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(Boing Boing)   Would you be surprised to learn that CEOs, lawyers, and media employees have a tendency towards psychopathy? Neither would I   (boingboing.net) divider line 42
    More: Obvious, CEO  
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1789 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 Jan 2013 at 5:14 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-01 02:53:37 PM  
Nope. Worked with 2 of the 3.
 
2013-01-01 05:19:32 PM  
Psychopathy? Yes. Sociopathy? No.
 
2013-01-01 05:19:41 PM  
Fark it, we'll do it live.
 
2013-01-01 05:27:18 PM  
I think you have to be kind of crazy to want to impose your reality on the world. That man... his name was Dimebag Darrell and he's dead. Now you know the REST of the story.
 
2013-01-01 05:30:42 PM  
It made me chuckle a bit to see clergy person and chef on the list.
 
2013-01-01 06:19:19 PM  
Most people have psychopathologies.
 
2013-01-01 06:25:48 PM  
I'd be interested in finding out whether the reason is "they're drawn to those professions and thrive there" or "those professions turn them into that type of person." I've known people that started out decent, but then got to be CEOs, etc. and it eventually brought out their inner Mr. Hyde.

Pretty much every teenage high school TV show has covered this: dweeby kid dumps his fellow dweeb friends when a spot on the cool kids' lunch table opens up. The thrill of being popular and fear of losing status might be roughly equivalent to the thrill of larger earnings and fear of losing one's executive status. Of course, TV being TV, the former dweeb always realizes his new found friends are assholes and dumps them for his REAL friends, the dweebs, who grudgingly welcome him back into the fold. For the CEO types, that usually happens after they get caught for accounting irregularities or sexual harassment.
 
2013-01-01 06:26:23 PM  
I'd be interested in finding out whether the reason really is "they're drawn to those professions and thrive there" or if it's "those professions turn them into that type of person." I've known people that started out decent, but then got to be CEOs, etc. and it eventually brought out their inner Mr. Hyde.

Pretty much every teenage high school TV show has covered this: dweeby kid dumps his fellow dweeb friends when a spot on the cool kids' lunch table opens up. The thrill of being popular and fear of losing status might be roughly equivalent to the thrill of larger earnings and fear of losing one's executive status. Of course, TV being TV, the former dweeb always realizes his new found friends are assholes and dumps them for his REAL friends, the dweebs, who grudgingly welcome him back into the fold. For the CEO types, that usually happens after they get caught for accounting irregularities or sexual harassment.
 
2013-01-01 06:28:09 PM  

HotIgneous Intruder: Most people have psychopathologies.


Is that what the voices tell you?
 
2013-01-01 06:50:32 PM  
Nice to make the list... on the good side. :)

/creative artist
 
2013-01-01 07:07:52 PM  
I've worked at the executive level and I can say that if it were a children's game, we would call it Shark In The Tank. It takes only a single psycho in the middle of a power structure to have everyone else playing along accordingly. Saw a company destroyed by a backslapper with a good golf game and golden tongue.
 
2013-01-01 07:11:26 PM  
It's getting offensive how many lists classify me as a psychopath.
 
2013-01-01 07:34:35 PM  
Yay!

Another Boing Boing directed two minute hate fest!

Most of us will read that and not be any more informed, but it will help us feel superior to CEOs, lawyers, surgeons, journalists, chefs, cops, priests, and damn right, farking civil servants.

I love Boing Boing. So much stuff of measurably negative value foisted off onto an eager consumer.
 
2013-01-01 08:06:16 PM  
"Civil servant" could be anything -- including, for example, a teacher.

Surgeon = more psycho, but doctor = less?

Care aid therapist?

Article = fluff + trash + trolling
 
2013-01-01 08:13:53 PM  
Huh. Civil servants run higher than IT workers?
 
2013-01-01 08:45:59 PM  
"On the other hand, most of the roles on the left do offer power and many require an ability to make objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings."

So what the article seems to be saying is that making emotional decisions is better than objective clinical decisions.

What. The. Fark.

That has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read.
 
2013-01-01 09:38:07 PM  

cuzsis: "On the other hand, most of the roles on the left do offer power and many require an ability to make objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings."

So what the article seems to be saying is that making emotional decisions is better than objective clinical decisions.

What. The. Fark.

That has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read.


