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View Diary: Why "High-Functioning" Psychopaths Rule The World (238 comments)

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  •  The author of "The Sociopath Next Door" estimates (11+ / 0-)

    that about 10% of the population inherits sociopathy, and likely the trait has an evolutionary advantage for the group. I can imagine that when our ancestors were living on the edge in the caves, having one or two people in the group who impulsively would do ANYTHING could perhaps be a survival advantage.

    She also discusses societies that are so rigidly structured (i.e., the Japanese) that sociopaths have little room to act out.  Of course, our wide-open US society is a happy hunting ground for sociopaths--i.e. Dick Chaney, and the lazier, less intelligent W.

    As offensive as our adversaries can be, it is always the people on our own side who drive us crazy.

    by Mayfly on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:54:28 PM PDT

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    •  The author of "The Sociopath Next Door", (10+ / 0-)

      Dr. Martha Stout of Harvard, actually puts the number of sociopaths in the population at about 4%, as I mentioned in a recent diary.
      As to whether the condition is inherited, she concludes that the question is up in the air, and probably involves both genes and environment, as so many psychological conditions do.

      As to impulsivity in sociopaths, I wouldn't call that a defining characteristic. They can be controlled and cunning and "normal"-seeming. They can delay gratification, postponing and hiding their misdeeds. Cf.  Cheney, mentioned earlier.


      For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

      by psyched on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:30:25 PM PDT

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      •  4%, and people worry about ASDs at 1%. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, splashy, psyched, laurnj

        4% is a psychiatric pandemic by any standard.

        Yet people get oh-so-concerned about autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) that affect about 1% of the population.

        One of the interesting characteristics of people with ASDs who are at all functional (from at least basically communicative to almost normal) is that they have a difficult time lying.  

        Yet people on the sociopathy spectrum lie easily and often.  

        So why do you think parents are more afraid of their kid having asperger's syndrome, than having sociopathic tendencies?

        Perhaps something to do with all that power and other rewards, often monetary?

        Hmm.

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