Hail to the Sociopath

Discussions on behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology, neurology, endocrinology, game theory, etc.

Hail to the Sociopath

Postby TheVat on April 9th, 2020, 8:50 pm 

Retired professor of psychiatry at Harvard is interviewed on the nature of sociopathic personalities and the most prominent current example, a head of state.

https://www.salon.com/2020/04/09/dr-lan ... in-prison/

His comments on lying and the effectiveness of many repetitions of a lie will certainly be unsurprising to students of history as well as the behavioral sciences.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7527
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Serpent on April 9th, 2020, 9:50 pm 

No surprises there.
How is the staunch right wing media presenting Trump's "handling" of the crisis? Besides making himself a war president and co-opting industry, have they credited him with any positive actions?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby BadgerJelly on April 10th, 2020, 1:58 am 

Lots of people are psycho/sociopathic. Life isn’t a Hitchcock movie.

Having psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies doesn’t make someone a monster. It is a human trait that has benefits and deficits for society at large and for individuals.

Such political use of psychological terminology does little but inspire fear and hatred toward a facet of human nature that can be handled in a more delicate and, dare I say, humane manner.

Note: There is disagreement in the psychological community about the exact difference (if any) between psychopathy and sociopathy.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5613
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Serpent on April 10th, 2020, 9:02 am 

BadgerJelly » April 10th, 2020, 12:58 am wrote:Having psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies doesn’t make someone a monster.

Okay. If you take that slim excuse away, what does make someone a monster? More to the point, what made DJT the monster his action show him to be?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Serpent on April 10th, 2020, 11:12 am 

President Donald Trump has reportedly been fixated on unflattering news reports about his response to Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September 2017.....
"I was having fun, they were having fun."


What more do you need to know?
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-angry-at-paper-towel-throw-footage-hurricanes-florence-maria-2018-9
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby TheVat on April 10th, 2020, 12:33 pm 

Badge - AFAICT the sort of antisocial personality disorder that Trump manifests so consistently is one in which a lack of empathy can seriously impair one's ability to do a job like holding high office and being a trustworthy public servant. If you read the entire article, you may gather that the more humane approach to Trump's disorder would be to remove him from office and get him into a more therapeutic environment. But whenever he has a position of power of any kind, people get hurt. This happened to his employees over the years, as well as to women generally over whom he had any leverage. And to students bilked by Trump University. And to tenants in properties he owned.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7527
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Serpent on April 10th, 2020, 1:07 pm 

The unfortunate reality is that at this point, there is no evidence to show that a sociopath can change. Currently, there is nothing that has been proven effective as a treatment for a sociopath. Researchers and practitioners aren't giving up, though. Can sociopaths be cured? Experts hope they can.

In the meantime, professionals advise that the best way to deal with a sociopath is to cut off all contact. Doing so may be the best treatment possible, at least for the non-sociopath.

https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/sociopath/sociopath-treatment-can-a-sociopath-change
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Forest_Dump on April 10th, 2020, 1:15 pm 

Vat.

I think you miss the point. If it is safe to say that Trump is a sociopath (and I have certainy thought so since before he was elected), then from his perspective, he is "winning" in that he seems to be getting what he wants and will continue to do so. Why would he stop? I even think he could well win again in November. The real (and only) question is not in what Trump gains but in why so many support him. And for that I think we need to stop paying attention to Trump but pay more attention to why so many ignore his faults and find enough that they like to vote for him and aginst the Dems. It doesn't matter how bad Trump is if Biden doesn't win. Anything but an absolute vote for Biden is a vote for 4 more years of Trump.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8756
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Forest_Dump on April 10th, 2020, 1:22 pm 

As to the sociopath/psychopath dichotomy, I like the old saying that a psychopath doesn't knw right from wrong while the sociopath does but doesn't care. Yes, many sociopaths actually do well in politics and business because ultimately they don't care about morals or ethics but just in gratifying their own desires and will do anything to get what they want. Why don't all sociopaths becomes monsters? Simply because either they get what they want without doing things that will get them caught or, perhaps more simply, because they learned that being too overtly unethical or immoral (technically amoral, etc) doesn't work for them. They definitely would if they thought it did get them what they want bu that becomes simply a matter of circumstances. I have never heard convincing evidence that sociopaths can be "cured". They simply have to learn that their environment/circumstances, etc., will allow them to get what they want if they do certain kinds of actions.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8756
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Serpent on April 10th, 2020, 2:21 pm 

I can think of two more possible reasons why all sociopaths don't become obvious - in fame, wealth or criminality.
One may be that sociopathy (in the strictest sense, lack of empathy) doesn't necessarily manifest with the same cluster of character traits every time. They may not always be ambitious, energetic, competitive, etc. Perhaps many sociopaths go unnoticed because the rewards they seek are modest and easily attained. They may pass as merely shiftless, unreliable, irresponsible; they may be perceived as charming rogues, gamblers, freeloaders; negligible.
Another factor is early training: immediate unwanted results every time the child does something wrong. This would be at least partly cultural - what is generally considered "wrong" behaviour in a child or in an adult. It may be that some cultures produce fewer overt sociopaths simply because the environment offers fewer opportunities for sociopathic behviour to reap rewards.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby TheVat on April 10th, 2020, 2:22 pm 

Forest_Dump wrote:Vat.