Not at all. It is healthier on a personal level to make decisions emotionally. I don't know how many arguments I had with education and business school profs while serving on various diversity committees because their entire approach toward governance was inimical to positive interpersonal relationships.

Logical and unbiased decisionmaking is poison to society.
 
2013-01-01 10:10:28 PM  
Corporate America self-selects for sociopathy. If you don't put in 12 hours every day, you aren't C-suite material. Only people willing to give up their families and lives make it to CEO.
 
2013-01-01 10:14:26 PM  

angrymacface: Psychopathy? Yes. Sociopathy? No.


There's no established difference between these two words.
 
2013-01-01 10:16:52 PM  

James F. Campbell: angrymacface: Psychopathy? Yes. Sociopathy? No.

There's no established difference between these two words.


In layman terms, one is delusional, the other not.
 
2013-01-01 10:30:01 PM  
I like how Journalist is listed like that's still really a job.
 
2013-01-01 10:48:14 PM  

Atomic Spunk: It made me chuckle a bit to see clergy person and chef on the list.


Really? I thought it be pretty obvious why they are on the list. Some of the creepiest people I know,.
 
2013-01-01 11:36:57 PM  

limeyfellow:
Really? I thought it be pretty obvious why they are on the list. Some of the creepiest people I know,.


Ain't that the truth. I don't know about chefs so much, but clergy - definitely. There's a higher than average number of men of the cloth that gave me that 'something's not quite right, here' feeling versus the general pop. It;s like they have this subtle low-level smarm that they can't really turn off.

I'm not talking about televangelists, either - they wear their screwball antics right on their sleeve, loud and proud. Nothing subtle about that !
 
2013-01-01 11:59:15 PM  

RoyBatty: Yay!

Another Boing Boing directed two minute hate fest!

Most of us will read that and not be any more informed, but it will help us feel superior to CEOs, lawyers, surgeons, journalists, chefs, cops, priests, and damn right, farking civil servants.

I love Boing Boing. So much stuff of measurably negative value foisted off onto an eager consumer.


I hate that Fark allows people to link to that site, it's just an aggregate site that posts total crap over and over again. It's just your typical click for cash BS website.
 
2013-01-02 12:17:44 AM  
The juxtaposition of doctor and surgeon is interesting. Very early on in med school, before I had any idea about what type of residency I'd like to pursue, the faculty's advice was to first choose between surgery and medicine. They all said that was the initial step to take and that it should be painfully obvious which way meshed with one's personality.
 
2013-01-02 12:46:03 AM  

SockMonkeyHolocaust: I think you have to be kind of crazy to want to impose your reality on the world. That man... his name was Dimebag Darrell and he's dead. Now you know the REST of the story.


Random CSB.....

My first time in Chicago, I met Dimebag in the restroom of the Signature Lounge in the Hancock building. He was pissing in the urinal next to me.

I was beyond drunk and as I was attempting to aim my stream in the urinal with one hand, while using my free hand to lift up the sleeve of his shirt to admire his tattoos. He was visibly annoyed, but I was slurring a stream of compliments about his ink and blabbering about how it was my first trip to the city. I asked him what he was doing there and he said he was there with his band. I asked the name and he said "Pantera". I stared at him for a minute and said "Hey.....I've heard of you".

I told my friends the story back at the bar and they pointed him out at the far side of the bar in a VIP area with a bevvy of women surrounding them.

Like I said, CSB......
 
2013-01-02 01:02:40 AM  

TheGhostofFarkPast: I hate that Fark allows people to link to that site, it's just an aggregate site that posts total crap over and over again. It's just your typical click for cash BS website.


Cory often gets his fact wrong but at least it seems his heart is in the right place. Xeni on the other hand goes nuts and banishes anyone who dares not lick her nuts. I still don't understand why they keep her around. Ninety percent of the negativity coming out of that sight is from her. And for all of Cory's whining about freedom of expression, they sure don't allow it from their posters (especially in Xeni threads). The excuse "well, it's a personal blog so we're free to do whatever we want", while true from a legal perspective, certainly doesn't lend any credibility to them being the protectors of online freedom that they try to portray themselves as being. I've thought about writing a browser plugin that would hide posts by Xeni but I don't go to the site enough anymore to bother.
 
2013-01-02 01:18:09 AM  

BolloxReader: cuzsis: "On the other hand, most of the roles on the left do offer power and many require an ability to make objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings."

