Psychopathy is a psychological condition characterized by antisocial behavior, lack of remorse, empathy, and being bold. Over the years, this condition is said to be affecting some people. The characteristics of psychopathy are synonymous with other similar conditions like sociopathy.
The term psychopathy was coined in the 1800s which basically mean “sick mind” or suffering soul.” Centuries ago, it is perceived or considered to be a kind of moral anomaly. However, the modern interpretation is more sensical.
An individual who has psychopathy is called a psychopath. Psychopaths have the ability to blend in the society or in the crowd making them unnoticeable. As a result, we don’t usually spot a psychopath. In fact, many people have no idea that they already have been along with a psychopath.
Psychopaths are charismatic. They are good at manipulating the person’s emotions and mind. The manipulative ability makes them able to control and influence others.
However, the percentage of people in the world who have this condition is low. But it is incredibly difficult to determine who they are. The common way of assessing psychopathy is through the use of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). It is a diagnostic tool that could determine psychopathy.
The highest total score of this checklist is 40. But the threshold or the rate which an individual may be considered psychopath differs in many countries. For instance, in the United States, a total score of 30 may indicate psychopathy. While in the United Kingdom, a score of 25 already indicates that a person is a psychopath.
The 20 traits of a psychopath
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is composed of 20 salient traits that a psychopath may have:
- Pathological lying
- Glib and superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self
- Need for stimulation
- Cunning and manipulative
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Shallow emotional response
- Callousness and lack of empathy
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioral controls
- Sexual promiscuity
- Early behavior problems
- Lack of realistic long-term goals
- Failure to accept responsibility
- Many short-term marital relationships
- Juvenile delinquency
- Revocation of conditional release
- Criminal versatility
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist categories four major traits. These traits are Interpersonal, Emotional, Lifestyle, and Antisocial. Here are the discussions of each trait.
1. Interpersonal Traits
Pathological lying is one of the most salient characteristics of psychopaths. They use lies to cover up their true purpose. By using the charm that they have, psychopaths win over their target victim.
Their high self-worth makes them crave for more power. As a result, they want to maintain the authority and power they have.
2. Emotional Traits
Psychopaths lack remorse and guilt. Consequently, it is easy for them to manipulate or inflict pain on their victims. They will simply get away with the crime they commit.
The lack of empathy makes the psychopaths unaware of their victims’ emotional or physical turmoil. They never hold the responsibility of their acts.
3. Lifestyle Trait
Psychopaths are impulsive and irresponsible. They typically have no long-term and realistic goals.
4. Antisocial Traits
Psychopaths always have difficulties in controlling their behavior. As a result, developing a social relationship is a constant and huge challenge for them.
Although psychopaths are rare, they are difficult to spot. You have no idea whether one of your co-workers, classmates, or friends is a psychopath. The 20 traits of a psychopath listed in the scale (PCL-R) will help you assess the suspected person.
The help of a mental expert may aid the assessment process. Like other psychological disorders, diagnosing psychopathy is also a tricky thing to do. It requires expertise and experience.
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.