Psychopaths make up 1 to 2 percent of the American population. That’s around 6,278,000 psychopaths who live among us and use intimidation and manipulation to lord over others. In any organization of at least 35 people, one will be a psychopath. Before you start making boss jokes, take some relief in the fact that these types of individuals likely don’t want to murder you in your sleep.
James Fallon should know. He himself is a psychopath. As a neurobiologist at UC Irvine, Fallon has made a name for himself decoding the psychopathic brain. The psychiatric definition of a psychopath is someone who is "suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior." Brain scans reveal the orbital cortex--the area of the brain just behind the eyes--which helps moderate impulse control, ethical decision-making, and moral behavior; low activity in this area indicates someone who is likely a psychopath, according to Fallon's discussion of his research and his own psychopathic brain on NPR.
Without the help of a brain scan, how can we spot a psychopath? One easy method is to ask: Is the person running for office? Yes, politicians rank high on the psychopathic scale. And we continue to vote for them.
Which U.S. president was the biggest psychopath of them all? Teddy Roosevelt, according to Fallon. FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton also top the list, with George W. Bush falling somewhere in the middle when compared to other American presidents.
Why do we elect psychopaths? Fallon explains: “[We’re] picking and voting for and enjoying the psychopathic traits, because those are the people that you think are the ones who can lead you.” Politicians, of course, are famous for their dishonesty, and so are psychopaths. Fallon calls them “world champ liars—pathological liars.” But we the people are attracted to them, because, as Fallon points out: “They lied for us. They lied to protect us.”
Surprisingly, Hitler does not rank as a psychopath. Fallon says that Hitler and Nazi leaders were simply doing their job, citing Hannah Arendt who famously called it “the banality of evil.”
For more on Fallon’s insights into want psychopaths want, watch a clip from Big Think’s interview:
Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.
One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.
Nazi supporters held huge rallies and summer camps for kids throughout the United States in the 1930s.
- During the 1930s, thousands of Americans sympathized with the Nazis, holding huge rallies.
- The rallies were organized by the American German Bund, which wanted to spread Nazi ideology.
- Nazi supporters also organized summer camps for kids to teach them their values.
A Bund parade in New York, October 30, 1939.
Credit: Library of Congress
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Tea and coffee have known health benefits, but now we know they can work together.
Credit: NIKOLAY OSMACHKO from Pexels
- A new study finds drinking large amounts of coffee and tea lowers the risk of death in some adults by nearly two thirds.
- This is the first study to suggest the known benefits of these drinks are additive.
- The findings are great, but only directly apply to certain people.