January 23, 2020
This episode delves into topics like What is psychopathy? What's the relationship between antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy? What's the difference between primary and secondary psychopathy (sociopathy)? And is there a relationship between psychopathy and intelligence?
When talking about psychopathy, a lot of times we think of antisocial personality disorder. These two constructs, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder, are similar but distinct. Psychopathy is similar to all of the Cluster B personality disorders: antisocial, narcissistic, and to a lesser extent it is associated with borderline and histrionic personality disorder. The way we could think of these two constructs, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder, would be that antisocial personality disorder is defined mostly based on behaviors and psychopathy is defined partially on behaviors, but it also adds this interpersonal component
To understand antisocial personality disorder we look in the DSM and we see that there are seven symptom criteria and then three other criteria. The seven symptom criteria are violating social norms, lying, impulsivity, irritability and aggression, disregarding others’ safety, irresponsibility, and lack of remorse. Then we have the other criteria. An individual has to be 18 years or older, evidence of conduct disorder would have had to have been present before the age of 15, and the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder can't occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. We think of psychopathy as a subset of antisocial personality disorder. A number of the studies on antisocial personality and psychopathy look at male criminal offenders in the prison population. Here we see that around 70 – 80 % percent of those individuals qualify for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, but only about 15-25% could be classified as having psychopathy.
When we look at the construct of psychopathy a little more closely we see that it can be divided in the two major types: primary versus secondary psychopathy. A lot of times the term primary psychopathy can be synonymous with the term psychopathy. Secondary psychopathy is sometimes referred to as sociopathy. Additionally, sometimes when individuals use sociopathy, they're really talking about psychopathy as opposed to just secondary psychopathy. When we look at primary psychopathy we know there are certain characteristics associated with it: being unemotional, callous, manipulative, calculating, having little or no fear, guilt, remorse, empathy, or anxiety. We also tend to think of primary psychopathy as having an etiology that is genetic more so than environmental. Psychopathy has a fairly strong association with antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. When we talk about secondary psychopathy, we see a different set of characteristics. Secondary psychopathy is more associated with criminal behavior than is primary psychopathy. We also see a number of other characteristics: being rash, impulsive, emotional, anxious, hostile, aggressive, volatile, and self-destructive. Individuals that secondary psychopathy also tend to be more disorganized and tend to have a risky decision-making style when compared to individuals with primary psychopathy.
What is the association between psychopathy and intelligence? When we think of the word “psychopathy,” there is this idea that psychopathic traits are related to intelligence, meaning the more we see of psychopathy, the higher level of intelligence we see. This goes back in the media in terms of movies, television, and even early research into psychopathy and intelligence. Research has found that there is no relationship between psychopathy and intelligence.
00:30 - What is psychopathy?
08:55 - Is there a relation between psychopathy and intelligence
15:30 - What's the difference between primary and secondary psychopathy?
More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder
For even more, scientifically informed content on psychology and personality check out Dr. Grande's YouTube channel
Ars Longa Media
To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at email@example.com
Watts, A. L., Salekin, R. T., Harrison, N., Clark, A., Waldman, I. D., Vitacco, M. J., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2016). Psychopathy: Relations with three conceptions of intelligence. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, And Treatment, 7(3), 269-279. doi:10.1037/per0000183
The podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing on this show is intended to substitute for the treatment or advice provided by a licensed mental health professional.