Are you a psychopath

There was a very interesting podcast from Quirks and Quarks this week about the nature of psychopaths.  Among other tidbits, psychopaths are pretty much all sociopaths, but not all sociopaths are psychopaths.  Psychopathy is characterized by a lack of remorse, guilt, and empathy.  Sociopaths can have normal emotional response but engage in anti-social behavior anyway.  If you are worried about yourself, you can find a summary of the “Psychopathy Checklist Revised” here.  Some of the 20 listed features include: pathological lying, failure to accept responsibility for one's actions, lack of realistic long-term goals, and promiscuous sexual behavior.  Hmmm, sounds like my students.  (Just kidding!!). 

I also learned a very interesting new scientific term in this: phallometric preferences.  Apparently, psychopaths are actually more reproductively successful than average individuals.  In what had to be a really odd study to justify, researchers found that their “phallometric preferences” were strictly for post-pubescent females, as opposed to all sorts of preferences for other non-psychopathic criminals.

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