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Should Employers Screen for Psychopaths?

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posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 05:05 PM
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By the same token I think people out looking for jobs should be able to test prospective employers for psychosis.
Lord knows I have had many psychotic bosses...even worked for psychotic corporations once or twice...




posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 05:19 PM
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One should not look to the slave but to the master. Sociopathy lies more likely in the castle than the country.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 06:15 PM
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a reply to: ATODASO

psychopathy is not exclusive to mad murderer. Its simply an inability to experience appropriate emotions and empathy.

If they are watching your money/business, a psychopath is what you want. Someone who makes decisions based on logic, not feelings.

Whether it be perceived as "right" or "wrong".



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

A narcissistic sociopath might be a bad move. In particular if you don't catch it before they hop a plane after moving the company funds to an offshore account.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 04:00 AM
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originally posted by: Blaine91555
a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

A narcissistic sociopath might be a bad move. In particular if you don't catch it before they hop a plane after moving the company funds to an offshore account.


While there is still some argument over the exact definitions (and many people use the two terms interchangeably), there is a school of thought that differentiates sociopathy and psychopathy as such:

Sociopath: created by environment (ie childhood trauma) rather than medical condition ("nurture" not "nature"), generally more volatile, ability to emotionally connect/empathise is damaged rather than non-existent, less able to control themselves.

Psychopath: inherent medical condition ("nature" not "nurture"), generally able to control themselves and can function in society in a way that makes them indistinguishable from others. Lacks ability to emotionally connect/empathise, but can replace with logic - in other words, can choose to take or not take an action based on logical assessment of whether the outcome matches goals, rather than any emotive concept of "good" or "bad". In the same way, they can logically determine what the appropriate emotive response would be and mimic it convincingly.

Broad categorisations admittedly and, as always, these things come in various shades.

So, to return to your post, a sociopath is less likely to be in a position where they can steal company funds and disappear on a plane. A psychopath could, though.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:05 AM
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a reply to: Blaine91555

What we typically call "crime" are essentially acts that create a victim out of another person. We presume that it is morality, and those who violate the law are immoral.

But it doesn't take a psychopath to violate the law. To clarify, lets limit "law" to laws that prevent the victimization of other people. A very caring and loving parent can steal. I knew a lady that was wealthy, and still stole things. She wasn't a psychopath, but rather a kleptomaniac (clinically diagnosed) with poor impulse control.

And that is what it all really boils down to: impulse control. Sure, there are some folks who concoct schemes that take purposeful execution. But the vast majority of crime boils down to a decision made in a moment. A guy here about a month ago chased down someone who stole his car, then executed him for it. He had a CCW, and was carrying his pistol. The car thief picked the wrong guy in the wrong moment. And a man who was typically considered a "decent guy" got caught up in the heat of a moment, and failed to control his impulses.

The accountant who embezzles money....even that can be impulse control and just as much a crime of availability. Petty cash theft would be one of these.

One of my biggest "weaknesses" (from a corporate standpoint) is that I have uverflowing amounts of empathy for others. Many of my day to day decisions are based on emotional appeal. It makes me a "good boss" in a small business. But in a corporation I tend to draw the ire of headquarters. I would make a poor psychopath. But I have worked with several folks that I think are psychopathic. They were typically recieved as jerks, alpha personalities, "natural leaders". The ones who had impulse control typically did well for themselves. And the ones who had a habit of not getting caught did even better.

ETA: it should be noted that psychopaths can create personal habits that emulate empathy fairly well. Just a basic understnding of the golden rule gives a thoughtful and purposefully acting person a real leg up in the whole "trying to act human" thing.
edit on 9/10/2014 by bigfatfurrytexan because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:32 AM
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a reply to: Restricted

The police are hiring.

