Why do some people become psychopaths? (30 Jan 2014)

Professor Essi Viding, UCL Psychology and Language Sciences

Although childhood behavioural problems are relatively common, not all problems develop for the same reason, and only a few individuals will go on to develop psychopathy in adulthood. This lecture reviews behavioural problems in children, in terms of genetics, brain function and development, and considers why some children may be at an increased risk of developing psychopathy when they grow up.

Narcissistic & Psychopathic Emotional Manipulation | Can it be avoided?

This video answers the question: How can people that are narcissistic and psychopathic use emotions to manipulate people? What I’m really talking about here is a specific type of manipulation, where people try to elicit a specific emotion to achieve objective. We know this tends to be more associated, as a behavior anyway, with narcissism and psychopathy. Somebody doesn’t have to be narcissistic or psychopathic to be manipulative. When we talk about emotions what we see is that emotions are thought of as helpful.

If we look at emotions, we see there are only six basic emotions and they are present across all cultures. The emotions are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
Emotions are simple, immediate, and they’re constricted to really just six types, although the amount of expression would be different depending on the situation.

11:46
typically without the personality traits
of narcissism and psychopathy another
reason that narcissists encyc could pass
they’re so successful manipulation is
they lack empathy and this is a real key
even at the subclinical level here even
if somebody has narcissism and
psychopathy but doesn’t rise to the
level of any type of disorder any type
of mental disorder they’re still gonna
have some lack of empathy and that’s
going to be enough to facilitate
emotional manipulation in some cases now
we talked about specifically grandiose
narcissism and psychopathy so leaving
out vulnerable narcissism for a moment
we see the individuals with grandiose
narcissism and individuals who are
psychopathic are not vulnerable to
emotions right they’re exempt from the
rules they’re not invested and this gets
into what I call the trail of
destruction so imagine like an
individual who’s in a totally fireproof
suit
it’s not only fireproof but it’s
resistant to heat they can pour gasoline
everywhere and play with matches if
something burns they’re ok with that
if
something doesn’t burn they’re ok with
that too another expression here is
they’re playing with the houses money so
if they go into a casino and the people
the casinos say look here’s $10,000 but
you have to gamble it it’s not a big
deal you’re playing with the houses
money it’s not your money you’re not
losing anything you’re not risking
anything and that’s kind of how we look
at this grandiose narcissist and
Psychopaths don’t have anything to lose
because they’re not again they’re not
vulnerable to emotions
they don’t have to play by the same
rules they don’t have a way to get hurt
with the emotions the same as somebody
who does not have those personality
traits now the last reason that
narcissist in Psychopaths can be
successful with emotional manipulation
is they tend to be attracted to the
suffering of other people
sometimes we
call this schadenfreude oh right the joy
and the suffering of others except with
narcissism and psychopathy it’s a little
more intense and if somebody lacks
empathy and they’re not vulnerable to
emotions and they like what other people
suffer it makes sense more or less why
they would use emotional manipulation
from their point of view that’s logical
it helps them to meet their goals so
what do all these strategies have in
common I find this pretty interesting we
look at all the emotional manipulation
strategies including examples I used
before what they have in common well
they’re all immature right that’s what
they really have in common they indicate
immaturity not sophistication so we know
that school-age children know these
tricks they use these tricks of
emotional manipulation
so why do they
work on adults why they continue to work
as people grow older that’s because
people believe that emotions and
feelings necessitate a response again
they tell us something important we
should listen to them follow your heart
go with your gut trust your intuition
all those phrases are based on
separating yourself from logic and
following emotions even though there’s
not strong evidence that they always
point in the right direction now another
reason these strategies work is
impulsivity it’s hard to discount the
power of impulsivity so this is when
somebody has a negative emotion or
positive motion and they fail to
restrain themselves they feel compelled
to act on that emotion so impulsivity
again is a big part and believing that
emotions tell us something important is
a big part of it so when somebody
realizes that emotional manipulation is
occurring how can it be stopped how can
we stop emotional manipulation from half
well I talked about this in videos
before boundaries boundaries are a real
key
follow the rules that you set all
the boundaries that you set before
experiencing an emotion so don’t wait
until a time when the emotions are
strong make those rules make those rules
when the emotions are expressed at a
relatively low level or there’s no
emotion now when people fail to react to
efforts to manipulate that will
eventually extinguish the behavior
right
so another tactic here would be to cut
off the reward so if somebody’s trying
to manipulate you and you react to that
that’s only rewarding them for that
attempt to manipulate so we can think
about it from the point of view of like
operant conditioning right goes back to
the roots of behaviorism if there’s an
animal being used in an experiment and
they have to press a button to get a
pellet of food and every time they press
that button the power of food comes down
they’re gonna continue to press that
button if the reinforcement schedule has
changed so they have to press the button
twice they’re still gonna do it they’re
gonna press it twice and get the palette
of food and this number can be increased
quite a bit they can have to press the
button ten times or twenty times and
they’ll still do it because they know
that eventually they’re gonna get that
food so the only way to really
extinguish the behavior is to never
reinforce it
it’s really surprising how
many times people will engage in
behaviors without the reward because
they know it’s still possible now I’ve
heard another argument in this area that
another tactic here would be to have the
opposite reaction that the manipulator
expects but in my experience this is
still a reward this is still a response
and it may not be the response the
person wants but it still may bring some
sort of pleasure or be satisfactory so I
would say that’s not always a good
strategy no reaction I think in terms of
behaviorism is a more effective strategy
most of the time now these ideas about
how to avoid emotional manipulation
they’re not the same thing as not having
emotions rather not engaging in a
behavior
or at least not engaging in it when the
person who’s narcissistic or
psychopathic or whoever they are can see
you if you have to react if there’s no
way to kind of suppress that reaction
have that reaction in a place where you
could not be observed by the person who
is attempting the manipulation again
whether their narcissistic psychopathic
or not that’s still a way to avoid
rewarding them so I know whenever I talk
about narcissism psychopathy
manipulation whether it’s emotional or
not there are always going to be
different thoughts people are going to
agree or disagree or have other opinions
please put those opinions in the
comments section they always generate a
really interesting dialogue as always I
hope you found this description of
emotional manipulation to be interesting
thanks for watching

