If I tell you the word "psychopath", several icons of modern culture come to your mind.
Indeed, we can observe this pathology in various fictional characters (or real) in the cinema, on television, in literature, etc., which cause fascination, fear, curiosity and rejection at the same time.
Why do these people attract us so much? What is happening in their minds and in their way of acting so that we seek explanations and possible justifications?
Psychopathy is classified as a personality disorder. That is to say thatit is a way of being that is characterized by domination through the threat, by the absence of guilt and remorse, and manipulation to achieve one's own interests; all this while keeping a perfectly normal appearance.
Is it a mental illness?
Psychopathy is often confused with psychotic disorders. The main difference between them is that the former does not present hallucinations or other forms of irrational thoughts, and that at no time does the individual lose ground with reality.
In reality, the presence of these people in society is very low in terms of statistics, while their criminality is disproportionate when they commit these acts. However, do not confuse diagnosis and crime, because most are integrated into society.
This phenomenon has been studied in the world of work, in cases of conjugal violence, and on great statesmen (Stalin, Milosevic, Mugabe, Hussein, etc.). The industrial psychologist Babiak has carried out studies even allowing to define a series of characteristic actions.
What do they feel? What are they thinking?
Cleckley has 16 criteria. In its list we can find an absence of basic emotional reactions, an inability to love, an absence of anxiety, a charming personality, a lack of feelings of guilt and shame, the use of lying and an impersonal sex life, among others.
In reality, two types are distinguished: the primary type and the secondary type.
The primary type groups the insensitive, without remorse, manipulators, deceiving others and being arrogant. Violence is a way for them to get what they want.
The secondary type includes those who have difficulty tolerating boredom, who act without thinking about the consequences, and who are impulsive and violent.
Studies to assess the empathic capacity of psychopaths revealed that they had no problem feeling empathy for the happiness of an outsider, but that they had more trouble with fear.
They have difficulties to be sympathetic to others. They have no emotional reaction.
Are there bad people in nature?
There are several theories on this subject and some are based on the idea that the main cause is biological.
Scientists have taken as a reference the feeling of fear when faced with situations of suffering / chastisement and the fear response to signs of suffering / chastisement. The study concluded that primary psychopaths were reckless.
Indeed, if from childhood there is no fear of suffering and punishment, there is no emotional experience, and so it is difficult in the future to react fearfully to signs of threat or of danger.
This element is very important to form the consciousness, which is acquired through the experience of fear and socialization throughout our development.
These people have few brain reactions to images of fear, pain and suffering (under the activation of the amygdala, responsible for the process and storage of emotional reactions).
Thus, the studies of Yang, Raine, D. Phil et al. concluded that psychopaths had a significantly smaller brain structure.
Psychopaths, therefore, have a low consciousness supported by biological differences, compared to the rest of the population.
The main studies have shown that they have great difficulty in feeling new fears in relation to social norms, that they are not afraid of punishment and its consequences and that they have great difficulty in acquiring the behavior. avoidance of punishment / suffering, so important in our consciousness.
So, in the face of these characteristics, studies and biology, the final question is: do they distinguish right from wrong? The answer is yes.
They know very well the difference between right and wrong, and if they hurt someone, they know what they are doing.
Indeed, scientifically speaking, there are bad people and several studies are still done about psychopathy. Unfortunately, the majority are part of the other camp …