# 286



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:43 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: Blaine91555


But it doesn't take a psychopath to violate the law. To clarify, lets limit "law" to laws that prevent the victimization of other people. A very caring and loving parent can steal. I knew a lady that was wealthy, and still stole things. She wasn't a psychopath, but rather a kleptomaniac (clinically diagnosed) with poor impulse control.


my wife works in mental health, and i asked her for her take on this yesterday over dinner. she said that the poorly controlled psychos (she also said i shouldn't use that word, but i think it's comparable to using "klepto" to "kleptomaniac", so i'm gonna) are the ones who are most likely to have suffered early trauma. she said that the latest research indicates that while two people might be born with psychopathic tendencies, the ones who got beat or whatever are the ones who exhibit poor impulse control. she didn't think intelligence played into it as much as early environmental factors.

however, looking at someone like bernie madoff, you can tell that impulse control was very much part of their personality, but his lack of moral reasoning (which is based in affect) enabled him to play a long game that required a huge reserve of impulse control and a complete lack of empathy. just because a diagnosed (if they're honest) psychopath also shows impulse control doesn't render them automatically harmless.


ETA: it should be noted that psychopaths can create personal habits that emulate empathy fairly well. Just a basic understnding of the golden rule gives a thoughtful and purposefully acting person a real leg up in the whole "trying to act human" thing.


my wife is also a big fan of "dexter", which i think is a #ty show. but having sat through enough episodes, i think that's the primary premise. that if you can emulate the behavior, you eventually transform into the thing you imitate.

i think it's wishful thinking, but i guess what it comes down to is that some people are born with a certain kind of brain. it makes them good in some areas, not in others. should we segregate based on inborn (measurable) tendencies?


edit on 10-9-2014 by ATODASO because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:52 AM
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a reply to: ATODASO

I have a question for you. Do you think psychopaths are people who do not display an outward physical manifestation of their emotions? Or, those that inside do not feel or reflect on their emotions? I ask this because I see many times when there is some tragic event people act all the same in their emotional response. Often to me many tragic incidents, its like society expects us to outwardly present our emotions to others. In courtroom when someone commits a crime there is often the debate of how the suspect responded emotionally in determining their guilt. We even see that sometimes people smile in horrible situations, but this is usually a defensive response to the emotions going on inside.

So if psychopaths can fake their outward emotional response to look exactly as it should in any given situation, then I think if we are looking for psychopaths, we should look not to the smiling criminal, but to the one who shows their outward feelings exactly as they should, that say all the right words, and that convey a person learned in conveying their emotions for maximum effect. I worry more about the ones who have mastered the emotional charade and always appear to have the right emotion for the right time.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:59 AM
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originally posted by: ExPostFacto
a reply to: ATODASO

I have a question for you. Do you think psychopaths are people who do not display an outward physical manifestation of their emotions?


i dunno, bud. if i'm reading the study correctly, if you genuinely feel a thing, it will physically register.


Or, those that inside do not feel or reflect on their emotions? I ask this because I see many times when there is some tragic event people act all the same in their emotional response. Often to me many tragic incidents, its like society expects us to outwardly present our emotions to others. In courtroom when someone commits a crime there is often the debate of how the suspect responded emotionally in determining their guilt. We even see that sometimes people smile in horrible situations, but this is usually a defensive response to the emotions going on inside.


we'd have to put the electrodes on to know for sure, but from the little i've read about gsr and other tests like mris, if they were putting on a show of stoicism, their true emotional state would give a physical trace.


So if psychopaths can fake their outward emotional response to look exactly as it should in any given situation, then I think if we are looking for psychopaths, we should look not to the smiling criminal, but to the one who shows their outward feelings exactly as they should, that say all the right words, and that convey a person learned in conveying their emotions for maximum effect. I worry more about the ones who have mastered the emotional charade and always appear to have the right emotion for the right time.


that's a weird position to be in. outward displays of emotion vary a whole lot, but brain scans and other biometric measures don't. maybe that's where we're headed. i don't know what to think about that.

that's why i wrote the thread.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:00 AM
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originally posted by: ExPostFacto
a reply to: ATODASO

I have a question for you. Do you think psychopaths are people who do not display an outward physical manifestation of their emotions? Or, those that inside do not feel or reflect on their emotions?