Inside Cornell: Analyzing the words of psychopaths

Using computerized text analysis, Cornell professor of communication Jeff Hancock and colleagues at the University of British Columbia found that psychopathic criminals tend to make identifiable word choices when talking about their crimes. Hancock and UBC professor of psychology Michael Woodworth discussed the implications of their study at the October 17, 2011 Inside Cornell session at Cornell’s ILR Conference Center in Midtown Manhattan.

When Trolls and Crybullies Rule the Earth

How technology reshapes consciousness.

Over the past several years, teenage suicide rates have spiked horrifically. Depression rates are surging and America’s mental health over all is deteriorating. What’s going on?

My answer starts with technology but is really about the sort of consciousness online life induces.

When communication styles change, so do people. In 1982, the scholar Walter Ong described the way, centuries ago, a shift from an oral to a printed culture transformed human consciousness. Once, storytelling was a shared experience, with emphasis on proverb, parable and myth. With the onset of the printing press it become a more private experience, the content of that storytelling more realistic and linear.

As L.M. Sacasas argues in the latest issue of The New Atlantis, the shift from printed to electronic communication is similarly consequential. I would say the big difference is this: Attention and affection have gone from being private bonds to being publicly traded goods.

That is, up until recently most of the attention a person received came from family and friends and was pretty stable. But now most of the attention a person receives can come from far and wide and is tremendously volatile.

Sometimes your online post can go viral and get massively admired or ridiculed, while other times your post can leave you alone and completely ignored. Communication itself, once mostly collaborative, is now often competitive, with bids for affection and attention. It is also more manipulative — gestures designed to generate a response.

People ensconced in social media are more likely to be on perpetual alert: How are my ratings this moment? They are also more likely to feel that the amount of attention they are receiving is inadequate.

As David Foster Wallace put it in that famous Kenyon commencement address, if you orient your life around money, you will never feel you have enough. Similarly, if you orient your life around attention, you will always feel slighted. You will always feel emotionally unsafe.

New social types emerge in such a communications regime. The most prominent new type is the troll, and in fact, Americans have elected a troll as the commander in chief.

Trolls bid for attention by trying to make others feel bad. Studies of people who troll find that they score high on measures of psychopathy, sadism and narcissism. Online media hasn’t made them vicious; they’re just vicious. Online has given them a platform to use viciousness to full effect.

Trolls also score high on cognitive empathy. Intellectually, they understand other people’s emotions and how to make them suffer. But they score low on affective empathy. They don’t feel others’ pain, so when they hurt you, they don’t care.

Trolling is a very effective way to generate attention in a competitive, volatile attention economy. It’s a way to feel righteous and important, especially if you claim to be trolling on behalf of some marginalized group.

Another prominent personality type in this economy is the crybully. This is the person who takes his or her own pain and victimization and uses it to make sure every conversation revolves around himself or herself. “This is the age of the Cry-Bully, a hideous hybrid of victim and victor, weeper and walloper,” Julie Burchill wrote in The Spectator a few years ago.

The crybully starts with a genuine trauma. The terrible thing that happened naturally makes the crybully feel unsafe, self-protective and self-conscious to the point of self-absorption. The trauma makes that person intensely concerned about self-image.