Skepticism

Jon Ronson: The Psychopath Test

Obviously I’m a bit biased because Jon is my Super Best Friend, but his new book looks like it’s going to be fabulous. You can get a feel for it in this video, in which Jon discusses his interactions with psychopaths while his stories are reenacted by those Japanese news animations that are all the rage these days.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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16 Comments

  1. As I heard the characteristics of a psychopath (or sociopath), I started to wonder, is my oldest kid a psychopath? Is my father a psychopath? Maybe it’s genetic?

    I have thought of this before and didn’t like where this was going..so I was really pleased with Jon’s concluding statements about labeling.

    My kid and my dad are a lot alike: superintelligent, a little self aggrandizing, highly motivated to succeed, somewhat insensitive, not really empathetic but smart enough to learn how to try. I love them both so much and if my dad is any example, my son will have a very successful career, contribute much to society and have a large extended family that loves him very much.

  2. Really enjoyed this blog post.
    Psychopaths and sociopaths are now both classified as having Anti-Social Personality Disorder. Previously being a psychopath was considered an innate quality whereas the sociopath diagnosis was a result of environmental factors.

  3. Why is having a painting of one’s self in a house that may be borrowed to clients 50 weeks a year an inflated sense of self worth?

    Why is lying to avoid punishment abnormal to the point of psychosis?

    The weak arguments in this video indicates to me a weak basis for a book.

  4. I finished the video, but I’ve also taken math lessons. Behavior that is consistently 2.5 standard deviations from the norm is not found in almost everyone. He just sees it because it’s what he’s looking for. Unless his book is about confirmation bias, he is making a weak argument.

  5. @slxpluvs: The book IS about that. I thought the video made it quite clear that Jon learns more about psychopaths by talking to both psychiatrists and diagnosed psychopaths and he explores the ways in which it’s easy to find traits to back a diagnosis you’ve already made.

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