...

So if psychopaths can fake their outward emotional response to look exactly as it should in any given situation, then I think if we are looking for psychopaths, we should look not to the smiling criminal, but to the one who shows their outward feelings exactly as they should, that say all the right words, and that convey a person learned in conveying their emotions for maximum effect.


Psychopaths do not feel emotions as we understand them, they do not form emotional bonds or have empathetic reactions. They can learn to display appropriate actions and behaviour, however.

As for the second part of your post, I see a slight flaw in your plan to identify psychopaths by looking out for people who are "behaving like everybody else"...



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:09 AM
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Psychopaths do not feel emotions as we understand them, they do not form emotional bonds or have empathetic reactions. They can learn to display appropriate actions and behaviour, however.


i disagree. anger, self-importance, boredom, and the need for control are things all people feel from time to time. it's just that with most people, that's not the ONLY thing they are able to feel.


As for the second part of your post, I see a slight flaw in your plan to identify psychopaths by looking out for people who are "behaving like everybody else"...


and now there's no need to rely on guesswork. you can look at brain architecture, galvanic response and family history at the touch of a button.


edit on 10-9-2014 by ATODASO because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:28 AM
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originally posted by: ATODASO

Psychopaths do not feel emotions as we understand them, they do not form emotional bonds or have empathetic reactions. They can learn to display appropriate actions and behaviour, however.


i disagree. anger, self-importance, boredom, and the need for control are things all people feel from time to time. it's just that with most people, that's not the ONLY thing they are able to feel.


I should clarify, by "emotions as we understand them" I mean the full range of emotions that we expect fpeople to feel, and in the situations that we would expect them to be felt.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:35 AM
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originally posted by: EvillerBob

I should clarify, by "emotions as we understand them" I mean the full range of emotions that we expect fpeople to feel, and in the situations that we would expect them to be felt.


bob, i hope i'm not putting you on the spot, but what range/type of emotions could we expect them to feel, and in what situations?



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:42 AM
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a reply to: ATODASO

Why would you separate?

Would we be having this discussion if we were talking about other inborn traits? Like dark skin? Dminished mental capability? Gender? How about nationality or religion (which people are born into)?

While I am no fan of the slippery slope fallacy, I also have to recognize that it isn't always fallacious to recognize it.

On a side note, from my years working in mental health it seemed to me that the folks with the worst impulse control tended to be those with an organic brain disorder (closed head trauma, inhalent usage, etc). Psychopathy is, in my estimation, more about the wiring of the brain. Its not a malfunction, its just a different wiring. Any behavior taken to an extreme is bad.

I think what tends to get tossed into the mix is "borderline personality disorder", kind of confusing exactly what it is that is being talked about (like people who believe schizophrenia has something to do with multiple personality disorder).



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:56 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: ATODASO

Why would you separate?

Would we be having this discussion if we were talking about other inborn traits? Like dark skin? Dminished mental capability? Gender? How about nationality or religion (which people are born into)?


the difference here is that you can reliably correlate abnormal brain development to antisocial behavior, which you can't do with race, nationality or gender.


While I am no fan of the slippery slope fallacy, I also have to recognize that it isn't always fallacious to recognize it.


who's pretty enough to be in gattaca then?


On a side note, from my years working in mental health it seemed to me that the folks with the worst impulse control tended to be those with an organic brain disorder (closed head trauma, inhalent usage, etc). Psychopathy is, in my estimation, more about the wiring of the brain. Its not a malfunction, its just a different wiring. Any behavior taken to an extreme is bad.


i read about that guy who took a railroad tie to the dome and survived to be super inappropriate. but if the different wiring can be detected, and the guy who has it is at a statistically higher risk to # his company or clients over...


