Are You Dating a Psychopath?

Kevin Dutton walks through the characteristics of psychopathy, and how these behaviors play out in relationships. 

Are you dating or have you ever dated a psychopath? There are actually clear signs, or "tells," to use a poker analogy, according to Kevin Dutton, the Oxford psychologist and author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success


Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Dutton, whose book looks at both the dark side and the useful traits of psychopathy. We need psychopaths in our society, Dutton tells us, to do the dirty work that no one else wants to do. Psychopaths are particularly disposed to leadership positions, for instance, because they are good at making ruthless decisions that might hurt some people, but are nonetheless better for the group as a whole. CEOs tend to register high levels of psychopathy, Dutton tells us.

But what about the dark side? We are all familiar with the figure of the violent psychopath that abounds in popular culture. And yet, there are plenty of other functioning psychopaths who may not be killers, but display other abhorrent behaviors.

These psychopaths are lady killers, for instance, like James Bond. So what characteristics do these people possess?

"They tend to play on our pity a lot," says Dutton. There's always an excuse for their bad behavior. Psychopaths are heavily narcissistic. The world centers around them. "And although psychopaths don’t feel emotions like us," Dutton says, "they are masters at pushing those emotional hot buttons that elicit emotions in others."

Psychopaths tend to get away with their bad behavior because they tend to be very charming. In the video below, Dutton walks through these characteristics, and how psychopathic behaviors play out in relationships. 

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less