As a little girl, I once asked an aunt: “How do you know you’re crazy?” Her answer was, “If you worry that you are, then you’re not, because crazy people don’t care if they’re crazy.” I always kept that in my mind’s arsenal, along with my one semester’s worth of a collegiate psychology course for whenever I was talking to someone and they seemed a little… off. “So… have you ever wondered if you were crazy? I’m just curious, that’s all! Why are you looking at me like that?”
However, figuring out psychopaths have taken a very interesting turn. Just in case you’re unclear about the definition, an psychopath is an abnormal lack of empathy hidden behind an outwardly normal manner
. A few years ago on The Daily Show, I was introduced to Jon Ronson. The English filmmaker and author wrote a book entitled “The Psychopath Test,” that describes his journey into the minds of psychopaths.
In a promotional video on his publisher’s website
he claims: “The problem with psychopaths, psychologists say, is that they’re everywhere. Some say that one out of every hundred of us are psychopaths… you probably passed one on the street today.”
*BREAKS SCREECH TO A HAULT* WHAT?! You expect that that one coworker, or that barista who occasionally laughs maniacally whenever they hand you your cappuccino might not be so right in the head, but, psychopathic?
In his book, The Psychopath Test, he hypothesizes that the modern day psychopath isn’t the person who is slobbering in a straight jacket, mumbling about the government under a bare bulb, but potentially the people in corner offices, or in political positions. These people are highly efficient, determined, and might share the qualities of being psychopaths.
Using Hare’s 20 point psychopath test, Ronson evaluated people from former Fortune 500 CEOs, former death squad leaders, reality show producers, and executives and found that some fall under the category of psychopaths. They shared qualities of superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self, a lack of empathy, and so on.
It made him personally start evaluating a lot of people in his inner circle, and after reading the book, it made me evaluate a few people on reality television. Not pointing any fingers, but… superficial charm? Grandiose sense of self-worth? Lack of empathy? You’re telling me this isn’t common in reality stars? Hey, I calls ’em like I sees ’em…
Now, before you work yourself up in a tizzy and rush into your boss’s office demanding that he/she acknowledge the psychopath within, you all know that I’m an advocate of finding fault within ourselves before pointing fingers. So, before you start evaluating others, here is the 20 point test. Do it, figure out your score, and find out if you yourself are a psychopath. But, before you embark on this journey, know that to be fully evaluated that you need a medical professional to adequately score you. This information is presented to you out of jest and interest, please do not become an amateur psychologist, just brandishing the test around like you’re a professional. Finally, I think there’s a psychopath behind you RIGHT NOW!! Just kidding!
For scoring, you score yourself on a scale of 0 to 2 per question. Anything below a 30 is normal. 30 and up… yeah, you’re a psychopath (the standard definition: ).
For each of the 20 characteristics, give a score of 0 if it does not apply, 1 if it applies partially and 2 if it is a perfect match.