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Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

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Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby Demon » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:59 pm

I found this article on the website Scientific American and thought it might lead to some interesting discussion here:

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Psychopaths can sometimes be more empathic than the rest of us. This is especially the case in sadistic serial killers. As one senior FBI profiler told Dutton: “Sadistic serial killers feel their victims’ pain in exactly the same way that you or I might feel it. They feel it cognitively and objectively, and emotionally and subjectively too. But the difference between them and us is that they commute that pain to their own subjective pleasure. Studies have also shown that some psychopaths have more ‘mirror neurons’ (empathy brain cells) than normal people.”

They can be more altruistic than the rest of us. Studies have shown that psychopaths are quicker to offer help to people in need than everyday folk.

They don’t take things as personally as the rest of us. Research in the field of neuroeconomics has shown that psychopaths make more money than the rest of us in negotiation games because they are more willing to accept unfair offers.

As well as taking lives, they can also be better at saving lives than the rest of us—especially in knife-edge situations when the chips are down. How would you solve this moral dilemma? A brilliant transplant surgeon has five patients. Each of the patients is in need of a different organ, and each of them will die without that organ. Unfortunately, there are no organs currently available to perform any of the transplants. A healthy young traveler, just passing through, comes in to the doctor’s office for a routine checkup. While performing the checkup, the doctor discovers that the young man’s organs are compatible with all five of his dying patients. Suppose, further, that were the young man to disappear, no one would suspect the doctor. Would the doctor be right to kill the young man to save his five patients? Now imagine how a psychopath might answer the same question.

Psychopaths make really good customs officers. In one experiment Dutton ran, psychopaths were better at picking out people with contraband concealed about their person than were non-psychopaths.

James Bond is a psychopath. A recent study shows that James Bond epitomizes the profile of the successful psychopath: ruthless, fearless, charming, persuasive, non-conformist, extraverted, thrill-seeking, philandering, and decidedly lacking in the conscience department.

—Kevin Dutton
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby justonemoreperson » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:10 pm

That's an interesting article, no arguments here.
I'm not arguing, I'm simply explaining why I'm right.
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby Pseudo » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:36 pm

The altruism and life saving makes sense. Seems like a lot of people are inhibited by what other people will think, personal safety, etc. If somebody is either really compassionate or doesn't care it all, it makes sense that they'd overcome their limitations and just act. Doesn't really match up with the "mirror neurons" part, though. It also doesn't really match up with the psych-community definition of a psychopath. Hm...

So, how many people here who consider themselves psychopathic/sociopathic do anything altruistic for others?

If so, why?
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby ajr8 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:44 pm

Pseudo wrote:So, how many people here who consider themselves psychopathic/sociopathic do anything altruistic for others?

If so, why?


I'm very good with depressed and/or suicidal people. I've talked people out of suicide numerous times now, people become less depressed after being involved with me and I'm a very life affirming person, or at least I seem like it with other people. It seems to be just a natural talent I have, I'm not on a mission to save people or anything, it just happens and besides I wouldn't want people dying around me anyway.
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby Randomnosity » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:04 pm

^ I believe Ted Bundy did that, too.
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby katana » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:19 pm

The altruism part is probably something like "do what seems to make sense in the situation", and it does make sense in that way.

Its also "something to do" which seems an easy/fair deal and they aren't going to get jumped on over - like they would if they decided chopping off heads was how they were going to amuse them self over the next few hours, lol.

Doing stuff that's altruistic can be like doing anything else, it might be interesting, challenging, etc. So in that sense, why not, there's sometimes no reason not to. Personally I've got to say I do have conflict over that sort of stuff at times, and is not always "why not".

I don't know about the mirror neurons part, except unless its something developed trying to combat oxytocin non-responsiveness, which would explain levels being high-non-responsive...

The dr with the patients - if its important to him to save his patients, the traveller may go missing... but though that was being put across as a potential positive to consider, wouldn't most non-psychopaths consider that both horrific and cold ?

The unfair offers thing has been contradicted too i think ? its got to depend what the objective is i reckon, if its to make as much cash as possible i can see a psychopath being more objective, but in other circumstances i though there was a suggestion 'paths are less likely to take unfair offers? I'd say it depends on the objective ?
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby Pseudo » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:08 am

The doctor thin is a classic ethics question, and the first time I heard it, it went something like this:

1) You're a doctor. You have a person that was badly wounded in a car accident. You also have five other people desperately in need of organ transplants. If you do nothing, the person from the accident will die, and their organs will save the lives of the other five people. Do you save the one or save the five?

2) Replace the injured person with a healthy person coming in for a checkup. Now he's not going to die by your inaction alone, so you'd actively have to kill him. Do you save the one or save the five?

Here's another one...

1) A businessman builds a factory on the side of a lake. His environmental team explains to him that building here is good for the environment, but building on the other side of the lake would be better. He says he doesn't care about the environment, only money, and builds his factory. Is he corrupt for only pursuing money?

1) Same scenario, but building the factory is harmful to the environment. Is he corrupt for only pursuing money?

Goes to show how emotion contorts people's perspective of ethics. I'm guessing that most people here get why people would feel differently in the two scenarios from a psychological/intellectual perspective, but do any of you inherently feel different about the two scenarios?
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby Obsidian » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:05 am

Reminds me of an old thread. :­P

James Bond or Ted Bundy?

James Bond or any hitman working for a government, killing because of money, because someone orders the kill.
And lets face it, James Bond doesn't only kill people seeking world domination, he also kills innocent guards that tries to stop an intruder. Guards not knowing what their boss is actually doing, guards with families and friends.
Or soldiers, fighting and killing because their government tells them that the enemy is evil, these soldiers also kills innocent.
Flying over small villages dropping bombs at them while kids run around on the streets kicking cans and play.
Other people that just working on their rice plantation that they have worked on their whole lives gets bombed.

Other killers like muggers, kill a man in order to get his wallet, a phone and a watch.
Gangs killing whole families because one of the families dizzed their gang a few days earlier.

And then we have the serial killer. He was wronged by society, abusive childhood. His mind has been formed by let downs.
Therefore he has formed a killer instinct, he can't stop himself, he has to do it.
A little bit like a Narcissist has to feel superior. Like a Schizoid seeks isolation. A Borderlined person cutting himself. Or like a Histrionic has to get attention.

The serial killer can't stop himself, while the others can, but they do it for greed, pride and Patriotism.

But which of these killers is most feared?
Am I wrong to think that the serial killer is more righteous? :­P
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby wooster » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:29 am

Obsidian wrote:Reminds me of an old thread. :­P

His mind has been formed by let downs.
Therefore he has formed a killer instinct, he can't stop himself, he has to do it.

The serial killer can't stop himself, while the others can, but they do it for greed, pride and Patriotism.

But which of these killers is most feared?
Am I wrong to think that the serial killer is more righteous?

Most of the others are doing it within the realm of reason, ratio and choice (apart from patriots & other idealists), whereas the serial killer is enslaved to the voices in his head ("urges" or whatever you want to call it - delusions, compulsions). He's no master of anything.
That's why he's more feared. Same as you'd fear more a robot or a zombie than someone who's in possession of his own brain.

Righteousness is one of the worst delusions of humankind.
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Re: Some Surprising Things You Never Knew About Psychopaths

Postby Pseudo » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:15 am

wooster wrote:Righteousness is one of the worst delusions of humankind.

This.
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