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

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.

Harming the Innocent to Punish the Guilty

By Peter Toohey on April 16, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
There are three harrowing stories here, one modern concerning Katherine Knight, and two from Greek mythology concerning Procne and Atreus. Mental derangement, jealousy and resentment, and profoundly dysfunctional families are at the heart of the cannibalistic stories. They dramatize the harm that is inflicted on the innocent in order to punish the apparently guilty.

The DSM 5 - Who Cares?

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

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.

The Candy Man: A Prisoner Paints with Delectable Materials

Sometimes the art completed by a prison inmate transcends the limitations inherent in the rigidly controlled and tedious prison environment, with the artist often relying on very unusual materials—candy M & Ms to be precise—from which to create. This post presents the highly unorthodox yet beautiful art created by Blasi, a man locked up for murder over 30 years ago.

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.

After the Germanwings Crash, 7 Lessons About Mental Illness

By Carrie Barron M.D. on March 30, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Not all depressions are alike. Severe depression with psychotic features may elude a clinician as they are well masked or not present at the time of the exam. Symptoms ebb and flow, troubled people can be high functioning and we have much to uncover about the conditions of the Germanwings co-pilot.

50 Shades of Black

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 25, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
Serial killer John Robinson's recent appeal casts a spotlight on his deviant ruses for luring his victims.

Does Creativity have its Dark Side?

We are used to thinking of creativity as an entirely positive attribute. However, new research on malevolent creativity suggests that the truly creative may put their novel thinking to dangerous uses under the right circumstances.

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.

Want to Feel Good, Live Better, and Probably Live Longer?

The other night I watched with great interest a PBS special on heart health. The focus of the show was on Dr. Steven Masley’s book titled "The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up," to be released in paperback next month.

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.

Close Encounters with Criminal Minds

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 15, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
During the late 19th century a pathologist-turned-criminologist founded the technique of criminal autobiographies; from within the stories came deep truths.

What is a Psychological Disorder?

Psychologists define a psychological disorder broadly as psychological dysfunction in an individual that is associated with distress or impairment and a reaction that is not culturally expected.

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.

Is Good Psychotherapy Worth the Investment?

By Judith Coche Ph.D., ABPP on February 26, 2015 in No Ordinary Life
Nick, age 55, gets unstuck when he and wife Barbara join together to invest in their own depth therapy to deal with how to feel passion, be more cognitively flexible, and create a happier marriage. They are glad they did.

There Is a New Paradigm for Psychiatry

The hope for a molecular-biochemical explanation for psychiatry is false. It is believed we are on the verge of proving that psychiatry is a brain disease, no different from cancer or diabetes. But there is a paradigm that fully illuminates psychiatry - the ‘Play of consciousness, which is consonant with biology, neuroscience, and evolutution.

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?

Psychopathy and Mass Movements

By Joe Navarro M.A. on February 04, 2015 in Spycatcher
The predators that join mass movements and terrorist organizations