Scientific American FSG Books


The Wisdom of Psychopaths

The Wisdom of Psychopaths

Kevin Dutton


Take the Psychopath Challenge

A bit of fun! Ever wondered if YOU might be a psychopath? Filling in one questionnaire won't really tell you for sure. But hey, why not take the "Psychopath Challenge?" Remember, clinicians use a wide range of techniques to reach a diagnosis and this is just one tool in their box.

On the other hand, if this test reveals a few psychopathic traits you're in good company... with high achievers in medicine, law and the military. Oh, and serial killers. Take the challenge at The Wisdom of Psychopaths website. 

But seriously, this isn't just a lark.

The Great American Psychopath Survey

The inaugural Great American Psychopath Survey (GAPS) constitutes an unprecedented opportunity to glean pristine psychometric data on latent psychopathy levels across the entire United States. This data will be collected online, as participants in the survey complete the short version of the well-validated Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI: SF-R) – a questionnaire specifically developed by the Emory University psychologist Scott Lilienfeld to measure psychopathic traits within the general population as a whole, as opposed to clinical or forensic settings.

After completion, participants will get a full debrief and a breakdown of their score on the test, and, as well as entering standard demographic details such as their age and gender, will also be required to enter their occupation, ethnic origins, annual income, and place of residence. This will enable subsequent analysis to reveal the answer to a topical and cutting-edge question currently at the forefront of psychopathy research: Are high levels of psychopathy ‘functional’ in certain types of professions?

It will also shed light on the geopolitical distribution of psychopathy within the US: Is there, for instance, a greater proportion of psychopaths in rural or urban areas, within poorer or more affluent populations, or within certain ethnic subgroups in society?

Professor Kevin Dutton (University of Oxford) and the aforementioned Professor Scott Lilienfeld will jointly write up the results of the survey as a scientific paper and will submit it for publication to an established, highly-cited peer-reviewed journal.

In short, GAPS stands to make a major contribution to the field of psychopathy research, and will significantly advance our understanding of the nuances and intricacies of this most beguiling of personality profiles. 

Take the challenge at The Wisdom of Psychopaths website.

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