Myths about Psychopaths: they can’t feel emotions and can’t be cured

(ORDO NEWS) — In many TV shows, we see that psychopaths are not amenable to treatment and, in general, act as absolute villains. But is it really true?

TV shows about criminals show us psychopaths as terminally ill people who need to commit crimes and kill. However, in reality things are different.

One of the most common crime series character types is the psychopath who commits brutal murders, acts recklessly, and sits coolly in front of law enforcement officers.

Although these shows are clearly fiction, many viewers take what is happening in them at face value and, for example, believe that people with psychopathy are not able to heal or that they do not experience emotions.

Such depictions leave viewers with the impression that people with psychopathy are uncontrollably angry, incapable of feeling emotions, and incorrigible.

But plenty of research shows that the sensationalist concepts of psychopathy used to create these narratives are counterproductive and just plain wrong.

What is psychopathy really

Psychopathy is classified by psychologists as a personality disorder defined by a combination of charm, superficial emotions, lack of regret or remorse, impulsiveness, and delinquency.

About 1% of the general population meets the diagnostic criteria for psychopathy, about twice the prevalence of schizophrenia. The exact causes of psychopathy have not been established, but most scientists conclude that both genetics and the environment contribute to it.

Psychopathy is costly to individuals and society as a whole. People with psychopathy commit two to three times more crimes than those engaging in antisocial behavior and make up approximately 25% of prisoners.

They also commit new crimes after being released from custody or supervision at a much higher rate than other offenders.

People with psychopathy tend to start substance use at an earlier age and will try more types of substances than others. There is also some evidence that people with psychopathy tend to respond poorly to conventional drug therapy.

The reality is much more subtle and hopeful than the media’s bleak narratives. Contrary to most beliefs, psychopathy is not synonymous with violence.

It is true that people with psychopathy are more likely to commit violent crimes than people without the disorder, but violent behavior is not a requirement for a diagnosis of psychopathy.

Some researchers argue that key features of psychopathy are present in people who do not exhibit violent behavior but are prone to impulsive and risk-taking behavior, take advantage of others, and have little regard for the consequences of their actions. These traits can be seen in politicians, CEOs and financiers.

The belief that people with psychopathy are devoid of emotions is widespread not only among ordinary citizens, but also among psychologists.

There is some truth to this: some studies have shown that people with psychopathy show a reduced ability to process emotions and recognize other people’s emotions.

But other researchers are finding more and more evidence that people with psychopathy can indeed identify and experience emotions under the right circumstances.


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