I think what tends to get tossed into the mix is "borderline personality disorder", kind of confusing exactly what it is that is being talked about (like people who believe schizophrenia has something to do with multiple personality disorder).


that seems like a bull# disorder with no physionomical means of diagnosis. there's no bpd brain. there is a psychopathic one.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 11:11 AM
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a reply to: ATODASO

BPD is a true disorder, as there are clinical observations that go into identifying the maladaptive traits.

Psychopathy....there aren't maladaptive traits. Just a different approach to the human experience. Sure, you can introduce all manner of mental defects into a psychopathic brain with devastating and catastrophic results. But that is introducing a mental illness into the equation, which can only create chaos.

The psychopathic brain...it isn't maladaptive. Unless one has the perspective that choosing to not be social with others is "wrong". Which tends to be the popular view of the psychiatric world: we are going to drug you and shock you into being normal, whether you like it or not". All the while ignoring that there really is no "normal"....just a vast expanse of grey shouldered on each side by thin strips of black and white.

The majority of the traits you are ascribing to psychopathy actually relate more to BPD or sadistic behaviors (which are typically learned). It is estimated that 3% of males (and 1% of females) are psychopathic. The vast majority live life unknown as psychopaths. The only time it becomes of note clinically is when typical clinical actions don't work, creating this special class of "crazy" that is somehow worse than regular "crazy". But its only worse because it more readily defies what is known collectively as "abnormal psychology".



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

I'm enjoying your posts on this.

I remember reading an interesting article about twenty years ago that discussed how true sociopaths learn to fake emotion and how that came about. It said that as infants they would learn if I do A then B will happen and by the time they were adults, they mastered the art of faking emotion they do not feel.

You are right about the differences between large and small business. In a large company there is a wall between those who hand down the orders and no need to interact on a personal basis.

In a small business I must have a personal relationship with everyone, as I deal directly with them constantly and I imagine it's very much the same for you. One person on staff who is not of reasonable sensitivities and uncaring about others can do incredible damage in a short amount of time. I have to listen and care about them or the relationship would never work.



posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 12:15 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: ATODASO

BPD is a true disorder, as there are clinical observations that go into identifying the maladaptive traits.


i'm really digging your posts here, bud. i'm gonna throw the same question out again, though.

according to my wife, bpd is the blanket diagnosis shrinks give to drama-prone women they don't like. according to the internet, bpd is probably heritable. ok, if it's heritable, it'll eventually be something that's just as trackable as psychopathy.

so, should employers screen for bpd?



posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: ATODASO

I think BPD can be boiled down to 1 thing: impulsivity. Decisions are made in the moment without regard long term ramifications. I think you can also throw in a healthy dose of self loathing mixed with self fulfilling prophecies. Essentially, the BPD fears separation and rejection more than anything, but continually exhibits behaviors which drive that which they are most afraid of.

But at the end of the day, a diagnosis is just a diagnosis. From a legal standpoint, someone with a diagnosis of any kind can become a "protected class". Hiring decisions cannot be made based on diagnosis, or you risk an EEOC audit and an ADA lawsuit.

It is typical for employers to issue personality tests to current employers. I have taken a few in my time working for a corporation ( www.pdpglobal.com... , if anyone is interested in what they are). It is a good method to determine the traits that your employees have, so you can identify the traits you are looking for in new employees (or in supervisory promotions).

I am also familiar with creating interview questions based on these types of things. Basically, you have a firm analyze your staff to determine what traits exist among staff who have performance records. You end up with some strange questions to ask new hires, with a range of "red, yellow, green" as indicators as to whether or not you should hire them. Strange questions such as, "Do you prefer brocolli or carrots?" I know one guy who is very, very wealthy and this is how he hires for his company.

You can hire based on personality, or even seemingly random questions. but the moment you base a decision on gender, religion, weight, medical history, pregnancy, disability, having children....you are likely to end up in court.




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