I’m not a psychopath. Ok, so technically it was just this quiz on Buzzfeed that was apparently the real life questions from a psychopath test, and I’m aware that a psychiatric assessment from Buzzfeed is about as accurate as David Cameron’s assessment of the NHS…but I found it somewhat reassuring. Then I took a more accurate assessment by a Dr Something or other who is working with Channel 4 on a National Survey, and scored 27% on the psychopathic spectrum.
“You are warm and empathic with a heightened awareness of social responsibility and a strong sense of conscience. You like to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of a situation before you act and are generally averse to taking risks. You are very much a ‘people person’ and dislike conflict. ‘Do unto others…’ are your watchwords. But, although you avoid hurting others, those residing at the higher end of the psychopathic spectrum might not be as considerate, so stay vigilant to avoid being hurt unnecessarily.”
Mostly true – I do dislike conflict in my personal life, although I’m not averse to controversy (ergo this blog). I think I’m a bit more impulsive than the test suggests . I love roller coasters. Or at least I used to – a recent trip to Drayton Manor accompanied by a bad migraine and a new found tendency to risk assess that I can only put down to old age, revealed to me that I am a LOT more boring than I was age 16. So I’m probably a bit more psychopathic than the test results suggest. I might put myself around 35% – which still, is somewhat reassuring.
What I don’t find reassuring is the fact that there are a few people I know who I’m pretty suspicious would NOT pass this test.
Ever had people in your life who seem devoid of emotions? Like, they’re charming, funny, very good at getting people to like them, but at the core they are manipulative and seem to be able to dismiss people without any remorse as long as it suits their best interest? They might be psychopaths. No, seriously.
There’s a book called the psychopath test by Jon Ronson, a journalist who does an investigation into the world of psychopathy – the people who are psychopaths, the people who treat them, and the people who lock them away.
The most interesting thing about the book is that being a psychopath doesn’t actually make you a ‘bad’ person. There are psychopaths who realise that they are psychopaths, – i.e. they realise that they feel little to no remorse when they hurt someone, they are not emotionally affected by the feeling of others, they are glib and superficially charming, and understand that this could potentially be very dangerous…but who make a conscious decision to join the army, politics, big business and other paths where those qualities can (debatably) be used for the good of humanity.
The thing I’m most curious about, which I’m sure we all are, is how does one become a psychopath? Is it nature or nurture? How much of it is genetics? And if it is genetics, what does that mean for how we judge them? What do you think? Take the test (link) below, and share your score if you’re brave enough. If it’s above 75% then I’m sure you’re a very very nice person and I wish you no harm at all, but please delete me from your Facebook. Thanks.