes that the solution is to design systems that attract better people.
You can read the transcript for the video below HERE.
Featured image: Are psychopaths aware of their condition? Do they care?
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