Six giveaway signs that you might actually be a psychopath

Rob Waugh
Contributor

“You talkin’ to me, Clarice?”

Charming, successful in business, great in a crisis – it sounds like a recipe for the perfect colleague.
But those are all traits associated with psychopathy.

Having psychopathic traits doesn’t necessarily mean you have a cellar full of dead people and enjoy pairing human liver with a nice chianti, though.

Around 1% of people are thought to have some psychopathic traits, such as being charming, impulsive, and failing to take responsibility for behaviour.

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Here’s a few behaviours which could be a telltale sign that you have psychopathic traits.

You’re prone to going for immediate gratification

Are you prone to going for immediate rewards – sex, money, booze – rather than playing the long game?

Psychopathic people have brains which ‘overvalue immediate rewards’, according to Harvard researchers.

Joshua Buckholtz, associate professor of psychology at Harvard said, ‘The assumption has always been that they (psychopaths) make these bad choices because they can’t generate negative emotions like fear, or appropriately respond to emotional signals generated by other people … but we turned that idea on its head.’

You don’t think about consequences

Psychopaths are prone to acting without imagining what the consequences might be, Buckholtz says – and it’s almost like a ‘blindness’.

Buckholtz said, ‘It’s almost like a blindness to future regret.

‘When something happens, they feel regret, but what they can’t do is look forward and use information that would tell them they’re going to feel regret to guide their decision-making.’

You’re great in a crisis

One scientist suggests that a key thing to look out for is ‘bold’ behaviour – such as being expert at managing crises, a scientist suggests.

Writing on The Conversation, Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology at Emory University says, ‘The lab at Emory University, and that of collaborators at Florida State University, are investigating whether some psychopathic traits, such as boldness, predispose to certain successful behaviours.

‘Boldness encompasses poise and charm, physical risk-taking and emotional resilience.

‘In studies, researchers have found boldness is modestly tied to impulsive heroic behaviours, such as intervening in emergencies.

You’re doing well in business

Researchers at Bond University in Australia and the University of San Diego examined 261 professionals in supply chain management – and found that 21% had ‘clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits’.

A study of 261 corporate professionals in the supply chain management industry revealed that 21 percent of these individuals have ‘clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits.’

This is compared with about one in 100 people from the general population, and one in five people in the prison system found to have these traits.

You don’t catch yawns

Psychopaths lack empathy with other people – and one of the ways this manifests itself is that they never ‘catch’ yawns from other people.

Researchers from Baylor University in Texas found that people who have psychopathic traits are less likely to yawn after seeing somebody near them yawn.

You enjoy ‘No Diggity’ by BlackStreet

A recent study found that psychopaths are (perhaps surprisingly) often Blackstreet fans.
Among 200 people under test, those with the highest scores for psychopathy tended to prefer rap songs out of a list of tunes – rating No Diggity and Eminem’s Lose Yourself the highest.

Interestingly, fans of The Knack’s irresistibly hummable My Sharona were found to be the least psychopathic.

The researchers hope that by identifying typical music tastes for psychopaths, they might be able to pinpoint people in the workplace.