Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why we need psychopaths (part 1)

A reader studying psychology/criminology wrote a research paper about why we need psychopaths and wants our thoughts/feedback before she finalizes it:

Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of the most frightening, controversial and misunderstood terms in the realm of social sciences. This paper intends to dispel myths, explain alternative perspectives, offer insight into a characteristic impersonal section of society, and promote the sustenance of humanity using a combination of psychological and sociological theories to encourage a purposeful alliance between disparate groups: the empathic and those without a conscience.
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Psychopaths are a subset of the population that, due to drastically different personality constructs, have the ability to perform unique societal functions.
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Where a person falls on the spectrum of ASPD depends on a variety of factors. The Freudian framework describes this structure of psyche as being determined within the first five years of life. While Freud's reasoning of why this impairment occurs is questionable, his stance that it is broadly due to early childhood trauma rings true with most mental health professionals (Bowlby 1951). Regarding Freud’s research it is said that the defense mechanisms used to protect a psychopath are usually the cause of their downfall. Immature defenses include denial, acting out, projection, displacement and repression, which all tend to have immediate rewards but long term negative consequences. This would further illustrate a spectrum of behavior segmented within the context of ASPD. More mature and high functioning sociopaths would use corresponding mature defense mechanisms that would be more socially acceptable and consistent with maintaining a normally functioning personality. That also means that the traits of ASPD that require delayed gratification would also be more pronounced, such as excellent self-control, higher intelligence, manipulative and calculating behavior, as well as the ability to maintain a normal outwardly appearance.

It appears as though ASPD runs on this spectrum with highly intelligent, patient manipulators on one end and impulsive, violent criminals on the other. Because the tendency toward crime worsens with more severe forms of psychopathy, this spectrum serves as a “self-cleaning” mechanism for society. The dangerous psychopaths more often than not end up in prison fairly soon upon reaching adulthood which reduces the risk for substantial danger to others. As more of these criminally inclined are incarcerated, what remains is the other half of the spectrum. While it will always be difficult to obtain accurate statistics on mental health diagnosis because many are undiagnosed, untreated, or have several overlapping conditions, enough information has been gathered to provide an estimate. Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five— do not possess a conscience. Since approximately 75% of the prison population meets the criteria for ASPD (Hare 1999), most of the remaining psychopaths operating in society are high-functioning, highly intelligent and appears to be ordinary people.


34 comments:

  1. I noticed this is part 1, so I'll wait patiently for the writer to mention how high functioning sociopaths keep the world moving forwards. The ability to view the world without any arbitrary box allows for new and radical ideas to emerge and shape society. Without sociopaths, civilization as a whole would probably be stagnant and dull.

    Neurotypicals do not challenge the status quo often, if at all. The masses need someone to pave the way for them first. Someone needs to seduce the masses and point them in the right direction, and who better for this task than someone who is not constrained by conscience?

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  2. I've never met a psychopath that wasn't dysfunctional.

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    1. I recall a twitter post saying that "I spotted a chameleon today; it obviously was not a very good one" or something along those lines. The fact that you saw through their facade meant that you either exhausted your usefulness, or they were just not very intelligent psychopaths. If it was the former, they should have tied up their loose ends.

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    2. the fact that you can spot a sociopath means you problebe are one

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    3. you can only spot a sociopath if he loses his cool you can probelbe see ther's something a bit off
      but that goes for all pd's and aspies

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    4. There's definitely something off with you

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    5. I find your spelling of 'probably' more disturbing than any sociopath I've ever come across.

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  3. Is it just me, or is sociopathworld getting........ boring?
    Come on ME, atleast make an effort. Or is the "success" of your new book going to your head?

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    1. now that everyone's aware that me's game is to sell books everyone is silencing here to death

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    2. The game includes 5 years and 1,000+ blog posts. That's a pretty involved game for just a book promotion.

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    3. M.E has a true passion to help people imo. No, I don't have brown on my nose.

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    4. or everyone just has better thing to do
      (yeah right like running from the cops and hiding my money in Cyprus)

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    5. A sociopath with a motive...shocker. But I do think her goal is to help people, socios and nons.

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    6. hook line and sink here

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  4. "i am recovering from psychopathy - yes i do know i might be deluding myself further, but deep down i do want to change"

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    1. a recovering psychopath is what?
      narc borderline?

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    2. blogger auther?

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  5. I hate the phase "recovering psychopath" , are arrogant to the the definition of psychopath ?? If only ignorance was a virtue

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  7. This article equates Antisocial Personality Disorder to Psychopath... really?

