The Psychopath: A New Subspecies of Homo Sapien
The psychopath is a unique and quite dangerous subgroup within our species. He, or she, is capable of deadly manipulations executed with unbelievably cold, calculated intellectual and emotional maneuvers. Charming, lacking in empathy, guilt, responsibility and the normal range of human emotion, they move among us with an often impeccable mask that makes them virtually undetectable. There are several evolutionary hypotheses which attempt to explain their behavior, however the best fit is that they represent a cheating reproductive strategy, one geared towards the production of many offspring for which they afford no long term care.
Support for this thesis comes in a various forms. We know that psychopaths are callous, deceptive, promiscuous, and egocentric (Cleckley, 1941: 337-364). They are also mostly male: almost four times as many more psychopathic men then women (Sigvardsson, et al, 1982). This makes them ideal for mating with many women and then leaving them subsequently, once the deed is done, so to speak. It also confers a psychological advantage in that they have the ability to manipulate women by mimicking emotional attachment, or deceiving them about resources they can offer. The same is also true for female psychopaths, who can often create the impression of being in distress which elicits more financial and physical support from the men they mate with. There is a genetic basis to the trait, demonstrated in many twin adoption studies (Viding et al, 2005 & Larsson et al, 2006: 221-30).
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