Monday, December 15, 2008

Is your new friend a Psychopath?

Because psychopaths can smell fear.

Just kidding. It's far more mundane than that; psychopaths just notice women who are sad, lonely, and downtrodden, and remember details about them more easily so that they can target them later. Kind of like lions picking the slowest and weakest of the herd.

Dalhousie University, which is apparently breaking new ground in the exciting field of psychopath studies, has released a new study. First, they singled out the study participants who were psychopaths. Then, they separated the test subject psychopaths from the ones who were running the study (ZING!). Then they showed them a series of pictures of women.

All of the test subjects were told that some of the women from the pictures were happy, some were sad, some had high-paying jobs, and some had low-paying jobs. In addition to the mini-biographies, the subjects were told the names of the women in the photos.

The psychopaths did a better job recalling the details of the unhappy, poor women, and a worse job remembering details for everyone else. Other test subjects weren't as focused on the sad, lonely, victim demographic, and couldn't recall details about them as well.

It raises an interesting question. Why is this professor so interested in psychopaths?

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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