It turns out the subjects you decide to study actually go quite a long way to revealing your psychopathic tendencies…
It seems Christian Bale’s character as a driven (and manically psychotic) investment broker in American Psycho, may not be too much of a stretch away from the truth if this study is anything to go by.
Although unlikely to be axe-wielding psychopathic monsters, a study has shown how a person studying certain subjects is much more likely to have the traits of a psychopath.
Powerful CEOs and businessmen have also been portrayed as psychopaths in film and TV and now it seems there may be a tangible link between the two.
According to a study in the Personality and Individual Differences journal, people who study business and economics are more likely to be psychopaths than students taking on other subjects.
The Aarhus University in Denmark used the ominously sounding ‘dark triad’ of personality traits which includes psychopathy and narcissism, as well as the need to dominate in both social settings and in the workplace, to reach their results.
Over 400 students who were about to study a range of subjects, including psychology, politics, business economics and law, were asked to sit this slightly scary sounding test.
Interestingly, the study was carried out just before the students embarked on their choice of course, to wean out any differences in personality which could be put down to the particular subject’s ‘socialisation effects.’
The researchers wanted to find out how much of an impact personality traits play in the decision making process behind picking a certain subject and therefore a career-path.
Fascinatingly, they found psychology students scored much lower – on the likelihood of being a psychopath scale – compared to business and law students.
Assessing their findings, they concluded, certain personality traits play ‘at least part,’ of this decision making process.
To add to this, a study from last year determined law, business and economic students were ‘less agreeable,’ than those who who studied other subjects.
The results are clearly not definitive at this stage, but an intriguing link has been made nonetheless…
I probably wouldn’t worry too much about your boss yet though, unless you know he’s pretty savvy with chainsaw or an axe that is…