Saturday, November 5, 2016

Reflection on The Wisdom of Psycopaths

In the text The Wisdom of Psychopaths Kevin Dutton argues that psychopaths possess qualities that set them up for success throughout their life. Dutton, a British psychologist, asserts that psychopathic traits are an advantage in certain fields. The author mentions that qualities such as fearlessness, ruthlessness and being charming and focused are all attributes that allow a psychopath to take charge and function appropriately in high stress situations. The author lists occupations such as bomb-disposal operatives, surgeons, and CEOs and states that many of these people possess psychopathic qualities. To display the validity of his claim the author provides several studies conducted by several universities. For instance, he describes a study done by Lilianne Mujica-Parodi at Stony Brook University in which they collected fear sweat and regular sweat and made volunteers inhale the sweat with the help of a device. The results showed that people who inhaled the fear sweat were more alert and had more brain activity as opposed to those who breathed in the regular sweat. This allowed the researches to come up with the conclusion that fear is "contagious" and prompted them to inquire about immunity to this apparent biological component that makes stress contagious. After conducting more experiments, the researchers found that psychopaths were unfazed by the fear sweat and thought rationally, without allowing the anxiety to get to them. This study illustrates how psychopaths have a biological component that allows them to be more focused, making them suitable for certain positions. This article was effective as it provided numerous pieces of evidence to support its claim of fact. I took a great liking to this text and it reminded me of one of the characters, Mona, from the show Pretty Little Liars. Mona, who was administered to a sanitarium for psychological treatment, showed the aforementioned qualities of ruthlessness and manipulative charm as well as the the ability to function rationally in high stress situations. Due to this connection, the text seemed more compelling and unique in its categorization of psychopaths as people of success.

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