November 25

Going Mental

Sunday’s Big Idea

Today's Big Idea: Supersanity

What can we learn from psychopaths? That's the provocative question at the heart of Dr. Kevin Dutton's provocative new book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.

Big Think has chosen this book as our Book of the Month for October, and we look forward to having Dr. Dutton into our studio later this month to discuss his book in detail. In the meantime, we are previewing his book and in particular the relationship between success and psychopathy. 

In order to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number, Dutton argues, someone needs to bite the bullet. That is the definition of utilitarianism. Dutton's insight is that we need a psychopath who isn't afraid to pull the trigger to make it all happen. In other words, we need psychopathic qualities in our leaders as well as in other professions that involve "dirty work." 


  1. 1 Are You a Psychopath? Take the Te...
  2. 2 The Neurobiology of Evil
  3. 3 Michael Gazzaniga: The Criminal B...
  4. 4 Inside the Mind of a Psychopath
  1. Are You a Psychopath? Take the Test.

    Are You a Psychopath? Take the Test.

    What's the Big Idea? The famous "trolley problem" was a psychological experiment developed by ...

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  2. The Neurobiology of Evil

    The Neurobiology of Evil

    Thanks to MRI and fMRI bran scans, we now know much more about how damage to or deficiencies in certain parts of the brain may underlie "evil" behavior.

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  3. Michael Gazzaniga: The Criminal Brain

    Michael Gazzaniga: The Criminal Brain

    So you got the psychopath. He has done the crime. We hold him responsible. Now we’re at the decision.

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  4. Inside the Mind of a Psychopath

    Inside the Mind of a Psychopath

    The amygdala is a part of the brain that plays a key role in processing emotions. How does the amygdala function differently in a psychopath's brain from that of a normal person?

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