Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest?

Discuss

147 Responses to “Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest?”

  1. crummett says:

    That explains a lot.

  2. Boris Bartlog says:

    The surgeon versus doctor divergence is interesting. I can actually see how being a bit of a psychopath would help if you were a surgeon; it would be hard for a normal person to rapidly slice into someone with the same lack of empathy they would have for a side of beef, but in the surgeon’s case sympathy would just slow them down. Would have been even truer back before general anesthesia, of course.
    Journalists on the psycho list surprise me, though.

    • The Rizz says:

      “Journalists” probably include people like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc. Those high-profile personalities will probably skew the results.

    • Jim Saul says:

      Bill O’Reilly alone could account for that.

    • Mordicai says:

      I remember hearing that factoid– about surgeons being the kind of MONSTERS who want to CUT PEOPLE UP– in a Psych 101 class & going “huh, there is some intuitive appeal there, but cite needed.”

      Here we go I guess.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      As the sibling of doctors and nurses I’ve heard enough stories about surgeons to agree with this.  They disconnect themselves from the patient during the surgery somewhat.  They even invent games like “Who can have a patient lose the least blood during surgery”

      • headcode says:

        Well, at least it’s not the opposite!

        • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

          I left out an important detail.  This guy though based it on how much blood had to be put in so he liked to push things a bit to avoid giving a transfusion and ruining his “score”.

      •  Thats actually a good thing:  Loosing a lot of blood is a bad thing

      • blueelm says:

        Huh? why would they not? Surgeons have high rates of PTSD. In order to do things like that you *have* to dissociate or else you’ll lose it. That’s not psychopathy though :/ Actually this whole article is making me more sure than ever that psychopathy is kind of a made up term people use for the extremes of just about personality disorder that had been referred to as “cluster b” at some point and/or a way to avoid the less pleasant realities of the self.

        I’ll put it to you this way: I could cut some one if I had the training and knew doing so well could be helpful in the long run. I could not do so while empathizing with them. Why? I’d end up killing them that way.

        If being a “psychopath” means lacking empathy at some place or time in life then MOST people are psychopathic.

    • euansmith says:

      I like the gag in “Scrubs” where the practitioners look down on the surgeons as being butchers rather than doctors.

    • Journalists — it’s all those deadlines forever looming…

    • Paul Keogh says:

      but journalists have no morals and are divorced emotionally from subject matter..mkes sense if you think any of this makes sense

  3. jimh says:

    Surgeons, yes.
    Doctors? Not so much.

  4. Is he talking about the full blown psychopathy syndrome or just prevalence of personality characteristics associated with psychopathy?  It’s not the same thing.

  5. remainzz says:

    Ive seen many films with psycho CEOs in world domination fantasies, ie most bond villains.But I’ve also seen many care aide workers villains who reluctantly look after some sick relative and then go out killing in some form of twisted revenge.

    This seems rather unfair now.

    • Boundegar says:

      Yes but the caregivers feel bad afterward.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’ve also seen many care aide workers villains who reluctantly look after some sick relative and then go out killing in some form of twisted revenge.

      You are talking about the movies, right? Right?

      • nixiebunny says:

        This does happen in real life, but the rate of occurrence is about .000001%.

        • Eric Ware says:

          Actually some current research indicates that psychopaths are able to turn on and off their sense of empathy at will. This is particularly useful in order to manipulate others. A psychopath would be easy to spot if they were never able to respond to the emotions of others. Christian Keysers and Robert Hare have conducted extensive research on the topic.

          • Catbeller says:

            I’ll add this, unpopular as it will be. Foot soldiers are trained to be psychopaths. The have to shut down empathy to do what they do, which is to kill on command or on standing orders. Drone operators who have to blow up weddings. The tank drivers who blew up a building with journalists standing on it – and knew it.
            True military training requires taking normal humans and instilling in them psychopathic tendencies. This explains so much about PTSD and veterans who can’t put it out of their heads – they are not physiological psychopaths, so they crack. True psychopaths go on to work for Blackwater or similar.