I think you miss the point. If it is safe to say that Trump is a sociopath (and I have certainy thought so since before he was elected), then from his perspective, he is "winning" in that he seems to be getting what he wants and will continue to do so. Why would he stop? I even think he could well win again in November. The real (and only) question is not in what Trump gains but in why so many support him. And for that I think we need to stop paying attention to Trump but pay more attention to why so many ignore his faults and find enough that they like to vote for him and aginst the Dems. It doesn't matter how bad Trump is if Biden doesn't win. Anything but an absolute vote for Biden is a vote for 4 more years of Trump.


Since I agree with all your political observations here, I'm not sure what point I missed. Since this is a psychology forum, I was simply posting a link to a psychiatric professional's perspective. Understanding a pathological condition better does seem germane to the political strategies that we could discuss over in the politics thread or general news thread. An obvious example would be to figure out what sorts of behavior from others will trigger the most egregious displays from Trump...might this be useful in helping Biden to reveal more of Trump's pathology to voters?
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7527
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby TheVat on April 10th, 2020, 2:28 pm 

https://www.healthline.com/health/menta ... /sociopath


There’s no clinical difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. These terms are both used to refer to people with ASPD. They’re often used interchangeably...


The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) says that someone with ASPD consistently shows a lack of regard for others’ feelings or violations of people’s rights. People with ASPD may not realize that they have these behaviors. They may live their entire lives without a diagnosis.

To receive a diagnosis of ASPD, someone must be older than 18. Their behaviors must show a pattern of at least three of the following seven traits:

Doesn’t respect social norms or laws. They consistently break laws or overstep social boundaries.
Lies, deceives others, uses false identities or nicknames, and uses others for personal gain.
Doesn’t make any long-term plans. They also often behave without thinking of consequences.
Shows aggressive or aggravated behavior. They consistently get into fights or physically harm others.
Doesn’t consider their own safety or the safety of others.
Doesn't follow up on personal or professional responsibilities. This can include repeatedly being late to work or not paying bills on time.
Doesn’t feel guilt or remorse for having harmed or mistreated others.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7527
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Serpent on April 10th, 2020, 2:37 pm 

Putting aside the formidable political propaganda machine behind him, I have to wonder whether any amount of revelation would make a difference to the "God, Guns and Trump" voter base.
Forest_Dump opens a whole new - howbeit difficult and perilous - line of psychological inquiry when he asks about the voters to whom Trump appeals. He has never kept his personality particularly well concealed all the while his popularity kept growing.
It's not, I think a question of
why so many ignore his faults and find enough that they like

but rather of what he's doing to attract them? Are they really ignoring his faults - or celebrating his faults?It's more a question of what traits he brings out in them; what emotions he incites, what attitudes epitomizes. What is it in the national psyche that he enables?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby BadgerJelly on April 11th, 2020, 8:22 am 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-evil/201902/what-we-get-wrong-about-psychopaths

If the subject is Trump I think narcissist fits like a glove - unless he is a psychopath pretending to be a narcissist.

Absolute narcissists are exhibitionists. They sidle up as if for normal human conversation. When they’ve got you hooked, they open their trench coats and show off their stiff little absolute invincibility. They do so with confidence because they know they can win no matter how you respond. They’re ready for your reaction whatever it may be. If you scold them, they’ll call you a prude. If you walk away, they’ll call you a chicken. If you try to be nice to them, they’ll call you a wimp. If you act out, they’ll call you upset. If you attack them, they’ll scold you for being uncivil. They’ll posture automatically and robotically any which way to maintain their false appearance of invincibility.


https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ambigamy/202002/how-humiliate-absolute-narcissist
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5613
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Hail to the Sociopath

Postby Forest_Dump on April 11th, 2020, 12:17 pm 

There are a number of points I think need to be considered. First, of course, I do not think that being a sociopath or psychopath is a simple binary but rather a complex clinal thing for reasons that are attributeable to what we would call both nature and nurture. Some of these traits almost definitely do derive from a long selective process in the realm of sexual selection (and I think it would be easy to spell these out but thinking through the writings of Matt Ridley or Dawkins would suffice). Some probably also are more likely the result of more recent epigenetic processes (given that even things like stress, nutrition, exposure to violence, drugs and alcohol in the womb, etc., can impact cognitive, emotional development, etc. etc. As one expert I have been in ontact with put it, one sure formula for creating a sociopath is, from a very young age, a lack or clear correlation between actions and rewards or punishments will work and these can be the result of all kinds of intergenerational stress from exposures to genocides to heavy drinking. And of course our "cultures" have very different ways of deciding what counts as the dividing line between someone who is "normal" and not. Exposure to various forms of "racism" or similar discounting of human worth as seen from the racism of the American south to Israel's oppression of Palestians to jihadism to Islamophobia or even increased political hatred between the left and right can lead to discounting the worth of some other which can be lauded or judged to be sociopathology depending on the context of the moment. I have little doubt, for example, that some Bernie Bros do not see a significant difference between Trump and Biden and in fact think any and all self-aggrandizing politicians, business execs, etc. are the same. How many don't believe, for example, that the "1%" or some other group (illuminati, New World Order goons, Antifa or Yellow Vests, etc.) shouldn't be given equal rights to what we ourselves demand. I think is some ways, the successful sociopath just demonizes a different group that we do. Of course, for myself, I have great difficulty identifying any kind of real "group" and prefer to look at individuals one at a time. So that puts me with "Team Good Guys".
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8756
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region



Return to Behavioral Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests