You know what you see a bit too much of, these days? Psychopath tests. Not just for the ‘we’re-99%-sure-this-person-is-a-psychopath’ cases, but everybody. You, me, your gran, your dog – they’re all over the internet.
One minute you’re flicking through Twitter, the next you’re being called out for having missed a word from a sentence which, as luck would have it, is the word psychopaths are most likely to look over.
It’s like, you know what, how about stop calling us out on simple stuff? Just because I answer unsympathetically to hypothetical situations doesn’t mean I’m a psychopath.
If I say I’m not really interested in seeing your holiday photos, it’s because I’m not interested, not something bigger.
Anyway, there’s this riddle doing the rounds and if you answer it a certain way, then it means you’re a certified Jeffrey Dahmer! Yikes!
According to Spring, it goes as follows:
A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people and you are standing on a footbridge next to a large stranger; your body is too light to stop the train, but if you push the stranger onto the tracks, killing him, you will save the five people.
Would you push the man?
Your instinct is yes. Sacrifice one person for five people.
But you could argue, ‘That one person might be a Nazi so it’s worth it.’
True, but the five others could be Nazis? Or worse – one half of a derivative breakdancing group on their way to audition for Britain’s Got Talent.
Although there’s a lot of context needed for the answer, generally speaking, if you choose to murder the man, you have higher scores on measures of psychopathy, Machiavellianism and life meaninglessness according to a study published in Science Direct.
However, co-author, Professor Daniel Bartels, a teacher at New York’s Columbia University, states there are flaws in the test.
He said in a press release:
Although the study does not resolve the ethical debate, it points to a flaw in the widely-adopted use of sacrificial dilemmas to identify optimal moral judgement.
These methods fail to distinguish between people who endorse utilitarian moral choices because of underlying emotional deficits (like those captured by our measures of psychopathy and Machiavellianism) and those who endorse them out of genuine concern for the welfare of others.
Psychology Today writes:
Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders to spot. The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, he lacks conscience and empathy, making him manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal.
She is an object of popular fascination and clinical anguish: adult psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment, though programs are in place to treat callous, unemotional youth in hopes of preventing them from maturing into psychopaths.
The terms ‘psychopath’ and ‘sociopath’ are often used interchangeably, but in correct parlance a ‘sociopath’ refers to a person with antisocial tendencies that are ascribed to social or environmental factors, whereas psychopathic traits are more innate, though a chaotic or violent upbringing may tip the scales for those already predisposed to behave psychopathically.
Have a great Monday guys!