So what the article seems to be saying is that making emotional decisions is better than objective clinical decisions.

What. The. Fark.

That has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read.

Not at all. It is healthier on a personal level to make decisions emotionally. I don't know how many arguments I had with education and business school profs while serving on various diversity committees because their entire approach toward governance was inimical to positive interpersonal relationships.

Logical and unbiased decisionmaking is poison to society.


I have, quite possibly, hundreds of anecdotal experiences to the opposite.

The quickest ones to stand out are in the field of wildlife management. People's emotional decisions are frequently far worse for the various species in question than the logical science backed facts are. The perfect example of this is wolf management. You have one group that absolutely hates wolves and want to kill them to the point of extinction. And then you have another group that loves wolves to the point where they view killing even *one* animal as a national tragedy. Both sides running on pure emotion to the determent of the environment in general. I don't envy our wildlife biologists and the position they are put in dealing with the public...

Back in the abstract...if one cannot make good decisions using logic and objectivity, then their "logic and objectivity" are probably lacking in general.

/I am not saying it's impossible to make good emotional decisions, but they are a completely coin toss compared to objectively assessing the situation and going from there.
 
2013-01-02 02:01:34 AM  
Wow, lawyers are way farther down the list than I expected.
 
2013-01-02 06:18:53 AM  
Until I started working were I am at, thanks to coworker, I know what a Dimebag Darrell is. I don't understand anything about his music and I like to start a music war with my coworker by putting on Pandora a Katy Perry station. He says I am evil.
 
2013-01-02 07:48:53 AM  

fugeeface: Wow, lawyers are way farther down the list than I expected.


I know a number of lawyers who are downright good people.  The difference is that they work to keep their clients OUT of court.  Their jobs are really administrative or consulting, advising clients to keep them out of trouble.  Bullshiat lawsuits are obviously a concern, but they also keep organizations in compliance with various regulations and prevent them from getting screwed by their business partners (suppliers, distributors, joint ventures, etc.).  It's a bit boring, but they actually keep the wheels of society greased.  If trial lawyers are hitmen for hire, these lawyers are bodyguards -- when they actually set foot into a courtroom, they see it as failure.

Noting full well the list is unscientific so this is just jabber, I'd remove cop from the list and add corporate lobbyist.  Cops can be idiots and assholes, sure, but dealing with people is what they do for a living.  I can call the bad ones a number of things, but I've yet to meet a cop that was socially unhinged.  On the other hand, corporate lobbyists are paid to basically dictate reality.  The job almost REQUIRES psychopathy as you essentially work for faceless shareholders.  You have to be willing and capable of writing off all manner of massive suffering as the cost of doing business.

Also, "charity worker" probably belongs in both columns.  Some charity workers are the best people you'll ever meet, but a lot of "charities" are basically tax dodges packed with some rich asshole's useless friends, collecting money from generous people to basically advance the same sociopathic agendas as the people who founded the shams.
 
2013-01-02 08:28:29 AM  

James F. Campbell: There's no established difference between these two words.


Not professionally, no, but there are a lot of gaps that are being filled in this area.  We've learned more about psychology in the last 20 years than the prior 200.  It's rather remarkable how much psychology was psuedoscience even one generation ago (though I don't know if that ratio has improved overall).  In any case, the reason why there's no distinction is because psychiatrists are, like doctors, focused on the root cause -- if it's the same cause, it's the same disease, so same treatment.  (An analogy would be that an ear infection and wound infection have dramatically different symptoms, but they're both treated with antibiotics.  That said, I note they're given different medical names anyway.)  The difference between psychopathy and sociopathy may just be symptomatic, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.  A guy who disembowels you to wear your intestines around his neck and guy who lays you off so his company's stock can go up one-quarter of a percent may have the same inability to empathize, but the behavior patterns are undeniably different.

snoproblem: There's a higher than average number of men of the cloth that gave me that 'something's not quite right, here' feeling versus the general pop. It;s like they have this subtle low-level smarm that they can't really turn off.

 

Thirded.  Many of my employer's clients are religious; I have to listen to their sermons from time to time as part of my work.  They're downright creepy.  It's like listening to an abuser brainwash his/her victim.  "You are useless by yourself, what I offer transcends your very thoughts, you cannot be happy otherwise, blah blah bleargh."

