Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sociopathic statistician

From a reader:

It's rather unfortunate the average (mean, median, mode - take your pick) person has a misrepresentation of what a sociopath is. Shows like Dr. Phil portray sociopaths as these destructive manipulative people. What people don't understand is that anyone can be destructive and manipulative and so the idea they want to convey is that people who are willing to be this type of person is a sociopath.

My ex girlfriend recommended your book saying that the author constantly reminds her of me and a lot of the thoughts in the book closely resemble my thoughts. To me, the concept of sociopath is more like a six sense. My mind feels like it unconsciously works out many details of social situations and addresses why things work the way they do. In any given social situation, I know how a person is going to greet me and what they will say next; I know how they expect me to react etc. It's like a strong adaptive skill. 

It's like if my mind knows how to build classification/regression predictive models with high accuracy. I am unsure if it's because I observe a lot of data or if my mind is better at utilizing observed data, but everything seems second nature.

Nothing about this is inherently manipulative or evil like what people tend to think. Because of this, I've kept many many many thoughts to myself which has made me lose confidence. 

I agree completely about the predictive models. Maybe you would like this small discussion about it. But what do you mean by losing confidence?


What I meant by losing confidence (and I realize I was vague) is because of a general idea but I'll use the word sociopath as an example.

I am a doctoral candidate in applied statistics. In the years I have contributed to academia, I have built up a good reputation in the department. This is through hard work and my unique contributions over the years. Let's pretend that one day they all woke up with the idea that I am a sociopath. Their definitions of sociopath may vary, but I can imagine it would irreversibly damage my collective reputation around the department. I am still the same person as I ever was, but what their idea of a sociopath is, I would say the average faculty member would have a negative effect on my reputation. I'm missing information on whether or not I'd still be able to complete my degree, but being a person who focuses on patterns a lot (especially how people interact with objects and people around them), I'd be able to detect these little changes. I've already seen what happens to average people in similar situations and expect it to be similar if this were the case with mine.

This idea is more general. If I was in a conversation with a random person not in academia (even people in academia would fit this) and told them I am a doctoral candidate in statistics, they would be under the impression that I am a glorified average calculator and pie chart maker. This similar idea applies everywhere, people believing wrong ideas and it's not hard to convince someone that a wrong idea is a right idea. I read /r/statistics and many partially wrong answers get upvoted and praised (and even some completely wrong answers also fit this) and no one bothers to correct the wrong information. I can speculate why this happens so often; with examples of social media where, things that are commonly shared people will inadvertently believe it's true. An example of a picture that was shared at least a hundred thousand times of what appears to be a guy making his dog drink vodka from the bottle. One quick google search and the very top result states that the picture was misleading and not true. However, collectively the online social environment probably ruined this guy's life.

So when I meant that I had lost some confidence, it was in the ability for a large amount of people to independently analyze an idea. I may be slightly biased since from the moment I wake up, my brain never stops thinking to the point where I'd say my best hobby and skill is being able to think things carefully. I realize many people don't have similar interests, but it feels like we are collectively moving away from intelligence and there isn't significant effort to get that point across. Which normally I wouldn't mind anything how another person is, but if the average is collectively driving down everyone, it just feels like a lost cause.

But there are more thoughts of mine; I'm not sure how much of the above I stated I completely agree with. I generally see how the other person responds to get some insight on that.


  1. I think the guy I'm seeing is a sociopath. He doesn't cry and has no emotional stimuli from his interactions with me. I think I'm going to eat frosted flakes and cry.

  2. Who has the greatest mental prowess and manipulative charm who can wield the finest array of half-truths to convince a customer and close a sale. He sold to me my first box of frosted flakes within 30 seconds. Who does that?

  3. Now let's talk about the ACTUAL event of death. What is it like to die?
    There are many ways TO die, but what does the death state entail?
    Needless to say at the moment of death, most people will experience a surge of
    fear. This doesn't count people who are in a coma, or die in their sleep.
    We've heard about the "Near Death Experience," but that very name tells you, it
    can't be actual death. Nobody comes back from true death unless the spirit
    comes back into them. "Clinical Death,' where the person can be revived is not
    real death. Real death is when the body begins chemical breakdown. In Biblical
    times it was believed that the spirit hovered near the body for 3 days. No one
    was officially dead until after 3 days had passed. Both Lazerus and Christ were
    dead for 3 days before they were revived.
    While entering the death state is fearful, the state itself is akin to dreamless
    sleep. Everyone who has ever died from the beginning of time is in this state.

  4. There is only one person who has entered into this state that has ever
    transended the state, and that person is Jesus. He entered into the state
    and was raised from the dead after 3 days. Why did He undergo the state?
    To rescue humanity from the perminace of the state. If Christ didn't undergo the
    death state and was not raised up, there would be no hope of life after death for
    humanity. "If Christ be not raised, thy faith is in vain, and ALL who have died
    believing in Christ have PERISHED." That is why the most important historical
    event in the history of the world was the resserection of Christ. It is only through
    Christ that we have life.
    There is going to be a resserection of the righetous and the unrighteous.
    The righteous will be raised up when Christ returns. The song, "When The Saints
    Come Marching In," is about that. They will rule a refurbuished Earth for 1,000
    years. When the 1,000 years are over, the unrighteous will be raised up
    (In material bodies) to be judged. It doesn't necessarily mean that ALL or even
    most of the "unrighteous" will be sent to hell.

