20 Signs That You Are A Psychopath

Jack nicholson the shiningMovie still via jack-nicholson.infoJack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’

Last week, Live Science reported on a new study that revealed psychopaths’ brains may be hard-wired to make them devoid of empathy.

The study looked at 121 inmates at a medium-security prison in the United States. It divided them into groups of highly, moderately, and weakly psychopathic inmates.

(About 23% of inmates are psychopathic compared to 1% of the general population, according to that study.)

Researchers then scanned the inmates’ brains, showed them images of somebody getting hurt, and asked them to imagine another human being experiencing that agony.

Brain areas tied with empathy — the anterior insula, the anterior midcingulate cortex, the somatosensory cortex, and the right amygdala — were activated when less psychopathic inmates imagined others in pain. Not so much for the highly psychopathic inmates.

While this group of inmates had a higher proportion of psychopaths than, say, your office, there are still some psychopaths mingling with the general population, some experts say. British journalist Jon Ronson, who wrote “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry,” has explored the qualities shared by these psychopaths in our midst.

Armed with psychologist Robert Hare’s widely used psychopath diagnostic tool, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), Ronson explored the world of mental health and criminal profiling to understand what makes some people psychopaths.

Want to know where you fall on the list?

You have glibness and superficial charm. (See scoring rubric below. Keep a tally and we'll tell you at the end if you're a psychopath.)

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Grandiose sense of self-worth

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Pathological lying

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Cunning/manipulative

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Lack of remorse or guilt

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Shallow affect/emotional range

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Callous/lack of empathy

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Poor behavioural controls

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Promiscuous sexual behaviour

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Lack of realistic long-term goals

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Impulsivity

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Irresponsibility

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Many short-term marital relationships

Hugh Hefner with his two girlfriends Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt at his birthday party in Munich (2006).

Does not apply: 0 points

Applies somewhat: 1 point

Fully applies: 2 points

Now for the results:

If you scored 0-5 points: You are most likely not psychopathic.

If you scored 6-29 points: You may have some psychopathic characteristics.

If you scored 30-40 points: You are a prototypical psychopath.

Sources: 'The Psychopath Test' by Jon Ronson and minddisorders.com

Now find out other ways to figure out if you're a psychopath ...

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