Psychopaths have more dreams about sex and murder, according to a new study

  • Psychopaths have more sexual and aggressive dreams than other people, according to a new study.
  • Previous research has shown how psychopaths live fast and often behave impulsively.
  • This lifestyle may seep into their dreams.
  • But having a lot of dreams about sex and murder doesn’t necessarily mean you have dark personality traits.

People with an antisocial personality disorder, like psychopaths, tend to live fast. As well as lacking empathy for others, they are thrill seekers, often finding excitement where others would feel fear.

“Psychopaths are more likely to push the envelope on life… because they lack fear and they lack conscience, and they have this blunting of emotions,” Adrian Raine, a professor of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, told INSIDER.

“If we thought about doing something a little bit scary, we’d get scared. Psychopaths think about it and their autonomic nervous system, part of the body that controls heart rate and sweat rate, that’s not functioning normally.”

According to a new study, published in the journal Imagination, Cognition and Personality, a lifestyle of impulsive behaviour and interest in sex can seep into their dreams.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of Turku in Finland analysed the dreams of 265 people. First, they assessed where they fell on the Dark Triad personality spectrum (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy), then asked them how often they had dreams about violent acts like shootings, or sexual experiences.

They found those with Machiavellianism and psychopathy were more likely to have aggressive dreams, and those with narcissism and psychopathy had more sexual ones.

“It’s important to note that the authors characterise their findings as only an ‘intriguing association’ – having aggressive or sexual dreams does not make a person psychopathic, or narcissistic,” the Cut reports. “Rather, those people already predisposed to those traits are likely to dream about aggression and sex more frequently.”

So if you have a lot of violent or sexual dreams, it’s not necessarily a sign you have psychopathic traits. For that, you’ll need to refer to the Hare checklist, or think about whether you’d push a stranger in front of a train.

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