Recent psychological studies reveal some really weird psychopathic traits, some of which may surprise you.
We now know that psychopaths are not necessarily cold-hearted killers who frequently go on murderous sprees, operating on the fringes of society. There are some psychopathic traits, however, identified by experts such as Robert Hare, who devised the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. There are around 20 different traits that help to identify a psychopath, these include:
- glib and superficial charm
- grandiose sense of self
- pathological lying
- cunning and manipulative
- lack of remorse or guilt
- lack of empathy
However, there are some weird psychopathic traits you might not have heard of. Research has revealed some of the stranger characteristics that psychopaths share, here are eight of them:
1. Psychopaths have a poor sense of smell
A typical human can identify ten types of different smells, including chemical, fruity, coffee and popcorn. Researchers at the Macquarie University in Sydney discovered that psychopaths have trouble identifying certain smells.
The study used 79 non-criminal psychopaths and gave them sticks imbued with scents containing various smells such as coffee, orange and leather. The results showed that the higher the psychopaths scored on the psychopathy test the worse their sense of smell was.
2. Psychopaths tend to post more selfies
If your man continually posts selfies on social media, you might have a psychopath on your hands. One study from Ohio State explored the correlation between narcissistic men and psychopathy. The results showed that men who posted more selfies on social media were much more likely to have psychopathic traits.
3. Psychopaths use the same language
Psychopaths are known to have the gift of the gab and can appear to be glib and witty, but they also use particular words and language. In research led by Jeffrey Hancock at Cornell University, 52 murderers were interviewed, in particular, about their crimes.
A computer program was then used to analyze the data and a few idiosyncrasies in their speech were noted. For example, they always talked in the past tense and frequently said words such as ‘um’ and ‘ah’ more.
4. Psychopaths do not learn from their mistakes
Most of us learn from our mistakes, however, not psychopaths, according to one study from the University of Montreal. MRI scans were performed on three groups, healthy non-offenders, violent offenders who had psychopathic traits, and violent offenders with no psychopathy. Image-matching games were played to all three groups and it was noted that the ones with psychopathy did not change the way they behaved in relation to the “punishment” in the game.
Researchers believed that this is because psychopaths only view the positive consequences of their actions, not the negative ones.
5. Female and male psychopaths may be very different
Although there are male and female psychopaths, you rarely hear about female ones. Why is this? Researchers believe that society has problems accepting that women can commit violent crimes, and this could be true.
Studies show that whilst male psychopaths are dangerous to others, female psychopathy manifests itself as mental illnesses, so it is harder know exactly what they are thinking and to identify them.
6. Presidents have many psychopathic traits
Do you have a favorite US president? Unfortunately, most of them have psychopathic tendencies.
Researchers from Emory University examined every US president and rated them according to certain factors, including abuse of power, handling crises and extramarital affairs. None of the presidents were fully psychopathic, but many ticked a lot of Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist. The US president that scored the highest was Teddy Roosevelt, with John F. Kennedy second and Franklin D. Roosevelt third.
7. Psychopaths and heroes are remarkably similar
That person who has just rushed into a burning building and saved the lives of innocents? You could call them a hero, but studies show that equally, they might also be a psychopath.
Heroes and psychopaths have many traits that overlap, including impulsivity, breaking the rules, and one who challenges authority. Often described as ‘twigs off the same branch’, the very characteristics that make one person a hero, can also make a psychopath.
8. Psychopaths prefer rap music
If you want to spot a psychopath, then simply listen to what music they play. Psychopaths tend to listen more to rap music, according to a new study, with acts such as Eminem and Blackstreet scoring highly. The study played 260 songs to 200 people alongside tests for psychopathy and the preference for rap was revealed.
Anything that gives us greater insight into identifying psychopaths is certainly a good thing. So have you been surprised by our list of weird psychopathic traits and can you add to it?