How psychopaths fool us (first of a series) - Executips

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Monday, September 2, 2019

How psychopaths fool us (first of a series)



Some psychopaths have claimed to have “found God” and later on swindled the religious community that accepted them wholeheartedly.

Some psychopaths in prison show good behavior or join prayer sessions, and declare repentance for their sins. But according to Robert D. Hare and Paul Babiak, pioneers in the study of psychopathy, “scrutiny of their behavior betrays their words as simply lies to get better treatment or an earlier release date.”

It doesn’t mean that all those who show remorse are fakes. Some have truly turned from sinners into saints as proven by their long years of reformed behavior.  We only need to remind ourselves that psychopathic criminals are some of the best actors in the world.

Some psychopaths have made women (and men) believe they were loved. These victims would give love, sex, trust and a lot of money before the lover disappears into the sunset.

Some psychopaths have appeared to be good managers. They rose to the higher levels of companies and either stole money from the company or dragged the company into front-page financial scams.

What is a psychopath

Not all criminals are psychopaths. Some of them only have Antisocial Disorder (ASD). People with ASD may have violent tendencies because they are short-tempered. They may be angry or may have resentments in life. Their violence can be triggered by circumstances. Alcohol and drugs can make them lose control.

Some criminals are otherwise normal people pushed to crime by poverty, greed or other temptations.

Psychopaths don’t need to be provoked. They just want to do bad things because it is their nature to do so. They are people with evil plans. According to experts, psychopaths feel no guilt when they commit their bad deeds and have no remorse after. The worst of them are described as people “without conscience.”

There are some people with psychopathic traits but are not criminal psychopaths. As explained by Kevin Dutton in his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths, these minor psychopaths have the focus, aggressiveness and courage of people who can become elite soldiers, surgeons, and CEOs for example. We will elaborate on these types in another article.

What is the modus?

According to Babiak and Hare, the psychopath method is “assessment, manipulation and abandonment.”

First, they will identify people they can use to achieve their goals. The people they will use may not necessarily have a high position. A usable person with some “power” may be someone with some control over certain assets, information and people. For example, you may be the secretary of a boss, a clerk in accounting, the security guard holding the keys to the warehouse, or the best friend of an object of desire.

The psychopath will appear trustworthy. They will pretend to have beliefs, values and a lifestyle similar to ours. Scientists have already proven that humans have a tendency to like people who appear similar to them. This instinct came from the time when people trusted only those from their own family or tribe.

Once we have become user-friendly, they will manipulate us by telling lies. They are good storytellers because  the lack of real emotion frees them from stage fright problems. They can charm us because they know exactly want we want to hear after having studied us so well.

After we have been used, the psychopath will leave because they had no emotional investment in us. But they may harm us if we threaten to expose them or appear to block their intentions. Scary!

The Corporate Psychopaths

Some psychopaths get hired for key positions because many companies today consider risk-taking and entrepreneurial adventurism as corporate values. Psychopaths exhibit such desired bravado in the job interview or in the first few months or years of work. According to Dr. Hare, psychopaths can appear to be effectively aggressive leaders by bullying their subordinates. But most psychopaths don’t have real talent in the business they penetrated. They’re just good at faking it. And as mentioned earlier, they have manipulative ways of getting information and they know how to flatter the bosses.

Many psychopaths have succeeded in their schemes but they are not reported because victims are embarrassed to admit in public that they have been conned. Companies and organizations may also choose to be silent in order to protect their image and credibility.

Psychopaths trick us because they are smart. But we can protect ourselves by being smarter.

( In next articles, we will discuss the scientific measures of psychopathy causes of psychopathy, how to spot a psychopath in the office, why psychopaths are charming, among many other interesting topics on this disorder.)


Read :

 Behave: The Psychology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.

The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach us About Success by Kevin Dutton

Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions by Victor Johnston

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.

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