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  • James 08:42 on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ASPD, , , criminals, , DSM, , , , ICD, intelligence, just testing to see if you're reading these, myths and legends, personality disorders, prison, , , , reality check, , workplace   

    Mythbusting psychopathy (part 1) 

    There are far too many common myths about psychopaths out there that I am sick of reading about. Here is a list of the most irritating, along with a hearty dose of reality. Note the links, which are my citations.

    Which one surprises you the most? Let me know in the comments. 

     

    MYTH: Psychopaths don’t know they’re psychopaths.

    Oh really? While some psychopaths (particularly very young or uneducated ones) may not know the specific term “psychopath”, or that it applies to them, all psychopaths of at least young adulthood are fully cognisant of their difference from others. What’s more, in this age of near-universal internet access, I’d be very surprised to come across an adult psychopath without some understanding of their psychopathy, though I expect back in the pre-web days many lived their whole lives without ever finding out why they were different. Most couldn’t be happier to be what they are; that is to say, most are fucking arrogant pricks.

     

    MYTH: Psychopaths are ‘worse’ than sociopaths; psychopaths are born, sociopaths are made; psychopaths and sociopaths are different things.

    Actually, neither psychopath nor sociopath are medical terms. The official term covering both in the latest versions of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM – 5) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD – 10) is antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).

    The terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” have been used for the various theoretical explanations for the condition, with specialists using “psychopath” preferring a biological or neurological explanation (e.g. a psychopathic gene, brain damage) and researchers using “sociopath” more interested in social causes (e.g. childhood abuse, poor parenting). Modern consensus among psychologists and neuroscientists points toward a combination of the two, and most researchers in the field prefer the use of “psychopath” over the now rather dated and pop-sciencey “sociopath”. Osteopaths and homeopaths are something else entirely…

    Yes, Bob Hare’s famous PCL-R Checklist is a slightly different beast, but since it is only administered to dickheads locked up in prison, I would argue it focuses too strongly on criminality (and how an individual should be treated by the justice system) for it to be considered a legitimate diagnosis. I will concede that Hare himself does not like psychopathy being lumped in with ASPD. However, the British National Health Service and the American MedlinePlus medical encyclopedia both consider psychopathy to be a severe form of ASPD. Wait, this is stupid.

    So in actual fact, it seems nobody can agree on what, if anything, is the difference between these three terms: psychopathy, sociopathy and ASPD. Abandon hope and run to the hills.

     

    MYTH: Psychopaths have no empathy.

    Psychopaths have little or no warm empathy; that is to say they do not typically share the emotions of others or care about how other people feel. They are unsympathetic and lacking in compassion toward others. Psychopaths are quite capable of cold empathy, however; that is to say understanding how other people think and feel. They deliberately mimic facial expressions and behaviour that they see in others. Autistic people (in the broadest sense of what is a very broad spectrum) are kind of the opposite of this: they care about others’ feelings and share emotions, but are usually very bad at working out what other people are thinking or reading facial expressions.

    Recent research has also suggested psychopaths are capable of warm empathy when they actively try to empathise with other people, and that they can activate it like a switch when asked to do so.

     

    MYTH: All evil in the world is psychopaths’ fault.

    This barely warrants an answer. Every human being is capable of evil, but non-psychopaths mostly use their morality, their political ideals or shudder their religion as justification for their wrongdoing. The infamous Milgram experiments on obedience demonstrated that average Joe is more than happy to electrocute someone to death when told to do so by an authority figure.

    Yes, psychopaths do bad things if they feel like it. I’d say that’s a hell of a lot more honest than, for instance those who claim to believe in equality but still want a strong border to keep out the people with dark skin, or those oh-so-pious liberal saints who ignore Hobo Bill every day to get their morning Starbucks, or the followers of the Religion of Peace™ who blow themselves to kingdom come for a sniff of virgin. Ask most psychopaths, they will say the same. We are sick of taking the blame for everything, and laugh at the hypocrisy of those who assign said blame.

     

    Pic #2 - This is what happens when a psychopath gets access to coloring pages

    MYTH: Psychopaths actively wish harm on others. They hate everyone else. 

