The psychology of risk: ‘Psychopathic traits regularly found in successful people’

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Image: Jack Antal/Unsplash

One problem with research on psychopathy is that it largely only deals with criminals. [Psychiatrist Randi] Rosenqvist believes it would be very interesting to spend more time studying successful psychopaths.

She thinks it’s important to say that psychopathic traits can be found in successful people, too. Some people with lots of psychopathic traits may just be very good at not getting caught.

“Society also needs people with psychopathic traits,” Rosenqvist says.


Some of these traits can be useful in various aspects of society. It may be that only people with these traits are willing to do things that are high risk. They don’t have the same concerns as others.

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“When the British Royal Airforce tested bombers during World War II, they wanted people with slightly psychopathic traits. These individuals could fly over a village and drop a bomb without thinking that there were women and children in that village as well.”

But these young men do not fit all roles.


“It’s very effective in wartime if dropping bombs doesn’t distress you. But these individuals shouldn’t be so immune to violence that they don’t care about their fellow pilots,” Rosenqvist said.

Read full, original post: We should spend more time studying successful psychopaths, says forensic psychiatrist Randi Rosenqvist

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