Test Your Knowledge

KNOWLEDGE IS: Your best weapon against the fear and myths surrounding psychopathy

#1. Psychopathy usually results from experiencing abuse and trauma in childhood


RIGHT ANSWER: Psychopathy is a developmental disorder. Like other developmental disorders, it results from both genetic and environmental risk factors.  However, experiencing trauma and abuse is not a primary cause of psychopathy.

#2. Almost all people who are psychopathic are men


RIGHT ANSWER: Psychopathy affects both men and women. Psychopathy is approximately twice as common in men–but it is a relatively common disorder in both men and women. Men who are psychopathic are more likely to be violent or physically aggressive, whereas women are more likely to engage in social or relational aggression.

#3. Only a minority of people who are psychopathic are violent criminals


RIGHT ANSWER: It is a myth that the prototypical psychopath is a serial killer or some other kind of violent criminal. Although psychopathy increases a person’s risk for physical aggression, most people who are psychopathic are not violent criminals. And only approximately half of violent criminals are psychopathic.

#4. There are "tells" you can use to figure out if someone is psychopathic during a conversation


RIGHT ANSWER: It is very hard to detect psychopathy in someone you don’t know well. People who are psychopathic may show no outward signs of callousness or narcissism, and often come across as friendly and genuinely likable. Psychopathy reveals itself as a pattern of consistently callous, deceitful, manipulative, and exploitative behaviors across relationships and over time.

#5. Psychopathy can be treated


RIGHT ANSWER: It is a myth that psychopathy is untreatable. Although much more research needs to be done to develop more effective treatment options, there are a number of available treatments demonstrated to improve symptoms in psychopathic children and adults.

#6. About what proportion of people are psychopathic?


RIGHT ANSWER: Approximately 1 in 100 people are psychopathic, although the rate varies somewhat across countries, and may be higher in men. This makes psychopathy a relatively common mental disorder–as common as autism or panic disorder and more common than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.



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