    You’re thinking of sadists and misanthropes. There is certainly a lot of overlap between sadism and psychopathy, but the true psychopathic attitude toward others is indifference. Everything I do is to benefit me; you do not come into the equation. If in the process of taking care of number 1, I make you laugh, cry, smile or squeal, well that was just incidental. You’re welcome / sorry / I don’t care.

     

     

    MYTH: Psychopaths are all active criminals or behind bars.

    It is true that as much as 25% of the American prison population may be psychopathic, and that some of the worst serial killers and mass murderers in history were psychopaths. What’s more, probably every psychopath out there has committed a crime at one point or other in their life (who hasn’t?) and clever ones are likely to get away with them for longer. Taking my whole life into account, I am guilty of physical assault, fraud, theft and petty vandalism (oh and probably “psychological abuse”, which my country in its infinite wisdom has recently made a crime. Talk about discriminating against my lifestyle!) These are not regular occurrences in my life though, and I am not known to the police.

    It is simply not the case that every psychopath is a hardened career criminal. Many, indeed probably most, psychopaths have never killed or seriously hurt another person. These ‘socialised’ psychopaths live normal lives, going to work, walking the dog, paying taxes, washing up, beating up prostitutes in back alleys… Psychopaths are found in all walks of life, more often than not with good, stable jobs and at a high or upwardly-mobile point on the social hierarchy. Which means that yes, some are drug lords, mafia bosses and terrorist leaders. But most are… well, see below.

     

    Image result for i'll kill you i'll kill all of you especially those of you in the jury

    MYTH: Psychopaths are a horrible scourge and a drain on our society.

    Just look at the list of the top 10 jobs with the most psychopaths:

    1. Corporate executive
    2. Lawyer
    3. Broadcast media
    4. Salesperson
    5. Surgeon
    6. Print or web journalist
    7. Police officer
    8. Member of the clergy
    9. Chef
    10. Civil servant

    So your society would likely collapse without psychopaths running your shit for you.

     

    MYTH: Psychopaths are more intelligent than non-psychopaths

    Psychopathy does not affect intelligence. There are some psychopathic geniuses, and many who are borderline retarded. Most lie somewhere in between, just like the general population. I would describe myself as well above average intelligence, but not (yet!) at the level of a genius. Bearing in mind my own “inflated self-worth” and “arrogance”, you may wish to adjust that estimate slightly lower.

    Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 next week. Stay in touch.

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    • nowve666 10:10 on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve got a new one, kinda related to “All the Evil in the World” being our fault. Psychopaths are regularly blamed for the economic meltdown. I think the right-wing had something to do with it. And, as you pointed out, NTs are capable of evil. I’m frankly shocked that emotional “abuse” can be prosecuted as a crime. These things are so subjective. How does a prosecutor prove someone isolated his/her partner? Maybe they just found the other person’s friends more interesting or something. I guess you have “criminal versatility” but no drugs? Never? Do you think, as does PsychoMom, a brain scan can reveal a psychopath?

      Like

      • James 14:08 on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know how psychological abuse can be proven. There’s no physical evidence like with wife beating or sexual assault, but maybe the police have phone-tapping powers or something typically underhand to gather evidence.

        Brain scans can definitely reveal psychopaths; have you heard of James Fallon?

        If you’re asking if I’ve taken drugs, I have, but I don’t really like things which take me out of myself. LSD doesn’t appeal, nor do any hallucinogenics really. I rarely drink enough to get drunk, but I like many kinds of alcoholic drink. I have found both weed and tobacco to be good about half the time, but otherwise disappointing, so both seem like a waste of money. Coke is the best I’ve tried, but I can’t afford to make a habit of it, and it is quite moreish.

        Like

  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:37 on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , criminals, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Is there a psychopath in your life? 

    Women in green

    What is a psychopath? Do you know one? Ever been the victim of one? The chances are that the answer is yes, even if you may not realize it. The scientific consensus is that one in a hundred people is psychopathic and this breaks down evenly between men and women. (1)  Scary thought, huh? What is your idea of a ‘psychopath’? A serial killer? A crazy person foaming at the mouth? Think again.

