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Is There Such A Thing As A 'Good Psychopath'??

Posted by on Aug. 21, 2014 at 6:57 PM
  • 12 Replies

Is There Such A Thing As A 'Good Psychopath'?

kuzmafoto.com/iStockphoto

Oxymoronic, isn't it, the idea of a "good psychopath"?

But in their just published book, The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success, Andy McNab and Kevin Dutton argue that relying on some psychopathic traits can lead to a more successful life.

Andy is a British Special Air Service veteran and novelist; Kevin is an Oxford University psychologist. Kevin studies psychopaths. Andy says he is a psychopath.

Their checklist of psychopathic traits includes: charisma, charm, coolness under pressure, fearlessness, focus, impulsivity, lack of conscience, mental toughness, reduced empathy and ruthlessness.

"None of these characteristics are inherently bad in themselves," Kevin says. "When they become dysfunctional is when they are deployed inflexibly in the wrong contexts."

On the other hand, functional psychopaths — according to the book — are able to modulate their feelings to be more productive in business, in politics and in life.

The Path To Psychopathy

Don't we already have enough psychopaths in the world? we ask Kevin. By encouraging people to get in touch with their inner psychopath, aren't you removing guilt and shame and conscience from the equation? Won't that be deleterious to society?

"I'm not saying that psychopaths per se are good for society," Kevin says. "A pure psychopath is going to ruin his or her life and also the lives of those who they come into contact with."

But Kevin does believe that certain psychopathic characteristics, such as those listed above, "can — when dialed up at certain levels, in certain combinations and in certain contexts — predispose one to success."

No Such Thing

The whole idea of a "good psychopath" has succeeded in upsetting Lillian Glass, abehavioral analyst who has written or co-written a raft of books including Toxic People: 10 Ways of Dealing with People Who Make Your Life Miserable and A Guide to Identifying Terrorists Through Body Language.

"The words 'psychopath' and 'success' should never be in the same sentence," Lillian says. "Psychopaths are dangerous people, and to encourage someone to act like a psychopath is both irresponsible and dangerous."

She does not subscribe to the notion that we all have some psychopath within us. "You either are one or you are not one," she says. "And if you are a psychopath, you don't dial up the levels of the traits. ... It can't be done. Psychopaths don't pick and choose how ruthless or nonempathetic they will be. They are these traits, and it is not by degree."

Lillian says, "All of these characteristics are wrong when they hurt others. A lack of conscience is very wrong, and an absence of one can lead to committing criminal acts on others. Ruthlessness is not a good characteristic. It is a bad characteristic."

So, we ask Oxonian Kevin Dutton, can you point to a successful psychopath who has made positive contributions to the world?

"Psychopathy is on a spectrum," Kevin says. "It is neither all or nothing. Nor should 'successful psychopathy' be removed from context. But someone who was pretty high on the psychopathic spectrum was Winston Churchill."


nwp.org

by on Aug. 21, 2014 at 6:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Aug. 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

"Psychopathy is on a spectrum," Kevin says. "It is neither all or nothing. Nor should 'successful psychopathy' be removed from context. 

I agree with this^- Think of Navy Seals-and some of the things they see and what they can do despite it. I think psychopaths are really good at compartmentalizing emotion... really utilize a high degree of control.

Pema_Jampa
by 2HotTacoTini on Aug. 21, 2014 at 7:41 PM

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/psychopathy.htm

Instructions: This quiz is designed to help give you some idea about whether or not you may have psychopathic tendencies. This quiz is not meant to diagnose psychopathy or tell you definitively whether or not you're a psychopath. But it will give you a pretty good idea, based upon the research. For each item, indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement. This takes most people about 2 minutes to complete. Take your time and answer truthfully for the most accurate results.

_________________________

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:14 PM
I scored a 1. I am boring lol.

Quoting Pema_Jampa:

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/psychopathy.htm

Instructions: This quiz is designed to help give you some idea about whether or not you may have psychopathic tendencies. This quiz is not meant to diagnose psychopathy or tell you definitively whether or not you're a psychopath. But it will give you a pretty good idea, based upon the research. For each item, indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement. This takes most people about 2 minutes to complete. Take your time and answer truthfully for the most accurate results.

_________________________

PrEgGoSaUrUs
by New Member on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM
Dexter was a good psychopath.
NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:26 PM
1 mom liked this

He's a lumberjack. 

LOL.

Quoting PrEgGoSaUrUs: Dexter was a good psychopath.


nwp.org

NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:27 PM
1 mom liked this

I scored a 7....still pretty darned low. Honestly, I thought I would be a little bit higher than that. I think I have too much damned empathy. 

Quoting romalove: I scored a 1. I am boring lol.
Quoting Pema_Jampa:

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/psychopathy.htm

Instructions: This quiz is designed to help give you some idea about whether or not you may have psychopathic tendencies. This quiz is not meant to diagnose psychopathy or tell you definitively whether or not you're a psychopath. But it will give you a pretty good idea, based upon the research. For each item, indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement. This takes most people about 2 minutes to complete. Take your time and answer truthfully for the most accurate results.


_________________________


nwp.org

Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:42 PM
1 mom liked this

I got a 0- I have no tendencies-4 decades of Catholic guilt 

littlemum41
by Gold Member on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:55 PM

I also got 1.

But I think it should be 1/2. LOL.  The question about living in the present. I have learned from the past. but I don't worry about the future SO it is 1/2 a point. LOL.

So, yes, I am boring.

Ms.KitKat
by Gold Member on Aug. 21, 2014 at 9:14 PM

To answer your question: NO.

However it does appear this poor dear author and psychologist has indeed been duped by a sociopath, his co-author. It is not surprising. They are quite charming and convincing.

I feel I have studied this personality disorder for quite some time now using the DSM as a backdrop and not some arm chair opinion of what the defintion of a sociopath is. Although some "traits" can make for some very successful people- beleive me, a sociopath is the opposite of "good."  

Ms.KitKat
by Gold Member on Aug. 21, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Congratulations for not being a psychopath today!

lol

I got a zero. 

Thanks for posting this. That was fun.


Quoting Pema_Jampa:

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/psychopathy.htm

Instructions: This quiz is designed to help give you some idea about whether or not you may have psychopathic tendencies. This quiz is not meant to diagnose psychopathy or tell you definitively whether or not you're a psychopath. But it will give you a pretty good idea, based upon the research. For each item, indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement. This takes most people about 2 minutes to complete. Take your time and answer truthfully for the most accurate results.


_________________________


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