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Frequently Asked Questions
- What exactly is a psychopath?
A psychopath (or P, plural Ps, as we shall sometimes refer to them) is a person who lacks a conscience and has no empathy for other human beings. To them the world is mostly populated by gullible foolish robots (you and me) that they can easily manipulate at will. They may look and sometimes will act like normal people, and only a minority are sadistic killers like Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy (two famous psychopaths). Ps cause no end of problems for others because of their various controlling and evil behaviors, for which they may mimic remorse but never feel it. Having a psychopath in your life can be worse than getting cancer. But all we can do here is scratch the surface, and there is no point reinventing the wheel. To fully understand the scope of psychopathy, we recommend that you read Dr. Dare's excellent book, Without Conscience. You should consider it required reading if there is a P in your life.
- What is a sociopath?
The word sociopath is synonymous with psychopath.
- Why are psychopaths the way they are?
Nobody knows for sure, but there is good evidence that psychopathy can be traced in some cases to damaged frontal lobes of the brain. Those are the forward areas of both hemispheres of the brain which are more or less above the eyes. The frontal lobes appear to be where in the brain final decisions are made, just before action is initiated. Although nobody knows what a "conscience" is in the brain in terms of structure and function, we surmise that Ps may be missing a conscience entirely or whatever conscience they do have may simply be disconnected from the decision-making process in their frontal lobes. Whatever the defect, Ps are vicious, evil monsters beyond the belief of those who don't know one. They will lie and cheat and steal and turn right around and deny whatever horrible thing it was that they just did. You must never allow a psychopath to endanger your children.
- How can I be certain that someone I know is a psychopath?
It isn't easy. A formal diagnosis requires a mental health specialist who is trained at recognizing Ps and who is able to administer a carefully controlled test originated by Dr. Robert D. Hare, author of Without Conscience. However, Ps are natural con artists and can oftentimes completely flimflam trained professionals, so you should be very careful that the professional is fully aware of the manifestations of psychopathy.
It also depends somewhat on your situation; you may have an urgent need to prove that someone is a psychopath in a court of law, for example. But you can also discover for yourself if someone fits the mold by reading Dr. Dare's excellent book, Without Conscience. His book may very well tell you all that you need to know.
- What percentage of the population is made up of psychopaths?
Unknown. But approximately 20% of the prison population is believed to be psychopaths (both male and female), and more than 50% of all serious crimes are believed to be committed by psychopaths (Dare, p. 87).
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