One percent of the population is a Psychopath. This percentage doubles or quadruples in high power positions such as lawyers, business leaders or surgeons. Because it is a spectrum disorder it can vary considerably from one individual to the next. But how do you identify a Psychopath?

Psychopathy has qualities of the two other personality types in ‘the dark triad’. Machiavellianism and Narcissism together with Psychopathy make up the triad.

One of the key shared conditions amongst all three personality types is a lack of empathy. There is also the absence of remorse and of guilt. If they pity it is for those who show kindness or compassion. To them, such feelings are a sign of weakness. 

Another Psychopathy trait is low impulse control and can see them engage in violent and risky behavior. Extreme situations may occur where the Psychopath will dispatch or kill someone on impulse. The phrase ‘act now, think later’ is scarily appropriate in regards the Psychopathy personality.

Psychopathy can be seen as having two separate models. There exists a primary or factor one type and a secondary, factor two type. ‘Act now and think later’ describes the impulsive inclination tied up with factor two Psychopathy. The manipulation, power jostling character of psychopaths describes primary Psychopathy where calculation and cunning are used against competition.

A lot has been written on Psychopathy and it is popular subject material in fiction and the movies. Hannibal Lecter immediately comes to mind. What is not commonly understood is the nuanced condition of Psychopathy, how it is part of ’the dark triad’ and how certain traits are shared with both Machiavellianism and Narcissism. In short, malevolence may vary from one individual to the next. And because Psychopathy is a spectrum disorder it may not be at all obvious. It could be your friended person on social media, your neighbour down the street or even a member of your family.