Word Irregularities May prove Helpful in Revealing Psychopaths
What is a psychopath?
The subject of psychopathy is still subject of discussion among experts, though it’s universal term for a person who lack of empathy and remorse. In addition, they often had shallow emotions, too much self-importance and an exceptional talent for deception. This makes them pretty slippery to law authorities. It is estimated that 1% of the world’s population are psychopaths; with 25 percent of jail inmates having the disorder. Not all psychopaths are criminals, though. It’s somewhat controversial because some experts view psychopathic behavior as a part of antisocial personality disorder.
Speech may gave them away
The study consist of assessing 52 convicted murderers; fourteen of them met the criteria of being a psychopath according to Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. The participants were asked to describe their crimes in detail, in which their speech was later analyzed by computer software.
They found out that those who meet the criteria of psychopaths often spoke in terms of cause-and-effect in regards to their crimes, often blaming basic needs such as food, drink and money as their cause of committing crimes. In addition, they use past tense in describing their deviant behavior compared to non-psychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies – the terms “uhs” and “ums” that interrupt speech.
Such behavior is not found among other criminals who are not classified as psychopaths.
Giving more reasonable explanations to their actions
Researchers suggested that such dysfluencies helps them buy more time in constructing their tales to avert possible disciplinary or legal consequences. The results are very surprising, considering that most psychopaths are often very good at using language in order to manipulate and achieve their own agendas. Researchers considered that the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ the masks of sanity of psychopaths – unconsciously uttered words that aid a lot in constructing deceptive and manipulative statements that helps them achieve their goals.
Psychopaths view the world and others as instruments for their taking, and the crimes they might do are ‘something else necessary’ in order to achieve a goal. In addition, they tend to point the needs for basic existence; money, food, and drink as their paramount cause of deviant behavior compared to nonpsychopaths who talked more about spirituality, religion and family.
A number of experts suggested that there is no clear treatment for psychopathy; no medications can instill empathy and they are unlikely to benefit from talk therapy. In other words, there is no drug that can help evoke use conscience in them. This is the first objective study that analyzes language patterns of psychopaths. Though more research is needed to confirm it, it provides useful hint about psychological behavior of psychopaths.
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