Five Things Everyone Needs To Know About Psychopaths

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Rosie McCall 09 Jul 2019, 14:04

For example, female psychopaths appear to more prone to anxiety, emotional problems and promiscuity than male psychopaths.

Some psychologists argue that female psychopathy is sometimes diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, instead – characterised by poorly regulated emotions, impulsive reactions and outbursts of anger. This might explain why most studies show that rates of psychopathy are lower in females.

Our latest research shows that female psychopaths seem to prefer to date non-psychopathic men in the short-term, perhaps as a plaything or to allow easy deception and manipulation. But for long-term relationships, a female psychopath will be looking for a fellow psychopath. Eventually, birds of a feather, flock together.

5. Psychopaths do have feelings … well, some feelings. While psychopaths show a specific lack in emotions, such as anxiety, fear and sadness, they can feel other emotions, such as happiness, joy, surprise and disgust, in a similar way as most of us would. So while they may struggle to recognise fearful or sad faces and are less responsive to threats and punishments, they can identify happy faces and they do respond positively when getting rewarded.

However, while winning a fiver might make you happy, a psychopath would need a bigger reward to perk them up. In other words, they can feel happy and motivated if the rewards are high enough. Of course, they can also get angry, especially in response to provocation, or get frustrated when their goals are thwarted. So Villanelle is right, to some extent. You can hurt a psychopath’s feelings, but probably different feelings and for different reasons.

Nadja Heym, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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