    Movie madness – muddling psychosis and psychopathy

    Hollywood loves psychopaths and psychotics because they make such wonderful (or terrible, depending on your point of view) baddies. But if you think that because you’ve seen lots of movies featuring baddies who are ‘mad’ in some way you will therefore be able tell a psychotic from a psychopath, you are mistaken, because the movies regularly mix them up. Perhaps the most famous ‘mad’ movie baddie of them all, Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, is regularly branded a psychopath, although he was no such thing. He was a delusional psychotic. ‘Hearing voices’ or ‘seeing things’ that aren’t there can be symptoms of psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, but does not mean that you are a psychopath. Of course, schizophrenia itself is another condition often misrepresented in the movies, which pursue the dramatic possibilities of ‘split personality’ while failing to acknowledge that it has nothing whatever to do with schizophrenia.

    To see a more accurate movie psychopath, turn to the eponymous cold hired assassin ‘the Jackal’ in The Day of the Jackal, or the scheming and manipulative Tom Ripley (brilliantly portrayed by Matt Damon) in The Talented Mr Ripley.

    In reality, most psychopaths are not criminal – although many criminals are psychopaths – but they are certainly amoral. The great majority are not killers; they are ‘bad’ rather than ‘mad’. So how do you tell if there is a psychopath in your life?

    The charming manipulator

    The socialized psychopath is likely to be too smart to end up in jail.

    The socialized psychopath can appear extremely charming. You have to know them really well and have a fair amount of insight yourself to spot that they always and only ever do what suits them. As long as they are getting their own way, they can be as charming as you could wish, and the most delightful company. But they will lie at the drop of a hat, without the slightest twinge of anxiety or guilt (so the old ‘lie detector’ polygraph test wouldn’t be likely to catch them out). They will use other people for their own ends without the smallest concern – treating them as no more than chess pieces in their ‘game’. They have no sense of guilt or remorse and will always be able to come up with plausible rationalizations for their behavior which allow them to lay the blame for any subsequent disaster on other people. And, of course, once chess pieces have served their purpose, there is no reason why they should not be discarded.

    Is it surprising that politics and show business are thought to have more than their fair share of socialized psychopaths?

    Cruel yet magnetic

    The socialized psychopath can be very attractive for the very qualities that make them psychopathic. This is not as contradictory as it sounds. A person whom we sense is not encumbered with the same inhibitions, doubts, uncertainties and sensitivities that plague the rest of mankind can seem very attractive. They can have such an aura of confidence and freedom about them. They may be enormously fun sensation-seeking risk takers. There are ‘no strings on them’ – or so it would appear. They may even seem like heroes to us. And they will keep us onside while we are useful to them. If you watch them carefully, however, their humor will tend to be on the cruel side.

    Cult leader Jim Jones was very magnetic and attracted a great number of followers to his ‘Jonestown’ settlement where they met their tragic deaths. He was reported to have enjoyed dissecting live animals as a child – a common childhood indicator of psychopathy. Other people’s suffering does not shock the psychopath as it does ordinary people, although they can look as shocked as anyone on the surface. How so?

    Feigning empathy

    A psychopath is not ’emotion blind’. They can ‘read’ other people’s emotions perfectly well, and mimic them perfectly well. And for them, other people’s emotions are just another counter to use in their games. They themselves rarely get worked up about anything except not getting what they want.

    How do you deal with someone who has no empathy, guilt, remorse or fear?

    A psychopath may understand other people frighteningly well. They can watch dispassionately, with a cold and calculating mind, going convincingly through the motions of empathy on the surface while focusing on how to turn the situation to their advantage. The only way to spot them is to observe them carefully over a significant period of time. Do they regularly say one thing and then do another, more than other people? Do they use people emotionally, sexually, professionally and then discard them casually? Do they sometimes seem strangely un-shocked by shocking events?

    Cold hearts

    Not surprisingly, many two-faced bullies show strong psychopathic tendencies. As they say: ‘You can’t turn a lion into a vegetarian by throwing veggie burgers at it.’ Trying to appeal to the better nature of a person who hasn’t got a better nature is a losing strategy. Psychopaths do not feel guilt or shame. They won’t feel genuinely sorry for you and will only put up a front of convincing looking sympathy for as long as it suits them.