And here's a controversial pick. . . soldier.  Like charity workers, some set the bar for altruism.  But others join the military knowing full well they're going to be paid to kill people, and that's in fact the appeal.  There aren't nearly as many of them as the hippies would have people believe, but damn if the creepy ones don't ping the psychodar to 11.  I haven't met any psychopathic officers, but I've been told the ones who join to live out John Clancy novel fantasies have an almost hilarious game of musical chairs going on under them as everyone with any sense of self-preservation tries to transfer out of their command at the first chance.
 
2013-01-02 09:38:35 AM  

gerbilpox: "Civil servant" could be anything -- including, for example, a teacher.

Surgeon = more psycho, but doctor = less?

Care aid therapist?

Article = fluff + trash + trolling


Teachers are often public employees but aren't, at least in states I'm familiar with, are NOT civil servants and do not take the civil service exam. And you also clearly don't know enough doctors and surgeons to appreciate the very clear distinction that even they acknowledge exists (hint: the medical department and the surgical department are separate entities for a reason and the members of each won't let you forget it).
 
2013-01-02 10:17:32 AM  
interesting... well, not really. this is just some goofball's attempt to circumscribe people he doesn't know according to his own simplistic world view.
 
2013-01-02 10:25:28 AM  
The CEO of my hospital is definitely a psychopath/sociopath. We're all forced to keep FoxNews on our lobby TVs, and working here is like being in the mob, with much less respect.

/looking elsewhere
 
2013-01-02 11:17:29 AM  

tillerman35: I'd be interested in finding out whether the reason is "they're drawn to those professions and thrive there" or "those professions turn them into that type of person." I've known people that started out decent, but then got to be CEOs, etc. and it eventually brought out their inner Mr. Hyde.
.


I've known cops that fit the same bill. Nice guys who go into the academy, and come out drunk drivers and wife beaters.
 
2013-01-02 11:21:15 AM  

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: Corporate America self-selects for sociopathy. If you don't put in 12 hours every day, you aren't C-suite material. Only people willing to give up their families and lives make it to CEO.


Not really.  There are plenty of workaholics who are perfectly empathetic towards the people around them.  They simply enjoy work, are a willing employee to help out the company or enjoy the overtime pay.

What starts getting you into the sociopath club is when your decisions are made with little or no empathy regard others, that you do not regret those actions because of the harm done to others and that you actually achieve an emotional high through those actions.  How high can I go, fark everyone else.

And a good sociopath will make excuses to suppress any sort of empathy.  They'll often turn the blame onto the people they just farked, suggesting that if they were smart enough, they never would have been farked to begin with.

Somebody upthread mentioned IT people.  Many of them are perfectionist control freaks with huge egos, but that doesn't necessarily equate to sociopathy.  In their view, they're just trying to keep their piece of the machine working because that's the way it should be.  It evolves into a twisted sense of loyalty.  A sociopath is only loyal to themselves and will feign it to others only to achieve some goal that benefits themselves.
 
2013-01-02 11:48:25 AM  
I can't get to the site at work, but was HR on the list?
 
2013-01-02 11:59:57 AM  

LemSkroob: Nice guys who go into the academy, and come out drunk drivers and wife beaters.


I don't know if it's the academy that does it.  For all the unjustified bad they do, cops really do see the worst of society on a daily basis.  Imagine pulling over all kinds of cars, from hippiemobiles with kumbaya bumper stickers to that clean-cut suburbanite driving a Ford Explorer with a McCain/Palin bumper sticker and every single farking one tells you all kinds of pathetic, blatant lies just to get out of a well-deserved ticket.  It doesn't matter what skin color, politics, religion, style, gender, job, income or age they are; you see liars of all spots & stripes.  And that's the easy stuff.  The hard stuff is like busting into a motel room packed with a dozen armed druggies and finding they were using one of the small children they bred by farking each other as a prostitute.  They're all diseased and miserable and borderline retarded yet one of them is somehow clever enough to hook up with an ambulance chaser to sue the department for brutality because you kicked his sick ass for using the kid like a piece of meat.  After a while I'd be like "eff it" and would hit the button that snuffs out society if given the choice.  I think cops, like teachers, are often vastly underqualified for the jobs they sign up for, but a lot of that is because the public has an inexcusably huge misunderstanding of just how impossible it is to do the job well.  We wind up with a lot of bad ones because it takes either a saint or an asshole to sign up for a such a crappy job with impossible expectations, and we'll always have way more assholes than saints.

