With so many Halloween movies featuring the frightening handy work of one type of psychopathic character or another, we thought we’d look at ten real-life facts about psychopaths that will give you more insight into this fearsome mental condition:
1. Violent Behavior Doesn’t Seem To Fade
Unlike non-psychopathic offenders, the risk of violent behavior by violent psychopathic offenders does not seem to decrease with age.
2. Psychopathy Seems To Be A Static Condition
As of today, there is no treatment for people with psychopathy. Psychopaths are much more likely to repeat their patterns of behavior, including antisocial and violent tendencies. However, the results of one study showed that decompression therapy (positive reinforcement of good behavior) might reduce recidivism.
3. Psychopaths Don’t Give Off That Something Is Amiss
Even under examination, psychopaths typically do not appear to show signs of being mentally ill, handicapped, or emotionally disturbed. They appear to be completely normal, rational human beings.
4. Their Reactions Are Often Normal (And Seem Sincere)
Psychopaths can display feelings of love, gratitude and loyalty – so much so that they seem believable. However, because a psychopath can choose to not feel guilt or shame, he or she “always throws away what he has gained.” That might mean a failed marriage, being fired from a job or receiving time in jail.
5. They Have An “Empathy Switch”
Contrary to popular assumption, research suggests that psychopaths do not lack empathy; rather, they can turn it on and off like a switch. This might explain their notorious charm.
6. Psychopaths Lack Delusions, Hallucinations Or Other Signs Of Psychotic Thinking
Psychopaths are well-aware of their actions. They typically don’t “see things” or “hear voices” in their heads that cause them to commit crimes or behave in any other abnormal way.
7. Psychopaths Can Be Extremely Successful
Psychopaths have the ability to create a great life plans for themselves that seem to be based on good judgement. With charm and good technical intelligence, many become millionaires. However, psychopaths tend to destroy what they’ve achieved due to sudden, unexpected impulses of behavior.
8. The Causes Of Psychopathy Are Not Well-Understood
While we know that genetics and one’s environment play a role in violent behavior and criminality, the causes of psychopathy remain unclear.
9. Most Psychopaths Are Not Violent
Although about 25 percent of inmates meet diagnostic criteria for psychopathy, the majority of psychopaths do not commit violent crimes. But they do commit aggressive antisocial acts; “they forge checks, swindle, steal repeatedly, lightly indulge in bigamy, and show little or no compunction about their sexual behavior, regardless of the consequences.”
10. Online Trolls Share The Same Characteristics As Psychopaths
Be careful of who you engage with online. Many of those obnoxious online trolls may be psychopaths. Researchers found that those who said trolling was their favorite online activity scored highest on having “Dark Tetrad” personality traits; which include narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism.
Psychopathic behavior is more nuanced than the movies. We hope the above facts give you a better understanding of this condition.