    If you suspect there is a psychopath causing havoc in your life then you need to avoid them as much as possible. Collect and record evidence of their manipulative behavior. Try to avoid seeing them except when other people are around. Psychopaths leave a string of broken hearts, disappointment, bewilderment and empty wallets in their wake. Romantic relationships with a psychopath (of either sex) are fraught with dangers to your emotional and even physical well-being.

    How do you treat the psychopath?

    Traditionally psychopaths have only been ‘treated’ when they have been caught in criminal misdemeanor, and that ‘treatment’ has often been no more than punishment. Psychopathy is seen as a ‘personality disorder’ and therefore pretty much untreatable. Psychopaths may be very happy with being the way they are and there is some evidence that their brains, in some respects, work quite differently from other people’s.

    In a fascinating study, researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London (2), showed six psychopaths and nine healthy volunteers’ pictures of faces displaying different emotions. When looking at happy faces (as opposed to neutral faces), the brains of both groups showed increased activity in the areas involved in processing facial expression, although this increase was smaller in the psychopathic group.

    In contrast, when processing faces full of fear compared with neutral faces, the healthy volunteers showed more activation and the psychopaths less activation in these brain regions. Psychopaths can be very emotional themselves if they feel thwarted, but they are less concerned with other people’s emotions except as a hook by which to manipulate them.

    The psychopathic continuum

    We can all behave psychopathically sometimes, given extreme enough circumstances. Even whole cultures may be more psychopathic than others. Societies that encourage individuality, material gain and personal power while glorifying violence at the expense of the community display psychopathic tendencies just as surely as individuals do. And some people may manifest some psychopathic tendencies while still on occasion having genuine empathy and consideration.

    The vast majority of people do care about others, are shocked and upset by the suffering of fellow creatures and won’t tread over all and sundry just to get to the top. And we can all be manipulative, calculating, selfish or ladle on the false charm at times. But for the psychopath this is par for the course.

    Notes

    1. See Robert D Hare’s excellent: Without Conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us
    2. This research was conducted by Professor Declan Murphy and colleagues at Kings College London and published in ‘Facial emotion processing in criminal psychopathy’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 2006 189: 547-555

    EXCERPT from “No strings on me: Is there a psychopath in your life?” by Mark Tyrrell

    Photo courtesy bryancrump

     
    • revengestar 21:01 on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s way more than that percentage since psychopathy is a spectrum. Although the main psychopath in my life is…well me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @GeneticPsycho (Tina) 21:22 on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Curious – how many do you know? Are they in your family?

        Like

        • revengestar 21:24 on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

          all my family members are narcissistic sadly. I know 4 psychopaths in real life who drop the mask in private and we talk like psychopaths. Many others who act even when i see what they are. As for online, well dozens.

          Like

  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:21 on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , corporate crime, , criminals, , , , fraud, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Psychopathy and Corporate Crime 

    Psychopathic Personality Diagnostic Checklist

    Psychopathic Personality Diagnostic Checklist

    INTRODUCTION

    The relationship between psychopathy and violent street-level offenses has been well established.  However, psychopathic characteristics and behaviors have been normalized, tolerated, and even valued among corporate offenders. There is a paucity of research that explores the relationship between psychopathy and forms of elite deviance, and the connection between psychopathy and corporate crime warrants further academic attention.

    Psychopathy is characterized by glib/superficial charm, impression management, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, conning/manipulativeness, lack of empathy, lack of guilt or remorse, shallow affect, and failure to accept responsibility. Impression management is indicated by efforts put forth by individuals in order to be viewed by others in a socially desirable or favorable manner. Grandiosity is typified by an excessive need for admiration, arrogance, sense of entitlement, envy, and exploitative tendencies towards others. Pathological lying is marked by a long history of frequent and repeated lying. Manipulativeness is characterized by charm, deceit, risk-taking, and carelessness about rules and conventions. Empathy has been defined as “the ability to detect accurately the emotional information being transmitted by another person”. Guilt “refers to the private feelings of a troubled conscience caused by a personal wrongdoing or by disadvantaging a valued other”. Although they are capable of concealing their emotional deficits, psychopaths are not capable of experiencing or appreciating everyday emotions, demonstrating a shallow affect. Psychopaths tend to rationalize and justify their behavior, often blaming others rather than accepting responsibility for their own actions.

