Advertisement

'The Hare Psychopathy Checklist': The Test That Will Tell You If Someone Is A Sociopath

guest author image

Jim Edwards

Guest Author

clockNov 25 2016, 17:39 UTC

Warner bros.

In August, Dr Kevin Dutton of Oxford University ranked US president-elect Donald Trump as "above Adolf Hitler" on a standard scale used to measure potential psychopathy in adults, according to the science news site Phys.org(Hillary Clinton scored pretty highly, too).

Advertisement

That sounds like a cheap shot.

But Trump does display some of the symptoms clinicians look for when trying to diagnose psychopaths and sociopaths. (Many psychiatrists and criminologists use the terms interchangeably, but experts disagree on whether the two are meaningfully different.) In fact, most people display some symptoms of psychopathy — superficiality, glibness, promiscuous sexual behavior, etc. — and that does not make you a psychopath.

In a political leader, a few psychopathic traits may not be a bad thing, such as fearlessness, dominant behavior, and immunity to stress. Indeed, psychopaths are found in greater proportions among CEOs. Between 3% and 21% of CEOs are probably psychopaths, according to a study by Bond University psychologist Nathan Brooks. The background rate of psychopathy in the normal population is about 1%.

The standard screening test for potential psychopaths is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. In the test, a clinician interviews a potential sociopath and scores them on 20 criteria, such as "promiscuous sexual behavior" or "impulsivity." On each criterion, the subject is ranked on a 3-point scale: (0 = item does not apply, 1 = item applies somewhat, 2 = item definitely applies). The scores are summed to create a rank of zero to 40. Anyone who scores 30 and above is probably a psycho.

Advertisement

The test is supposed to be done by a professional psychologist but if you really want to take it yourself — or make a layperson's guess at Trump's psychological makeup — keep scrolling:

  1. 1. Do you have "excess glibness" or superficial charm?

United Artists

(Answer: For sociopaths, the answer to this question is yes.)

Advertisement

 

2. Do you have a grandiose sense of self-worth?

Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Advertisement

(Psychopaths do.)

 

3. Do you have an excess need for stimulation or proneness to boredom?

Advertisement

Incase/Flickr

(Psychopaths can't endure periods of the doldrums.)

 

Advertisement

4. Are you a pathological liar?

Walt Disney Productions/RKO Radio Pictures

(Psychopaths don't care about the truth.)

Advertisement

 

5. Are you conning or manipulative?

DreamWorks

Advertisement

(Psychopaths often believe they can pull the strings of the dupes around them.)

 

6. Do you display a lack of remorse or guilt?

Advertisement

Monogram Pictures

(Psychopaths don't feel bad when they do bad things.)

 

Advertisement

7. Do you have "shallow affect"?

Paramount

(Psychopaths show a lack of emotions when an emotional reaction is appropriate.)

Advertisement

 

8. Are you callous, or do you lack empathy?

Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Advertisement

(Psychopaths just don't care when bad things happen to other people.)

 

9. Do you have a "parasitic lifestyle"?

Advertisement

GlebK / Wikimedia, CC

(Psychopaths prefer not to work for a living. They feel it is easier to take stuff from other people.) 

 

Advertisement

10. Do you have poor behavioral controls?

content-1480094557-10-do-you-have-poor-bColumbia Pictures

(Psychopaths find it difficult to keep themselves in check.)

Advertisement

 

11. Do you have a history of promiscuous sexual behavior?

TriStar Pictures

Advertisement

(Psychopaths like one-night stands.)

 

12. Do you have a history of early behavioral problems?

Advertisement

20th Century Fox

(As children, psychopaths often have a history of cruelty to others.) 

 

Advertisement

13. Do you lack realistic long-term goals?

Andrew Milligan / PA Archive/Press Association Images

(Psychopaths prefer crazy schemes over life or career goals.)

Advertisement

 

14. Are you overly impulsive?

Andrew Winning/Reuters

Advertisement

(Psychopaths are very, very impulsive.)

 

15. Do you have a high level of irresponsibility?

Advertisement

Disney

(Psychopaths aren't big on doing the right thing.)

 

Advertisement

16. Do you fail to accept responsibility for your own actions?

Reuters/Bobby Yip

(When you're a psycho, it's always someone else's fault.)

Advertisement

 

17. Have you had many short-term "marital" relationships?

20th Century Fox

Advertisement

(Psychopaths have an inability to commit to, or repeatedly betray, long-term relationships.)

 

18. Do you have a history of juvenile delinquency?

Advertisement

Blue Underground

(Psychopaths start young.)

 

Advertisement

19. Have you ever experienced a "revocation of conditional release"?

Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

(Even when psychopaths catch a break — like being let out of prison on probation — they tend to screw up.)

Advertisement

 

20. Do you display "criminal versatility"?

Rockstar

Advertisement

(Psychopaths differ from normal criminals because they don't really care which type of laws they break — they'll break any of them, under the right circumstances.)

 

How did you do?

Advertisement

If you answered "somewhat" or "definitely" to most of these questions then you might be a psychopath.

If you scored lower than that — breathe easy. You're normal.


  • psychopath,

  • Hare Psychothapy checklist,

  • sociapath,

  • personality test

ABOUT THE AUTHOR