5 things we get wrong about psychopaths

american psycho
Image: Lions Gate Films

There are a number of myths that pervade pop culture regarding psychopaths. Here is my take on some of the most common misunderstandings regarding this condition:

1. Psychopathy is the same thing as having an anti-social personality disorder.

This is because the DSM diagnosis of the anti-social personality is oftentimes equated with psychopathy. While there are similarities between the two, they are actually different conditions, and psychopathy is assessed using distinct criteria that has been well-tested and legitimized.

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3. Mass shooters are psychopaths.

While it is tempting to claim that shooters who engage in mass violence are psychopaths, this is wildly inaccurate. While psychopaths are over-represented in the criminal population, the majority of mass shooters are not violent because of an underlying mental illness but because of other, more predictable elements of mass violence such as: access to guns, a sense of entitlement, radicalization online, etc.

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It’s critical to note that we must stay vigilant in separating fact from fiction when it comes to a condition such as psychopathy, particularly in this cultural moment when it is so tempting to look around us and wonder if our entire nation is suffering from this condition. 

Read full, original post: Five Myths About Psychopaths

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