Are psychopaths born to kill?
Psychopathy is one of the psychological disorders that are hard to determine. This is because psychopaths behave normally. They are charming and engaging. However, behind their charm are many dangerous traits. Psychopaths have a lack of conscience and empathy. They are manipulative, emotionally callous and unable to respond to normal human interaction.
There’s only one credible way to assess psychopaths. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist is a 20-item scale used to diagnose psychopathy. This instrument allows clinicians around the world to spot psychopaths.
There are many factors that contribute to psychopathy. Psychopathic individuals are the victims of brain anatomy, genetics, and their environments. But most experts believe that psychopaths are born, not developed.
The terms “psychopaths” and “sociopaths” are used interchangeably. However, psychopaths are different from sociopaths. Sociopaths are individuals who have antisocial tendencies. While psychopaths have innate psychopathic traits that cause violent behaviors.
However, not all psychopaths are criminals. Nevertheless, they are potentially dangerous. They could harm people in many ways.
How to spot psychopaths?
The most useful tool in identifying psychopathy is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist developed by Dr. Robert Hare, a professor at the University of British Columbia. It consists of twenty traits. Dr. Hare spent more than four decades of his life studying psychopathic traits. The scale determines how long psychopaths stay in prison. In this tool, traits are rank on a 0-3 scale. If a person ranks one on all twenty traits, then s/he would be given a rank of twenty. And those who rank three on all the traits would be ranked sixty. The higher the rank the longer the time needed to spend in prison.
1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.
2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.
3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.
4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.
5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness are present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.
6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT — a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.
7. SHALLOW AFFECT — emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.
8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY — a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.
9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE — an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.
10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.
11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR — a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.
12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS — a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.
13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.
14. IMPULSIVITY — the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.
15. IRRESPONSIBILITY — repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.
16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS — a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.
17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS — a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.
18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY — behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.
19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE — a revocation of probation or other conditional releases due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.
20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY — a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.
Source: Psychopath Victims
Although psychopaths are smaller in number compared to other types of psychological disorders, the possible danger they could possibly inflict on others can be huge. Thus, treating these people means protecting the general population from harm.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.