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There might be more psychopaths than we think.

Some new research out of Spain suggests psychopaths might be more prevalent than we currently think.

In a meta-analysis of existing research, which involved 16 samples of adults totalling 11,497 people, the researchers concluded “the prevalence rate of psychopathy in the general adult population at 4.5%” or perhaps as high as 5.4%. This is much higher than the standard 1% figure I found in existing literature while writing the book. The samples of participants came mainly from the USA.

Mimicking Empathy

This guy makes a good point.

Individuals who mimic empathy in order to get what they want out of someone, are possibly psychopathic. What should we call it when brands do the same thing?

And what should we think about executives and marketers who think that mimicking empathy is a sound business strategy for building long-term relationships with customers?

Are Americans Psychopaths?

Are Americans Psychopaths?

“What Else Explains America’s Bizarre, Shocking Indifference to Everything That Matters?”

From this great article by Umair Haque.

While I don’t think the United States has a monopoly on psychopaths, I do make the case in the book that capitalism has made it easier for psychopaths to get their hands on wealth and power. I also talk about how psychopaths in positions of political power can bring an entire country to exhibit psychopathic behaviours, and I think the United States is a good case study.

Psychopaths in the Military

Psychopaths in the Military

It’s hard to read the details of the Brereton report and not reach the conclusion that there are psychopaths in the Australian military. As one soldier put it: “Psychos. Absolute psychos. And we bred them.”

Key findings:

None of the killings took place in the heat of battle, and they all occurred in circumstances which, if accepted by a jury, would constitute the war crime of murder.

All the victims were either non-combatants or were no longer combatants.

Evidence suggests junior soldiers were instructed by their superiors to execute prisoners in cold blood as part of a “blooding” process to give them their first kill.

“Typically, the patrol commander would take a person under control and the junior member … would then be directed to kill the person under control,” the report found. “‘Throwdowns’ would be placed with the body and a ‘cover story’ was created for the purposes of operational reporting and to deflect scrutiny.”

Unsurprisingly, the report “absolves senior command of blame or knowledge that war crimes were being committed”. However I think it’s fair to argue that the culture of an organisation is the responsibility of its leadership. To say “we didn’t know what was going on in our own military” should be completely unacceptable.