Understanding psychopaths

Understanding psychopaths


An interesting article



The successful TV series Dexter, based on Jeff Lindsay’s novels of the same name, follows Dexter Morgan, a forensic blood spatter expert for the Miami Dade Police Department.

He hunts down people who have escaped justice and then kills them. Quirky, charming but often murderously violent Dexter’s character oscillates between normality and controlled psychopathic fury.

But does Dexter represent the typical psychopathic serial killer? For that matter do psychopaths really exist or are they, as some psychologists believe, simply a media and writers’ beat-up, a condition that has never been scientifically established?

While I am sceptical about many psychological categorisations and believe that it is always difficult to pigeon-hole humans into neat diagnostic packages, there is a great deal of evidence that psychopaths really do exist.

More surprising to many is that violent serial killers — such as Ted Bundy, Australian child killer Derek Percy or even fiction’s Dexter — are not necessarily stereotypical psychopaths.

While many psychopaths are violent criminals, others prefer to stay within the bounds of the law and achieve their career or interpersonal aspirations by manipulation and intimidation.

Indeed, there is an increasing amount of evidence that corrupt politicians and businessmen, unethical lawyers, some radical activists and many others who may have reached positions of authority or power have psychopathic personalities. And these are the psychopaths we are more likely to encounter or be affected by in our lives.


Source: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/10/01/2701728.htm


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