          • 3FootSmurf says:

            true psychopaths do not feel empathy, however if they are around people and witness it long enough they can Emulate it very well  (fake it accurately). It is the only way they can manipulate others to achieve their goals in a normal environment.

            and IRT CaptainFacepunch below will do need a good book to read

          • CaptainFacepunch says:

             Read “The Mask of Sanity” for further understanding on psychopaths and the ability to fake empathy.

    • Sekino says:

      There are heroes and villains in both groups. But there are many more care givers/social workers who’ll stay with a job with shit pay and shitty (often literally), soul-crushing conditions and little recognition merely because they want to help people and because they feel it is needed than CEOs who’ll do the job for a miserly salary just because they care about job creation, advancement of technology, etc.

      • nixiebunny says:

        Didn’t Steve Jobs have a $1 salary while he was taking over the world at the helm of Apple?

        • Sekino says:

          Did I say ALL CEOs are psychopaths? Nope, I just think it makes a lot of sense for more psychopaths to be attracted to the job of CEO than that of a care giver.

          As far a Steve Jobs is concerned, from the admittedly little I know about his personality, I doubt he would have stuck with that plan if it was ensured he’d never make it big. But I admit that’s just because most things I heard about him made him look like a megalomaniac douchebag. Perhaps wrongly?

          • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

            Is the CEO the biggest psychopath in the room or the people surrounding them who accept that culture?  No dictator could run a country without plenty of people happy to make it happen.

          • Sirkowski says:

            Who says they aren’t all psychopaths? These personalities attract each others. Just look at Hitler or Stalin’s inner circles.

        • Clemoh says:

          I do believe we are examining the rule and not the exception.  However, Job’s vow to go ‘thermonuclear’ on Android is highly suspect:

          “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

          ..especially considering that he was quite proud of taking other people’s ideas…

          “Picasso had a saying: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”

          The lack of empathy and recognition of hypocrisy coupled with an overt disregard for the creations and ideas of others places him squarely in the category of sociopath, if not psychopath.

          • cdh1971 says:

            Steve Jobs behaved badly in the ways you describe Clemoh, and in many other ways, but he doesn’t fit the definition of psychopath/sociopath as I understand it (going by Dr. Robert Hare’s definition here: 
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hare_(psychologist)

            Instead, Steve Job’s behaviour seems to fit the description of ‘Productive Narcissists’, a subset of people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD),or those who present with characteristics of NPD, but not severe enough to be diagnosed with NPD. 

            Here are a couple of references:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_leadership#Productive_narcissists

            Here is an article about Steve Jobs specifically:

            http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/panelists/2009/06/a-productive-narcissist.html

            Interesting and worth checking out. As an FYI — I am not condemning Steve Jobs here, I think he meant well and was as human as most of the rest of us….how he went about it however…

          • blueelm says:

            I would actually imagine a lot of the people being called psychopaths here are in fact garden variety narcissists. That’s like calling all white mushrooms Destroying Angels though.

            Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had everything I worked for, my entire life, my heart, my hope, and my safety destroyed by a narcissist. It doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. But typically they only hurt spouses, their kids, etc. The rest of the world is generally going to love whatever they produce and ignore the production costs if they’re useful and/or feel bad for them if they aren’t.

            And other people will project their fantasies of what it would be like to be them, and in doing so protect them!

            Yay!

          • Paul Keogh says:

             a subset of people..I laugh at all these labels ..you’re either fully awake conscious human being or your not..all labels inbetween are symptoms of  the only madness which is disconnection from the soul or true conciousness
            try toxic psychiatry by Dr Bregin

          • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

            I don’t see how indignation and the resolution to right a wrong makes someone a psychopath — by that measure, I guess Lincoln and Churchill would qualify too.

            I haven’t read Jobs’s biography and it’s entirely possible that it contains multiple instances of him behaving like a psychopath, but his response to Android is most definitely not it. 

            Besides, if Android is so important to you, you should be grateful to Jobs that it ended up as a copy of iOS, and not as a copy of BlackBerry, which is where it was initially headed.

          • Girard says:

            You probably shouldn’t respond to a comment after only reading the first half of it.

          • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

            Well, I guess I hit the depth limit, but… Girard, what in the second part of Clemoh’s comment, which I did read in full, do you feel should have prevented me from posted mine?

