A test that will tell you if someone is a psychopath

Illustration of a silhouette of an angry man with a storm cloud in his head screaming.

Illustration of a silhouette of an angry man with a storm cloud in his head screaming.Malte Mueller/GettyImages

  • Senior corporate leaders have been included among those who tend to exhibit psychopathic traits.

  • The standard screening test for potential psychopaths is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.

  • Read the list below to see potential signs of adult psychopathy according to the checklist.

Many of the qualities we look for in leaders, such as fearlessness, dominant behavior, and resilience to stress, can be found in psychopaths.

Indeed, psychopaths are more prevalent among CEOs. According to a 2016 study by Bond University psychologist Nathan Brooks, between 3% and 21% of CEOs are likely psychopaths. In 2021, Fortune found that 12% of senior corporate leaders in the United States exhibited psychopathic traits. In fact, most people show some symptoms of psychopathy – superficiality, smoothness, promiscuity, etc. – and that doesn’t make you a psychopath.

According to CNBC, while one in five business leaders may exhibit psychopathic tendencies, a certain “degree of nonconformity and unconventionality” can help drive innovation.

The standard screening test for potential psychopaths is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. In the test, a clinician interviews a potential sociopath and grades them on 20 criteria, such as “promiscuous sexual behavior” or “impulsiveness.” For each criterion, the subject is assessed on a 3-point scale: (0 = item not applicableYes, 1 = item appliesp little, 2 = item definitely applicable). The scores are added together to create a rank from zero to 40. Anyone who scores 30 and above is probably a psychopath.

The test is supposed to be administered by a professional psychologist, but if you really want to take it yourself — or a layman’s guess about your boss’s psychological makeup — keep scrolling:

1. Do you have “excessive smoothness” or superficial charm?

James Bond

Sean Connery as the original James Bond movie.United Artists

(Answer: For sociopaths, the answer to this question is yes.)

2. Do you have an exorbitant sense of self-worth?

donald trump republican gop president elect smug

Donald Trump.Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

(Psychopaths do.)

3. Do you have an excessive need for stimulation or a tendency to boredom?

bored girl

Incase/Flickr

(Psychopaths cannot stand periods of stagnation.)

4. Are you a pathological liar?

pinocchio

Walt Disney Productions/RKO Radio Pictures

(Psychopaths don’t care about the truth.)

5. Do you cheat or manipulate?

catch me if you can leonardo decaprio cheater liar

Dream jobs

(Psychopaths often believe they can pull the strings of dupes.)

6. Do you show no remorse or guilt?

Guilty

Monogram photos

(Psychopaths don’t feel bad when they do bad things.)

7. Do you have a “shallow affect”?

Psycho Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates

the most important

(Psychopaths show a lack of emotion when the emotional response is appropriate.)

8. Are you callous or lack empathy?

rich poor homeless girls

Reuters/Lucas Jackson

(Psychopaths simply don’t care when bad things happen to other people.)

9. Do you live a “parasitic lifestyle”?

leech

GlebK / Wikimedia, CC

(Psychopaths prefer not to make a living. They find it easier to take things from other people.)

10. Do you have poor behavioral control?

wild things

Pictures from Colombia

(Psychopaths have a hard time controlling themselves.)

11. Have you had promiscuous sexual behavior in the past?

basic instinct

TriStar’s photos

(Psychopaths like one-night stands.)

12. Do you have a history of early behavioral problems?

omen damien

20th Century Fox

(As children, psychopaths often have a history of cruelty to others.)

13. Do you lack realistic, long-term goals?

National lottery winner

Angela Kelly celebrates winning the biggest jackpot in the UK lottery in 2007.Andrew Milligan/PA Archives/Press Association Photos

(Psychopaths put plans ahead of life or career goals.)

14. Are you too impulsive?

shopping

Shoppers are more suspicious of cameras in real stores than cookies when shopping online.Andrew Winning/Reuters

(Psychopaths are very, very impulsive.)

15. Do you have a high level of irresponsibility?

Cruella de Vil 101 Dalmatians Disney

Disney

(Psychopaths don’t like to do the right thing.)

16. Do you not take responsibility for your own actions?

Autumn unicorn

Reuters/Bobby Yip

(When you’re a psycho, it’s always someone else’s fault.)

17. Have you had many short-term “married” relationships?

Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton

20th Century Fox

(Psychopaths are unable to commit to long-term relationships or repeatedly cheat on them.)

18. Do you have a history of juvenile delinquency?

scum

Blue subway

(Psychopaths start young.)

19. Have you ever experienced a “parole waiver”?

california prison prison remodeling

In this photo taken on Thursday, February 21, 2013, an inmate from the Madera County Jail is being driven to one of the inmate housing blocks in Madera, California.Photo by Rich Pedrocelli/AP

(Even when psychopaths get a break – like being released from prison on probation – they tend to screw up.)

20. Do you have “criminal versatility”?

Grand Theft Auto GTA V

Rockstar

(Psychopaths differ from common criminals in that they don’t really care what laws they break—they will break any of them under the right circumstances.)

How did it go?

If you scored more than 30 (i.e. answered “somewhat” or “definitely” to most of these questions), you may be a psychopath. If you scored lower, you are probably not a psychopath.

Read the original article in Business Insider

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