    While there has been little research conducted on psychopathy and corporate offending, personality traits such as interpersonal competitiveness, positive extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism have emerged as principal personality correlates of white-collar offending. Interpersonal competitiveness is defined as extreme competition in which individuals are motivated to avoid loss and to defeat their rival counterparts. Positive extroversion is characterized by individuals who are talkative and spontaneous. In contrast, the disagreeable businessman is defined by characteristics such as bitterness, having condescending attitudes towards co-workers, and being easily angered or frustrated at unplanned circumstances and inconsistencies with order, rules, and corporate customs. Neuroticism is defined by traits such as anxiety, insecurity, sloppiness, and low self-esteem. While these traits explain corporate offending, other characteristics, such as those typical of psychopathy, can be extended to many of the traits and behaviors of elite criminals. As this thesis demonstrates, corporate behaviors illustrate several traits that are consistent with psychopathy.Monopoly. Big means you don't have to share

    CORPORATE CRIME

    In contrast to street level offenses, acts of elite deviance may fall beyond the scope of codified criminal law. Furthermore, many acts of elite deviance do not actually violate the law, but still have multiple adverse consequences for society. In fact, elite offenses cause significantly greater harm than street level offenses. For example, corporate and white-collar property crimes cause an estimated $404 billion in damages, while street level property damages are estimated to only cost $20 billion. Still, crimes committed by elites are rarely targeted under the current Crime Control Model.

    Elite deviance is characterized by illegal and/or unethical behavior, the maintenance or increase in profit and/or power for economic and political organizations, the open or covert assistance and support from elites who oversee such organizations, and the participation of elite and/or employees that work for people who are wealthy and/or powerful. Elite deviance encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, such as white-collar crime, corporate crime, corporate violence, occupational crime, governmental deviance, crimes of the state, crimes of privilege, profit without honor, and crimes by any other name.

    There has been a great deal of definitional ambiguity surrounding the conceptualization of white-collar and corporate crime.  A more recent definition describes white-collar crime as “illegal or unethical acts that violate fiduciary responsibility or public trust, committed by an individual or organization, usually during the course of legitimate occupational activities, by persons of high or respectable social status for personal or organizational gain”.

    Corporate crime has been defined as wrongdoing committed by corporate officials for the benefit of their corporation and offenses of the corporation itself. In addition to violations of the existing law, corporations may commit acts that, while legal, have many negative social consequences. For this reason, definitions of corporate crime should include any harmful actions caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional behaviors that are both lawful and illegal. Frank and Lynch (1992, p. 17) defined corporate crime as, “socially injurious and blameworthy acts, legal or illegal, that cause financial, physical, or environmental harm, committed by corporations and businesses against their workers, the general public, the environment, other corporations and businesses, the government, or other countries.”

    Examples of Corporate Wrongdoing

    In The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Joel Bakan (2004) discusses several examples of corporate wrongdoing. For instance, American corporations such as Nike, The Gap, Kathy Lee Gifford’s clothing line, and Walmart, often exploit impoverished countries for cheap and easy labor. Twenty-two separate operations take place to produce one Nike shirt. Five steps involve cutting the material, 11 steps involve sewing, and six steps involve attaching labels, hang tags, and packaging. The estimated maximum time to manufacture one shirt was 6.6 minutes, which cost $0.08 in labor and sold for $22.99. Typical sweatshop conditions are harsh and inhumane. Aside from receiving very little pay, employees in these situations are often humiliated and abused. Young girls are forced to take pregnancy tests and are fired if the results are positive. These facilities are usually located in secret, guarded locations and surrounded by barbed wire. Further, employees are often housed in substandard living conditions by the corporations they work for.