Dinjiin: A sociopath is only loyal to themselves and will feign it to others only to achieve some goal that benefits themselves.


Not really; a sociopath is someone who can't grasp the feelings of others.  In a way it's like their entire life from birth is like some sort of video game they can't quit -- they might even be nice at times, but they set off that "creepy" vibe because they can only imitate understanding.  They're often polite, but whenever they're nice it comes off as rehearsed, because it is.  That's not deception per se; that's really the best they can do to fit into society.  While sociopathy makes someone more likely to hurt others, they're not necessarily sadistic and can well be self-loathing.  Often times they're just unbelievably insensitive or inconsiderate -- again, they're incapable of understanding other people.  Where I'm going with this is that someone "only loyal to themselves" often isn't a sociopath.  What you're really describing is someone conniving, which isn't remarkable or clinical.  Some are very empathic; they're just bitter or burned out.  Others are just assholes.  What I see in a Wall Street investor is a sociopath that's also afflicted with something like delusion, bipolar disorder or megalomania.  They're not only incapable of feeling; they have to have a clinically oversized ego or other ambition to drive that sociopathy into something harmful.  The majority of sociopaths aren't much more than social outcasts.

The really weird thing is that I've seen a lot of politicians give off that "psychopath" vibe.  It might be because their behavior is well-rehearsed due to media scrutiny (which would rather analyze the flag pins on their suits than their policy drafts), but the end result is the same.  A number of politicians have been reported to be much warmer when they're not near a camera or microphone, though that's also often when their true colors show up and they go from being creepy to batshiat crazy or retarded.
 
2013-01-02 03:47:31 PM  
As a reporter, I agree with this article.

We're a bunch of bastards.

...And you wouldn't believe some of the sick, evil things I have done to people...both in my personal and professional life.
 
2013-01-02 04:06:06 PM  

dragonchild: Some are very empathic; they're just bitter or burned out


My understanding was that if they were empathetic, it was a trained response (logical), not a natural one (emotional).  They just understood that a lack of empathy in the wrong situation would result in a very awkward moment for them around others, so they fake it.

dragonchild: While sociopathy makes someone more likely to hurt others, they're not necessarily sadistic and can well be self-loathing.


I've heard and read a number of times that sociopaths often resort to some sort of extreme and/or risky behavior in order to fill their emotional void.  Some do it through dangerous sports, others do it through a grab for power in a high risk industry.  Sometimes other people get mowed over, other times not.  As you point out, they're not sadistic and aren't hunting for ways to mow people over, they just don't really care when it happens.

How far off is that?
 
2013-01-02 05:40:19 PM  

Dinjiin: My understanding was that if they were empathetic, it was a trained response (logical), not a natural one (emotional).


I'm not talking about psychopaths there, per se.  I was talking about assholes.

Dinjiin: I've heard and read a number of times that sociopaths often resort to some sort of extreme and/or risky behavior in order to fill their emotional void. . . How far off is that?


I personally think the definitive book on psychopathy/sociopathy has yet to be written.  My own hypothesis isn't that it's a "void" per se, if you consider boredom a void.  I mean, have you ever destroyed bubble wrap just to fill time?  To sociopaths, people are bubble wrap.  They can have their own opinions about it, ranging from meh (where it just sits on the shelf until it's useful) to thoroughly enjoying its destruction, but you're not exactly going to try to relate to it, let alone invest emotions.  And if it's destroyed?  Oh well.  That's not a void, though.

So while there has to be some other sort of motivation before psychopathy becomes dangerous, I think it's not a "void" in sense of a desperate need for fulfillment so much as psychopathy is inherently unstable.  I mean, psychopaths can be aware of social consequences, but remorse certainly doesn't slow them down.  So hitting someone and seeing their reaction for pain. . . nothing.  Again, bubble wrap.  It could be interesting, but there's no emotional feedback upon seeing the victim's reaction.  So there's nothing stopping the psychopath from going farther -- to murder, then torture and/or mutilation.  I mean, it's a crapshoot as to whether they get some sort of thrill out of it, but even a non-violent psychopath could watch and just shrug as his own toddler daughter plays with his gun and eventually blows her own head off (apparently something like this really happened).  Again, not sadistic, just can't tell the difference between living and non-living things.
 
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