Thanks to Savvy Psychologist listener Cindy Jossart of Webster City, Iowa for the idea for this week's podcast.

With darkness in their hearts, ice water in their veins, and snake-charming smiles on their faces, psychopaths make up anywhere from 0.6% to 4% of the population. This personality disorder affects men more frequently than women.  It’s been documented in cultures the world over. Here's a great icebreaker for your next cocktail party: the Native Alaskan peoples call psychopaths "kunlangeta." 

The brain of a psychopath is different than yours or mine (unless you're a psychopath).  It has a smaller prefrontal cortex—the part that regulates behavior, impulse control, and planning—and a deformed amygdala, the seat of negative emotions like fear, guilt, and sadness.

You can’t tell superficially who is a psychopath—so let’s get to know them.  Here are 3 traits of psychopaths, plus the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath:

Psychopath Trait #1: Fearless Dominance
Let’s look at fearless dominance from an empathetic point of view (ironically, something psychopaths lack).  Imagine total freedom from fear, anxiety, or guilt.  You do whatever you want without the pesky hindrance of conscience, social consequences, authority figures, or worrying about the well-being of others.  You know the rules of society; you just don’t care.

 

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