What is Psychopathy?

Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders to spot. The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal. They are an object of popular fascination and clinical anguish: psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment.

It is important to note that the vast majority of people with antisocial tendencies are not psychopaths.

Recent Posts on Psychopathy

Myths and Facts About Psychopaths

Psychopaths have gotten popular, but where can we find info we can trust?

How Many Victims to Come, How Many Himizu's to Surface?

By Jay Richards Ph.D. on June 24, 2015 in The Violent Mind
Exploring the racism, psychopathy, and schizophrenia of Dylann Roof from a clinical psychology perspective.

Identifying The Next Mass Murderer—Before It’s Too Late

By Joe Navarro M.A. on June 21, 2015 in Spycatcher
We average 20 mass murders a year—what can be done?

Hacking Hatred — What Drives People to Hate and Kill

Hacking hatred and what drives someone to hate and then to kill

Diagnosing and Managing Criminal Psychopaths

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on June 15, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Criminologists, forensic psychologists and FBI profilers consider psychopathy to be the most important forensic concept of the early twenty-first century. Psychopaths are charming but deadly in their interactions with others. Because of its relevance to law enforcement, corrections, the courts and related fields, the need to understand psychopathy cannot be overstated.

Six Obstacles to a Successful Relationship With a Psychopath

By Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on June 11, 2015 in NeuroSagacity
Psychopaths are typically excited and stimulated by a new partner. This can easily be mistaken as bonding and deep caring. However, this tends to be the dopamine driven stage of romantic love that can feel like addictive attraction. Once that wears away, so does their interest. It is often at this point that they display disdain for their partner.

General 'Killection'

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on June 09, 2015 in In Excess
Although the word ‘murderabilia’ is fairly new (an amalgam of ‘murder memorabilia’), the act itself has a long history and basically refers to collectibles that relate to murder, murderers and/or violent crimes (including such items as artwork produced by incarcerated serial killers). But what is the psychological motivation behind such collecting?

ISIS and the Victim Mentality

By Izzy Kalman on June 08, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
The mass murders committed by ISIS are widely called incomprehensible. But mass murder has been around since the beginning of mankind. Shouldn't psychology be able to comprehend such a common phenomenon? It can, indeed, make sense of it. However, it requires abandoning the popular anti-bully model of social life and recognize the role of the victim mentality.

The Psychopath Whisperer at Work

A visit to the Mind Research Network offers an update on Kent Kiehl's work on the psychopathic brain.

"The Boys in the Boat"

Daniel Brown's book about the American oarsmen who won a gold medal at Hitler's 1936 Olympics provides food for thought for people who are interested in the development and expression of character.

FIFA Fo Fum I Smell the Blood of Corruption

What’s most shocking about the FIFA corruption scandal is that it has been going on for so long with so many people aware of it and yet the majority turning a blind eye to it.

What Happens When a Psychopath Falls in Love

The typical profile of a psychopath is of someone who is incapable of love. However, should people high in psychopathy manage to form intimate bonds, here's what can await them and their partners.

Lubitz Likely Practiced Mass Murder by Airplane

By Kathryn Seifert on May 18, 2015 in Stop The Cycle
New details are still emerging about the Germanwings plane crash in the Alps in March of this year. Many are focused on the fact that co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had been diagnosed with a mental illness as being his major risk factor for suicide and mass murder. Mental illness alone is NOT a risk factor for violence or mass murder.

Solving Humanity’s Emotional Disorders

In the last 1% of human genus existence, mental illness has become rampant. What are we doing wrong?

Wisdom From a Psychopath?

Research by Dr. Kevin Dutton shows that psychopathic traits may be appealing to individuals, but are harmful for communities.

All The Rage

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in In Excess
Beserkers is a culture-bound condition historically affecting Norsemen. The condition manifested itself among males only as an intense fury and rage (berserkergang, i.e., “going beserk”) and mostly occurred in battle situations. But what more do we know about it from a psychological perspective?

Theater Shooter on Trial

Colorado shooter uses insanity plea for his defense

Life is Beautiful?

He hit me about the head with newspaper and yelled furiously at me. I am five years old. It is one of the most wonderful memories of my life.

How to Take Advantage of an Air Crash

Some people want to dramatize themselves by pretending to have been present at catastrophes. It can be lucrative or in other ways rewarding.

The DSM 5 - Who Cares?

By Stephen Seager M.D. on April 13, 2015 in BrainTalk
DSM 5. Misinformation and misconception

Boys and Girls, with Guns

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on April 06, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
Dr. Peter Langman examined 48 cases of school shootings to show which assumptions are wrong and what we should actually pay attention to.

The Naming Game

By Jay Richards Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in The Violent Mind
In my previous post, I explored how the color-coded characters in Quentin Tarantino’s classic film, Reservoir Dogs, each beautifully epitomize a distinct color along a spectrum of personality disorders organized by the dynamics of aggression and narcissism. In this post, I will continue with Reservoir Dogs and explore the psychological implications of one of the film’s mos

Say ‘No’ to the Fiction of Brain Diseases

During my lifetime I have witnessed the fall of Freudian psychiatry and the ascension of molecular psychiatry. Unfortunately, we have gone from the frying pan into the fire. We need to restore psychiatry where it belongs. The psychotherapy of character is an art and a science that bridges the old divide between psychotherapy and the brain.

Cold Hearts or Broken Brains?

I remember the very first feeling I had, was my heart pounding. I mean really pounding. The second feeling I had was that my hands were sweating. And the third feeling was fear, and the kind of reality set in that there was a murderer in front of me.

Reservoir Dogs

By Jay Richards Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in The Violent Mind
Why Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs paints the perfect portrait of the spectrum of psychopathic personalities.

Myths and Misconceptions in Psychology

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 12, 2015 in A Sideways View
In their wonderful book Lilienfeld and colleagues list 250 myths and misconceptions from the world of psychology. In a study we tested to what extent ordinary people thought them to be true. The results are surprising.

10 Ways to Spot an 'Everyday' Sadist

When we think of sadism, it’s often the “50 Shades of Grey” variety. However, sadism doesn’t just live in the bedroom. This 10-item quiz will help you find out who secretly harbors an unnatural desire to harm.

The Attraction of Terrorism

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on March 01, 2015 in Am I Right?
Young people want challenges; they need challenges; they yearn to discover their own strengths; they want to be part of something larger and more meaningful than their individual selves.

Attachment Styles Can't Change, Can They?

John Bowlby, the founding father of attachment theory, argued that the attachment style formed in early childhood often continues to shape a person’s behavior far into adulthood, permeating all future liasons. The attachment style of adults, however, need not completely reflect the child’s early interactions with a caregiver. Sometimes it undergoes a radical shift.

How Big are Psychological Sex Differences?

By David P Schmitt Ph.D. on February 08, 2015 in Sexual Personalities
Are Men and Women Psychologically Different?