“People who score high in primary psychopathy lack empathy and are cool-headed and fearless. They don’t react to things that cause other people to feel stressful, fearful, or angry” according to Professor Charlice Hurst from Notre Dame University in Indiana.
She argues that businesses run by psychopaths end up as psychopath traps employing similar types as people with normal emotions can’t stand the toxic environment and leave.
She asked over 300 experienced employees about two fictional managers. One was adept at corporate speak but bullied people, showed a total lack of empathy, and took credit for others’ work. The other was inspirational, supportive, and considerate. Both were said to be equally valued and respected by the company.
Asked about working for the two managers and how angry it would make them working for him all said they would be happy working for the supportive one and most disliked the bully. But some people saw no difference and that depended on their own level of psychopathy.
Those with high levels weren’t upset by being abused at work and even said they felt more engaged at work. It could mean that a company led by psychopaths ends up with a highly engaged workforce of psychopaths.
“Psychopaths thriving under abusive supervisors would be better positioned to get ahead” said Hurst. “Companies with a problem with endemic abuse might notice increased turnover among employees low in primary psychopathy and retention of those high in primary psychopathy”
I’ve always thought that toxic workplaces need both a psychopath at the top and a culture that encourages bullying and abuse.
It’s well known that psychopaths are attracted to positions of power. There is extensive literature on the dark side triad of psychopathy, machiavellianism, and narcissism.
Scientists have found that the more psychopathic traits people have the less likely they are to yawn.
Generally speaking yawning is contagious; someone yawns and before you know it everyone is at it.
This latest study, published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, tested 135 students on measures of machiavellianism, coldheartedness, and rebellious non-conformity.
They were then shown a video in which people exhibited a variety of expressions including yawning. The researchers then measured how often the students yawned. Those who scored highest on the coldheartedness scale were less likely to yawn.
The study was partly to validate the idea that yawning was about empathy, as suggested by previous research on showing empathy to others.
After generally receiving a bad press, including in the management literature, psychopaths may be gaining respectability . Well-known psychopath Andy McNab, ex SAS man turned author, is promoting the values of being a good i.e. normal or socialised, sociopath in a series of books and workbooks with psychologist Kevin Dutton.
Not sure people like Fred the Shred and Bob Diamond need such advice!
Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain.
Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up.
Scientists,reporting in Brain, say their research explains how psychopaths can be both callous and charming.
The team proposes that with the right training, it could be possible to help psychopaths activate their “empathy switch”, which could bring them a step closer to rehabilitation.
- Placed in an fMRI scanner, 18 criminals with psychopathy and 26 control subjects were asked to watch a series of clips without a particular…
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Brain scans can identify psychopaths even in childhood because they have no empathy when seeing people in pain
Children who were aggressive or cruel had reduced brain activity in response to images of others in pain
Brain scans can be used to identify children who may be potential psychopaths, new research has shown.
Scientists have found that certain areas of a psychopath’s brain showed a reduced activity in response to images of others in pain.
The regions affected are those known to play a role in empathy, the ability to relate to other people’s feelings.
Scientists say the patterns could act as a marker to single out children at a risk of becoming adult psychopaths.
A total of 55 boys aged 10 to 16 were assessed in the study.
Of these, 37 met the criteria for children with ‘conduct problems’ (CP) according to questionnaire answers provided by parents and teachers.
CP children display a plethora of antisocial traits including aggression and dishonesty.
Like the central character in Lionel Shriver’s novel…
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