  5. Is there somewhere a psychopath-mentor which one can consult for a fee? Say if shy people gets called "dork" in the que to buy a hamburger by some half-monkey, what is he supposed to do? How does one handle such situations? Nodody teaches such stuff in school! No real life knowledge is taught in those places..

    1. Anon, your first fault was to evaluate the situation emotionally. Your second was to give them power over you by thinking they are a half-monkey. Your third was to misunderstand the concept of school and limiting your mind to a narrowed version of truth.

      My advices: First, stop yourself from prejudging situations. Those organisms you are surrounded with, "people", are a compound of molecular reactions, functioning within their own limited mindset. They will re-react to your reaction, especially if your reaction was caused by their action. Any lower and/or unaware creature does that. Bluntly speaking, ignore them. They didn't threat your life or ability to reach a goal after all, right?
      Second, as soon as they manage to crawl into your mind they'll poison you and slowly snuff you like arsenic. Unless this is your goal, you oughtn't want that. Instead of getting angry, you should dissect their motives and intentions to estimate the relative danger they host toward you, your power, your goals, your property and then act accordingly in the most energy-efficient way. However, if your goal is to become a train wreck you should indulge as long and intensively as possible in the hate you feel, preaching in your thoughts how little power you have and then burn the feelings down to pure frustration. Do not seek an outlet for the negative feelings, instead feed them until they become void - that should do to become a living wreckage.

      Third, school will teach you an almost endless amount of knowledge which you can use efficiently in your later life. Ever wondered why your teachers are human beings and not computers? Or why there are favourite students and least favourite students? My advice is you should sharpen your perception and learn how each teacher works. They are organic machines, working within their limited mindsets like anyone else: Find out what exactly they are looking for, mimic it and then gain the prizes. In my schooltime I rarely had to study the actual subject material but instead I studied the teacher's reactions and then simply did what was sought for by them. Problem solved.
      I can not, however, guarantee you the ability of learning this on your own. You might want to give me your full address and a date on which you'll have enough free time, like a weekend or holidays, then we'll fix an appointment so I can teach you how to do that and more if you really want to escape the ingenuous mindset of an inept shy being. You'd want to choose a time where we can be alone, we don't want your parents to be suspicious, right? Oh and the fee... well, we'll look at that when we meet, okay?

      Btw, I'm a Biomedic, so I'm the right one to consult with all kinds of problems related to living matter. Trust me.

    2. Go ahead and post them - we won't look...

    3. Well said 7:37 , haha!

    4. Supechick thank you, I'm glad to see I've been entertaining. Though it looks like I've scared poor Anon away...

    5. ;) YW. I enjoyed it. I'm sure Anon will be back.

    6. Biomedic, I thought your advices were actually bang on. What is ironic is that anon could understand what you are saying if he was able to take your advice first. A bit of a catch 22. I think he is interpreting what you are saying in an emotional manner and is unable to see how your words would help him if he put aside his emotions.

    7. Superchick, I hope they come back. Otherwise I'll have to go and search for them to get my payment. That would probably ruin the rest of my weekend.

      OldAndWise, you seem to read my mind quite well. Though it is kind of embarrassing I had to google what "catch 22" means. xD

      Btw, my profile name is NihilisticMind, I don't exactly know why I forgot to write that. I won't log in on this laptop though.

    8. LOL! I finally came back and read the exchange.

      I saw the original post and I flashed on a Bobcat Goldthwait stand up routine I saw not too long ago. There was a trope of him bending over, putting his finger to his lip, and saying, "my life is a void and I need someone to fill it up."

      I enjoyed the book Catch-22 - now that's a great study in messed up people...

    9. Is there somewhere a psychopath-mentor which one can consult for a fee? Say if shy people gets called "dork" in the que to buy a hamburger by some half-monkey, what is he supposed to do? How does one handle such situations? Nodody teaches such stuff in school! No real life knowledge is taught in those places..

      : ))

  6. Is anyone else enjoying the breaking Bill Cosby story as much as I am? I've always enjoyed his routine and thought what he had to say was interesting...but watching him get ripped apart like THAT'S schadenfreude!

    Better than a pudding pop!

    1. BC: Go head, use the meme generator! Have fun!

      Mob: Why, thank you! Don't mind if we do!


      Are we not entertained?!?!?!

    2. omg that was so funny

    3. I believe media is a bloodsport -

    4. Yea, it's pretty roman.

  7. Replies
    1. That may be your most apropos posting since I've been here! 8D~


    2. this looks like a thread on unconscious suggestion.

    3. Whew! After a long day of battling academics (academia is like a war zone), I gotta come get my Esther on. Loved that movie. Anyone see Orphan?