    In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which banned sweatshops, child labor, and industrial homework. However, the act is routinely violated by the garment industry and many sweatshops remain in operation both domestically and abroad. Only 33% of the garment industry is in compliance with the law. According to Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, sixty-five percent of clothing operations in New York City are sweatshops. Many sweatshops in the United States employ illegal immigrants.

    Monsanto does not have my consent to use my body as a science experimentMany state statutes label individuals with four convictions as “habitual criminals”. In his study, Sutherland (1949, 1983) used the records of court decisions and administrative commissions regarding 70 of the largest manufacturing, mining, and mercantile corporations in the United States. His analysis focused on violations such as restraint of trade, misrepresentation in advertising, infringement of patent, trademarks and copyrights, unfair labor practices, rebates, financial fraud and violation of trust, violations of war regulations, and other miscellaneous offenses. He found that a total of 980 decisions were made regarding the 70 corporations with an average of 14 decisions for each one.

    There are countless other examples of corporate wrongdoing. Robinson and Murphy (2009) discuss several different types of corporate violations, including fraud, deceptive advertising, defective products, and deadly products. Fraud is defined as a form of theft in which the consumer is deprived of their money or property through deceit, trickery, or lies. Fraud occurs across a wide array of industries in a variety of contexts, such as consumer fraud, insurance fraud, credit card and check fraud, cellular phone fraud, health care fraud, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, telemarketing fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and automotive fraud. Quackery is a form of fraud that advertises worthless medical products, such as drugs, devices, and nutritional products.

    Institutional Anomie Theory

    The cultural element of Institutional Anomie Theory is centered around the notion of the American Dream, which leads to pressure for economic success and anomie. The term anomie, coined by sociologist Émile Durkheim, refers to “a weakening of normative order in society”. The American Dream is defined as “a broad cultural ethos that entails a commitment to the goal of material success, to be pursued by everyone in society, under conditions of open, individual competition”. The American Dream socializes people to seek out economic success and to believe that their chances of achieving economic success are relatively high. This facilitates the ongoing pursuit of rarely-achieved aspirations and material gains. This focus on material success undermines the importance of noneconomic structures, such as those related to education, family, and politics. The universal acceptance and pursuit of the American Dream creates a number of obstacles for people since the reality is that the existing social structure creates economic inequality.

    The four basic value foundations of the American Dream are (1) achievement, (2) individualism, (3) universalism, and (4) materialism. Individual self-worth is often evaluated on the basis of achievement. American society emphasizes individualism, as Americans are deeply dedicated to individual autonomy and individual rights. Universalism is described as the universal acceptance of cultural goals and values, as virtually everyone is socialized to achieve and to evaluate themselves and others using this criteria for success. Materialism is a focus on monetary success and material accumulation. All of these factors function in a way that emphasizes material gain while diminishing the importance of legitimate means to attain economic success.

    These cultural values, the devaluation of noneconomic institutions, and the portrayal of economic institutions and economic success of utmost importance can contribute to the commission of both street and elite crimes. In the context of corporations, seeking the American Dream, and the values associated with it, can motivate individuals to increase their gains at any costs necessary.

    Maximization is defined as “the concomitant utilization of legitimate and illegitimate means to achieve the goals associated with the American Dream”. This form of behavior involves simultaneously obeying the law and violating the law. Maximizers simultaneously engage in both conformity and innovation, such that the boundaries between law-abiding behaviors and criminal behaviors become distorted or disregarded. This is especially likely to occur in corporate settings where there is added pressure to achieve financial success and immoral, harmful legitimate and illegitimate means are normalized. Maximizers view their actions as justifiable. Crime and deviance have become normal in corporations, and maximization is the primary way corporations have achieved greater wealth.

    Differential Association Theory

    The culture of competition within the subculture of organizations also creates criminogenic conditions in which illegal and amoral acts are incorporated into organizational norms. The competitive struggle for personal gain and advancement is viewed as a positive individual strength rather than as negative or selfish. Any social inequality is viewed as legitimate and fair. The poor are stigmatized and labeled incompetent and lazy, while the rich and successful are admired, creating a strong desire for success and a fear of failure.

