You’ve found yourself smitten by a man who’s into, uh, well, murders and executions, mostly. Don’t worry, there’s a reason.
Patrick Bateman (brilliantly portrayed by Christian Bale in 2000’s American Psycho) is fascinating. He’s an unequivocal psychopath, detaching himself from the moral rule book that dictates daily decorum while whetting his libido by dissecting women and playing with their blood.
He says it himself: ‘Do you know I’m totally insane?’ Yet, on the surface of the monster is a charming, seductive, fiercely confident businessman – and that’s what hooks people, according to a new study.
Check out the original trailer for American Psycho below:
Researchers from Brock University and Carleton University in Canada carried out an investigation into the correlation between desire and psychopathy in romantic encounters.
PhD student Kristopher Brazil recruited 46 males between the ages of 17 and 25. A female assistant then interviewed them on video, asking them about what they like to do on a first date and what they believe to be important in a relationship.
The same men were graded by the researchers on their psychopathic personality traits, as well as gauging their social intelligence and views on sex – for example, how likely they are to engage in a sexual affair outside a committed relationship.
Then, 108 women (who were either in their first or second year at university) were shown the two-minute clips of the selected males, where they rated their attractiveness, sexiness and how confident they were.
The study – published in Evolutionary Psychological Science – found the men who turned in the highest results on the psychopathic scale were more attractive to women. According to Brazil, psychopaths have a personality style that works well in dating encounters.
As reported by PsyPost, Brazil explained:
Psychopathic men have a personality style that makes them appear attractive to women in dating encounters. This may be because they are extra confident or feel at ease or know exactly what to say to get the attention of women.
Psychopathic individuals may use their charm and exciting personality to elicit trust and desire, but their ultimate goal seems to be selfish pleasure. The old cliché of getting to know someone well may be one maxim to live by to protect oneself from getting into a relationship with a psychopathic individual.
According to the American Psychological Association, psychopathy is characterised by ‘exploitation of others, deceitfulness, impulsivity, aggressiveness… [and] accompanied by lack of guilt, remorse and empathy’.
If you’re thinking of taking up psychopathy as a way to get the ladies, well, don’t. Obviously, it comes with some pretty severe consequences.
By virtue of being psychopathic, one never really fits in long-term in a social group. Connections to others are tenuous and rarely will someone have your back when it really matters. These costs should make it clear that the potential benefits of ‘investing’ in psychopathic traits as a young man will come with some negative consequences as well.
A similar debate was sparked when You dropped on Netflix – a psycho-romance thriller about an incessant stalker. Some people fetishised his passion, others were repulsed (the latter camp is where you want to be).
You may be cast under a psychopath’s spell, but remember, as Bateman says in the film: ‘I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion.’
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.