Psy­cho­pathic Per­son­al­ity

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Ilove read­ing and I will read just about any­thing. Some com­plain that peo­ple do not read enough these days but if that were true it would not be be­cause there is not enough to read. Just go on­line and see for your­self, Dear Reader.

Of course, a crit­i­cal ap­proach to read­ing is es­sen­tial; noth­ing should be taken at face value, ev­ery­thing should be ques­tioned. In the old days we used to say, “It must be true be­cause I read it in the news­pa­per,” which you must ad­mit was pretty silly. The same ap­plies to the In­ter­net; just be­cause some­thing ap­pears on­line does not make it re­li­able or true.

The In­ter­net has, how­ever, at least one great ad­van­tage as a source of information; with a lit­tle dili­gence and re­search on the part of the reader the In­ter­net of­fers a wealth of dif­fer­ent sources against which any information can be cross­checked.

“Over the cen­turies a re­cur­ring theme in the de­scrip­tions of their per­son­al­ity and be­havioural char­ac­ter­is­tics has been that they are im­pul­sive, in­tol­er­ant of sus­tained work ef­fort, live for the present, and have poor self­con­trol. In the view of a num­ber of clas­si­cal eleventh-cen­tury his­to­ri­ans and ge­og­ra­phers they lacked "self-con­trol and steadi­ness of mind,” even go­ing so far as de­scrib­ing them as hav­ing the na­ture of "wild an­i­mals”. 19th cen­tury writ­ers wrote, “Lazi­ness is in­her­ent in these men . . . they are a loose, rov­ing, reck­less set of be­ings . . . econ­omy, care or fore­sight never en­ters their heads . . . they are crea­tures of im­pulse - grown chil­dren.” In 1858 An­thony Trol­lope ob­served, “He is idle, un­am­bi­tious as to worldly po­si­tion, sen­sual, and con­tent with lit­tle.”

These char­ac­ter­is­tics, as they have been per­ceived his­tor­i­cally, can now be un­der­stood as aris­ing from a high level of psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity, a con­cept that was iden­ti­fied in the early nine­teenth cen­tury by the Bri­tish physi­cian John Pritchard, who pro­posed the term "moral im­be­cil­ity" for those de­fi­cient in moral sense but whose in­tel­lec­tual abil­ity was unim­paired. The term “psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity” was pro­posed in 1915 by the Ger­man psy­chi­a­trist Emil Krae­pelin.

In his clas­sic work, The Mask of San­ity of 1941, Her­vey Cleck­ley listed the prin­ci­pal ex­pres­sions of psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity: hav­ing shal­low emo­tions, de­fec­tive in­sight, ab­sence of ner­vous­ness, lack of re­morse or shame, su­per­fi­cial charm, patho­log­i­cal ly­ing, ego­cen­tric­ity and in­abil­ity to love, fail­ure to es­tab­lish close or in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships, ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity, im­pul­sive an­ti­so­cial acts, fail­ure to learn from ex­pe­ri­ence, reck­less be­hav­iour un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol, and a lack of long-term goals.

In 1984 the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric As­so­ci­a­tion (APA) dropped the term “psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity” and re­placed it with the syn­onym “An­ti­so­cial Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­der”. “The fea­tures of APD as set out by the APA are (1) in­abil­ity to sus­tain con­sis­tent work be­hav­ior; (2) fail­ure to con­form to so­cial norms with re­spect to law­ful be­hav­ior (i.e. crime); (3) ir­ri­tabil­ity and ag­gres­sion, as in­di­cated by fre­quent phys­i­cal fights and as­saults; (4) re­peated fail­ure to honor fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions; (5) fail­ure to plan ahead or im­pul­siv­ity; (6) no re­gard for truth, as in­di­cated by re­peated ly­ing, use of aliases, or “con­ning” oth­ers; (7) recklessness re­gard­ing one's own or oth­ers' per­sonal safety, as in­di­cated by driv­ing while in­tox­i­cated or re­cur­rent speed­ing; (8) in­abil­ity to func­tion as a re­spon­si­ble par­ent; (9) fail­ure to sus­tain a monog­a­mous re­la­tion­ship for more than one year; (10) lack of re­morse; and (11) the pres­ence of con­duct dis­or­der in child­hood.”

“Psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity is an ex­treme man­i­fes­ta­tion of a con­tin­u­ously dis­trib­uted per­son­al­ity trait. There are race dif­fer­ences in the dis­tri­bu­tion of the trait such that psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity is high among Amer­i­can In­di­ans, some­what lower in His­pan­ics, lower still in Euro­peans and South Asians, and low­est in Ori­en­tals. Psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity ap­pears to be high in Aus­tralian Abo­rig­ines, among whom it is ex­pressed in high rates of un­em­ploy­ment, crime, tru­ancy from school, and drug ad­dic­tion. Lit­tle is known about the level of psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity in South­east Asians and Pa­cific Is­lan­ders.”

As for Caribbean peo­ple, well, Dear Reader, I guess you know bet­ter than I where they fit into the scheme of things. I'm just re­port­ing what I have read about An­ti­so­cial Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­der – on­line! But I will say this: Given the amount of crime and the num­ber of ap­par­ently sense­less, ca­sual killings in the coun­try, some­thing's got to be wrong some­where.

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