    4. Hi Dr. G,

      The quote in the link has been a favorite of mine for years (oft credited to Kissinger) - rings true in other organizations as well.

      I trust you gave them hell - *smirk*

    5. Thanks for the link. Where it gets humorous I suppose though is in the field of psychology everyone is nuts :P

    6. When I'm trying to describe just how crazy something is, I compare to attending an APA conference.

    7. Someone suggested staging a protest at an APA conference where people burn the DSM. I thought that was hysterical!

      If that were to actually take shape, I would have a hard time staying away. I do love that sort of chaos and drama -

    8. oh...ummm...uhhh.....uuuhh....that wasn't me :)

    9. Hi Dr. G.,

      I'm not even in the field, but I get the distinct impression that those conferences must be kind of fun in a fucked up sort of way...

      Years ago, I met a friend of an ex who was on the APA groups working on the revision. We would go to dinner when we were "in the neighborhood." I recall being regaled with stories of just how dysfunctional the groups were.

      I want to attend a conference...I do love me my train wrecks...

      By the by, I DID enjoy Dory!!! It took me a couple of days to figure out what you were talking about since I've never seen the movie, so I didn't connect the name.

    10. Also, in case anyone thinks engineers are all logical and "Spock/Data-like," they are prone to all sorts of personality and/or emotional issues.

      I've long noticed a phenomenon with newly minted engineers. Usually somewhere around the six month mark, but usually before the first year anniversary, there is a conversation that starts off along the lines of, "I can't believe how [messed up this place is]..." The run head long into the hard fact of life that, at least in my field, it's 10% technical and 90% political.

      Over the years, I think it may be that most fields are like that. We are all just people after all. ...oh but I do enjoy my train wrecks... *smirk*

    11. It's even worse in IT.

    12. Hi Damaged,

      IT has some special and unique aspects that expose people in that field to all manner of...interesting behavior. I could see it being fun and frustrating in it's own ways.

      I used to go drinking with an IT manager.- get a few drinks in him and you start to get all sorts of scuttlebutt. Not to mention some of the funnier "dumb" things people did (e.g. 30 hours a week of porn...after regular emails that everyone web browsing was being monitored; clearly those "champs" won't be called to Stockholm any time soon...).

      I imagine the "people are idiots" factor (i.e. a common perception among IT folks) is pretty high in that field.

  8. Actually, among my other crimes, I was an educator for about forty years. I started by being fired from a preschool, eventually was called a honky by black thugs, and was an instructor for a major university for about ten years. Once I was chewed out for addressing the associate director of my department as an "assistant director." I was lucky I didn't get burned at the stake. That came closer when I closed my career working for a prestigious public library where I was persecuted by a fairly major league sociopath who was one of the top administrators of the library.

    I know I keep asking this over and over again: does it make sense to describe an entire species as crazy?

  9. Yes, once I know you are a socio I will always be leery & look at you side eyed. Why? because I know your thoughts of harming others and find satisfaction with that. I know you will do it with no remorse. STOP .. stop thinking you are a unique snow flake in that you can read others better than the empath. Others have that ability. You are not unique!!! Get over yourself. You deserved to be monitored once you are "outed". You know what you are capable of in your destruction.

    1. Maybe you are the one causing all of this destruction stereotyping something you don't understand

  10. I can read people too, I understand the social dynamics and study them rationally. I can mimic behavior, lie, spot lies, predict emotional reactions. Big deal. You're not that cool.

    1. I think the writer was trying to convey the idea of what their mind is like and less trying to make it sound like they are the only one who does these things. Why and how you interpreted it the way you did just sounds stupid.

  11. People want to be told what to think, buy, and do while under the illusion that they have free will. Sociopaths are painted as people who only seek to destroy those around them. It causes people to gain fear if they interact with anyone who thinks differently than them.

    1. It gives them excuses to blame their irrational fear on some object

    2. Exactly! They don't want the responsibility.

  12. Beware of Sociopaths in the clergy. Overtly charming, covertly Spiritually and Emotionally Abusive. Be careful who you trust.

  13. Pandy butting in here, late to the party. :) Reader, I liked what you had to say in your initial post. I understand what you meant, how you process you sensory inputs - I do that too. I just somehow know stuff, make connections so swiftly (not always spot on, boo hoo)- sometimes even while sleeping I'll wake up with insights and just know how to proceed to act on things I wasn't sure about. Does anyone else do that? Wake up or suddenly become aware of answers? We used to call it intuition, maybe that's what it is but I'm not sure. This is whole new territory for me. Your thoughts? -Pandy

    1. Sometimes during a conversation I will get an image in my head before the person says it. People think it is me connecting with them but I don't feel what they say they feel. A lot of people have jumped at the idea of wanting to be in a relationship with me because of this. It is interesting how much people are willing to do for my attention.

    2. It's exactly the same thing for me. Many people really think I care for them for this reason, and because of social habit and because it will be easier to work with them later (and because it is very interesting to see how much people are willing to do to please me !) I don't tell them the truth.


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