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  8. AnonymousApril 10, 2013 at 1:14 AM
    you can only spot a sociopath if he loses his cool you can probelbe see ther's something a bit off
    but that goes for all pd's and aspies


    AnonymousApril 10, 2013 at 2:37 AM
    There's definitely something off with you


    JBHApril 10, 2013 at 10:06 AM
    I find your spelling of 'probably' more disturbing than any sociopath I've ever come across.

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  9. M.E. is attempting to keep up with Donna from LoveFraud. Good luck ;0

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  10. "It appears as though ASPD runs on this spectrum with highly intelligent, patient manipulators on one end and impulsive, violent criminals on the other."

    It strikes me as strange that the two can even be lumped together. They work on levels so different from one another that I'd imagine it being difficult for the two types to find any common ground beyond a lack of conscience.

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  11. Why do some of you want to learn to be more emotional? Because other humans say that's what you're suppose to be. They're nothing special and emotion is a self-destructing weakness, although the only emotion worthy of attention and use is happiness.

    Anti-Social Personality Disorder for me is a gift, because what you have isn't what's important it's how you use it. You can be a sociopath and have a chip on your shoulder, feel insane, or feel like a freak. Or you can realize you have less limits if any limits when compared to other people. "Normal" people dwell and cry in their own self pity and emotions and tiny little problems, but sociopaths don't do that at all and we can be leaders and leaders usually are sociopaths.

    Sanity is for the weak. Sanity is for the people that are genetically born that way or are simply taught that way by society, because it's a leash for people like the government or leaders in general so they simply don't do as they please. With sociopathy we chew that leash off, but make it seem like it's still there. We're realist that don't dwell on little things and have a solution for ever problem.

    "Normal" people only look at that as a bad thing, because we can over power them in the best/worst ways there are, which is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    The weapon is irrelevant when compared to how you wield it.

    You're a sociopath so learn about yourself, embrace yourself, and exploit yourself and the world of entertainment around you. Or you can be a "normal" social joe... whatever that is. And you can complain none stop and have an absolute meaningless life. Or you can do the exact opposite which you're meant to do or at the very least capable of as a sociopath.

    -Something we're all thinking, but we either haven't thought of saying it or just never said it.

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    1. Omg!! You're reply was fantastic!! I feel the exact same way!! Sociopaths are more suited to survival. Neurotypicals have a nervous breakdown if they break a nail!! Lol. If I dwelled on bad things that have happened in my life I would probably have gone insane but I am able to bounce back from horrible things. I consider it my super hero power and not a weakness and nothing for people to fear!! You rock!! And I agree with you totally!!

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  12. : )

    good advice for so many people.
    get the most bang for your buck out of yourself .

    neat.

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  13. response to reader with research paper:

    I imagine you have good intentions with these studies. But they seem to lack understanding.

    No doubt your professor would like to hear how much we need psychopaths. They tend to love moral relativism, like Zimbardo.

    a few thoughts:

    You mention myths but don't explain what the myths are and why they are myths.

    You use one reason that we need them because they are high-functioning and highly intelligence. I'm sure many are but I'm also sure many aren't. Just like the general population.

    so yes, High functioning people we need, sure. and highly intelligent people we need also, sure.

    But what does that have to do with Psychopaths being needed?

    It's what separates them from non-psychopaths you have to explain to justify your headline and not sound native.

    You should write about why we need people with no conscious and how that would be good for society. That would be an interesting argument.

    But somehow I doubt it would turn into the same positive spin.

    Btw, I don't think psychopaths would want to be what they are if they had a choice. Psychopaths are made by psychopaths.

    Nah, to get a good grade, probably just write the spin. The professor will like it. Who knows... he might be a high functioning and highly intelligent sociopath.

    Good luck with your studies.

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  14. Thank you as well as everyone else for the feedback. I suppose the point was to eliminate the negative stereotype. I think there is a huge sense of freedom in not being bound by mostly irrational emotions. I love this site and find the (intelligent) conversations fascinating. And the banter between everyone is sometimes amusing. I've browsed LoveFraud as well just to see the other side....my take is if those people were emotionally healthy to begin with, they would not have fallen prey to someone with malicious intentions. Not that they were asking for it, I'm not saying that at all, but it seems they were not in top top psychological condition to begin with. I've never been burned by a sociopath (knock on wood, since I'm kinda in the lion's den here) but I thought it was worth researching.

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