    PSYCHOPATHY

    Psychopathy is fascinating because it is a form of antisocial behavior disguised by a veil of normalcy. Indeed, psychopaths are so proficient in their conning and manipulative qualities that they can easily gain the trust of those who surround them. Seemingly impervious to the common plights of other psychological disturbances, psychopaths are generally well-liked by others and perceived as well-meaning.

    Cleckley (1941) formed the foundation for the pathological condition we now know as psychopathy. His work identified several criteria including superficial charm, lack of anxiety, lack of guilt, undependability, dishonesty, egocentricity, failure to learn from punishment, poverty of emotions, and lack of insight into the impact of one‟s behavior on others.

    The PCL-R four-factor model of psychopathy identifies several personality characteristics. Among these are conning/manipulativeness, impression management, pathological lying, lack or remorse of guilt, callousness/lack of empathy, stimulation seeking, impulsivity, and criminal versatility. Personality can be defined as “the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments” (Larson & Buss, 2005, p. 4).

    Other personality traits relevant to corporate violence that are not identified by the PCL-R are also explored. Among these are desire for control and openness/intellect. Desire for control can be defined as an urge to exercise control over everyday life events. Openness/intellect, sometimes referred to as culture, imagination, or fluid intelligence, is illustrated by an openness to new experiences, intellectual ability, and creativity.

    Psychopathy and Street Crime

    Those with higher PCL-R scores received reduced sentences and were able to appeal the sentences of higher courts successfully. This demonstrates the ability of psychopaths to continue impression management and manipulative behaviors during the course of criminal proceedings, ultimately deceiving the criminal justice system.

    Such capabilities are certainly relevant to extending this analysis to the exploration of psychopathic corporate crime. Psychopathic features such as callousness, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, are relevant to making persuasive arguments and potentially harmful decisions, while features such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, and poor behavioral controls are relevant to poor decision making and performance.

    Psychopathy and Elite Crime

    Lack of Remorse or Guilt - A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victimsBabiak, Neumann, and Hare (2010) explain that our limited knowledge about corporate psychopathy is largely due to the difficulty in obtaining the cooperation of business organizations. They were presented with a unique opportunity to explore psychopathy and its correlates in a sample (N=203) of corporate professionals from various companies.

    PCL-R scores were not significantly related to the level of management held by participants. However, the authors noted that of the nine participants who scored 25 or higher, two were vice presidents, two were directors, two were managers or supervisors, and one held some other type of managerial position. Performance appraisals and 360-degree assessments indicated that psychopathy was associated with strong communication skills, strategic thinking skills, creativity/innovation, poor management style, and not being perceived as team oriented.

    According to Bakan (2004), corporations were initially conceived as public institutions intended to serve national interests and advance public goods. They are creations of the state, which granted them rights such as legal personhood and limited liability, and are viewed as independent persons. Bakan also argues that corporations are psychopathic and interviewed Dr. Robert Hare, creator of the PCL-R, on the subject. Hare points out several psychopathic qualities of corporations, including irresponsibility, manipulativeness, lack of empathy, lack of guilt or remorse, and superficiality.

    Hare explains that corporations are often irresponsible since they attempt to satisfy their goals by putting others at risk. They attempt to manipulate public opinion and display grandiosity by their persistence in establishing their position as “number one” and “the best”. Lack of concern shown for those that they have harmed and could potentially harm demonstrates their lack of empathy. Lack of guilt or remorse is illustrated by the fact that corporations often continue to commit the same violations after being caught and paying fines that are often trivial in comparison to their profits. Hare also argues that corporations are superficial in their relations since they attempt to present themselves in a positive light to the public, which is not representative of what they are in reality. Similar to the way in which a human psychopath uses manipulation and charm to “mask” themselves as normal, corporations present themselves as socially responsible, compassionate, and concerned about others. However, in reality, and as displayed in their behaviors, they are not.

    Excerpted from “PSYCHOPATHY AND CORPORATE CRIME A Thesis by ANGELA DAWN PARDUE“, August 2011

    Images courtesy Christopher Dombres, William Murphy, Dr. Rex, CountyOfLiars.com

     

    Psychopath TEST Politicians

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