(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have identified five key personality traits that are common among known psychopaths.
American researchers looked for commonalities in six men: Ted Bundy, Bernie Madoff, Clyde Barrow, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Chuck Yeager. All of them are considered psychopaths.
Today, many people and even fictional characters are mistakenly referred to as psychopaths. But how are psychopaths really different?
If you think that psychopaths are exclusively serial killers, then you are mistaken. The diagnosis of psychopathy is given to people who are unable to empathize and deeply experience complex emotions (such as attachment, guilt, and joy).
But scientists from Longwood University and the University of Kentucky, USA, note that there is still serious debate about the main features of psychopathy. “One approach to addressing this issue is to identify traits that are present in people who are real or even prototypical examples of psychopathy,” the authors of the new work write .
According to the team, Ted Bundy, Clyde Barrow, Bernie Madoff, Chuck Yeager and two fictional characters – James Bond and Sherlock Holmes – have previously been described as psychopaths.
How was the study
For the study, the team prepared case histories for each of the six men. The researchers then recruited volunteers to read these case histories and rate each of the men on a wide range of traits, which were listed on the various psychopathy scales used in previous studies.
Eight traits were found to be common to all six men: low vulnerability, low self-awareness, low anxiety, fearlessness, boldness, assertiveness, dominance, and desire for emotion. However, these traits can be used to describe people who are not considered psychopaths, so they may not be reliable in current diagnostic schemes.
Meanwhile, five undeniably psychopathic traits have been associated with antagonism: callousness, manipulativeness, dishonesty, arrogance, and cruelty. Yeager, Bond, and Holmes did not display these antagonistic traits, so they cannot be called psychopaths in the team’s opinion.
These three men may have been misidentified as psychopaths in the past simply because of their fearlessness, courage, assertiveness, and dominance traits that are common to, but not exclusive to, psychopaths.
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