How to Spot a PsychopathI love finding–or inventing–ways to categorize people. I agree with philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who observed, “Every classification throws light on something.”

I’ve devised several of these, and of the ones I’ve come up with myself, my favorites are the Abstainer/Moderator distinction and the four Rubin Tendencies.

Because of this interest, I was intrigued to come across the Psychopathic Personality Inventory, a personality test for traits  associated with psychopathy (link to actual quiz below).

I think that we can all agree that one thing that does not contribute to a happy life is a relationship with a psychopath. But what traits are associated with psychopaths?

The test seeks to measure:

  • Social influence — a tendency to seem charming, persuasive

  • Fearlessness — a tendency to embrace risk without fear or anxiety
  • Stress immunity — stays cool in difficult circumstances
  • Machiavellian egocentricity — a tendency to consider only personal needs
  • Rebellious nonconformity — a tendency to neglect of social conventions and regulations
  • Blame externalization — a tendency to assign blame for problems or obstacles to other people
  • Carefree lack of planning — limited willingness to make future plans
  • Cold-heartedness — no guilt or remorse

People throw around the terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” quite frequently, but these are technical terms with very specific meanings. That said, if there’s someone in your life who seems to show many of the above traits, it might be useful to reflect on that.

Do you know anyone who fits these traits? To my great relief, I realize, I don’t.

Take the Psych Central Psychopathy Quiz Now!

 

In my research for Before and After, I’ve identified eighteen strategies for changing habits, and one of the most well-known and popular is the Strategy of Monitoring. If, like me,  you get a kick out of monitoring yourself, check out Quantified Self–”self knowledge through numbers.”

Want to volunteer as a Super-Fan? From time to time, I’ll send you a little extra something, or ask for your help–nothing too onerous, I promise. Sign up here.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 9 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Dec 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Rubin, G. (2013). How to Spot a Psychopath. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/06/how-to-spot-a-psychopath/

 

Recent Comments
  • Kate: Thanks for this great article. I have been wondering for quite some time now why my narcissistic ex dumped me....
  • pam sullens: i would say that the person who wrote this has always been aspoiled rotten able to do anything kinda kid...
  • joan winifred: Beautiful Post Dr. John:) Peace, joanie
  • Ryan: I only decided to read this article to see what nonsense it said. I wasn’t disappointed, this article is...
  • Allison: I really like the research that self-compassion can increase motivation and engagement. Good news!
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 10332
Join Us Now!