Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Psychopath Test

So anyway, two of my friends had received a one question Psychopath test, through the magic of e-mail, and tried it out on me in the pub. I wasn't quite right, but close enough that they were concerned by the result (the test is here and why you shouldn't actually be concerned here).

I was fairly dubious of this test, even before I researched it. Amongst other reasons, last summer I was at a party which had really quite a lot of research psychologists at it ("Hi! I'm a psychologist. I really don't want to know about your mother," as one of them suggested they should introduce themselves to non-psychologists.) From the little I picked up of their work, and my own experience in experimental design, the question simply doesn't test the attributes of psychopathy without being effected by other psychological factors, such as problem solving skills. (I would rewrite the question anyway, although I won't do so here in case my version makes me look crazy, or, more likely, completely ignorant.)

Well I've known for ages that I'm bad at dealing with people, and that when watching scary things on the TV[1] I say things like "if they really wanted to cause problems, they should add this sadistic twist to their plan." But I always thought I was maybe somewhere towards the Asperger's side of normal, or, as I don't display symptoms that would put classify me as having any autistic spectrum disorder and having met people who do, don't want to trivialise their condition, bad with people, rather than amoral.

(On a related note I've discovered that although sociopath and psychopath are usually considered synonyms, some experts use them to mean different things, although I can't het a handle on the difference. )

There was going to be a clever ending, to tie this up, but it wasn't as clever as I thought. Due to the demands that I just post stuff (although he probably meant on our other blog), instead here's a link to the Wikipedia article on Psychopathy which includes Cleckley's definition of psychopathy as a checklist. Why not count off how many apply to you!

Apologies to any actual psychologists who I've offended. I promise I won't tell you about my Mum.

[1] Spy films, police dramas, the news.