        • GawainLavers says:

          Yes…Steve Jobs paid taxes on a $1 salary. Only schmucks and “takers” receive a significant amount of their income in “salary”…

          • Jonathan Roberts says:

            Thanks for pointing that out; I was starting to feel less sorry for the people living on $1/day. I mean, Steve Jobs seemed to be able to stretch $1 out pretty well in California over a whole year, so what are people in SE Asia complaining about?

          • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

            Yup.  That is why capital gains taxes have been pushed so low.

      • Julie Ball says:

        Capitalist competition guarantees that the most psychopathic people will win.

      • Paul Keogh says:

        are you kidding theres so many nutters and mentally ill folk in the care industry its unbeleivable..just check the news..

    • rtb61 says:

       Statistics and averages are not now nor ever will be exclusionary. After he left politicians off the list but then that is not really meant to be a profession, psychopaths just turn it into one.

    • euansmith says:

      Um… Psycho and Misery spring to mind…

  6. Jim Saul says:

    So where does “Congressman” fall?

    How about “CIA torturer?”

    Are those both grouped under “Civil Servant?”

    And how about hedge fund speculators?

    • gibbon1 says:

      Well that is an interesting one. Psychopaths love working interrogation. The problem is they are bad, really bad at it. The point of interrogation as a friends grandfather a WWII OSS officer said is to get the guy to actively try to help you. Which is unlikely to happen after you’ve crushed his nuts in a garlic press.

      • Jim Saul says:

        That brings up the most destructive paradox of our society… the disconnect between the skills and temperament it takes to get a certain job, and those it takes to do it well.

        Psychopaths excel most of all at self-promotion, which, unfortunately, is the only skill that matters at all in getting the job.

      • Marc Mielke says:

        One of my objections to using torture in interrogations is that it detracts from the purity and artistry of torture. A true artist never compromises his ideals just for paltry ‘information’. 

  7. chgoliz says:

    Who do we, as a society, value most?  The ones we pay more money and/or prestige to.  So, obviously, we really, really value our psychopaths.

    • sdmikev says:

      excellent point.  teabagger turds are quick to try and take away teachers’ salaries, but god love the guy that can play with a ball really well or drive a car around in a circle really fast..

    • Robert says:

      Except that I don’t give my money directly to the psychopath. I give it to someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for…….. someone who works for the psychopath. As you go up the chain, it gets more psychopathic. It’s a sort of natural hierarchy of psychopaths, and that doesn’t mean that the people at the bottom like it.

      • chgoliz says:

        As sdmikev points out, there is a lot of public outcry over the salary of teachers, for example, but we literally excuse criminal behavior in CEOs if their companies are large and powerful enough.

        We are all complicit in the grotesque difference in pay scales.

  8. db says:

    Is it just me, or do the jobs on the left mostly tend to be “men’s” jobs and those on the right mostly “women’s” jobs?

    Are women less likely to exhibit psychopathic traits, or were they just held down by The Man in the past, and had to be psychopathic in lower-profile jobs?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy#Sex_differences

      This list makes sense if you go with the approach that male psychopaths tend to externalize their psychopathic behavior and female psychopaths tend to internalize their psychopathic behavior.

      • Marko Raos says:

        I’d agree and link it with the cave evolutionary hypothesis. Male hunting bands cannot tolerate selfish behavior within the group, especially while on the hunt or in times of war. Psychopathic behavior is reserved strictly for the “other”. Females, on the other hand, stay in the cave and manage limited resources among themselves. Their psychopathic competitive behavior is directed at the members of the group – which female will get the best food for her children?
        It’s all about natural selection criteria and the way males and females evolved in different environments, according to subtly different societal rules.
        In addition, the way psychopathic behavior is exhibited generally differs between genders. A male on a war path is encouraged to exhibit his lack of empathy in bashing other peoples’ skulls quite openly. In fact, the more psychotic you appear in battle, the more benefits you gain. Female psychopaths, on the other hand, needed to balance appearance and actions in a subtle way. Nominally, they are all working for the benefit of the cave/tribe, but a female which is selfish and manages to conceal the selfishness enough so the others won’t gang up on her will have an edge over her competitors.

        • It’s worth pointing out that, even in a hunter-gatherer society with strong gender-role specialization, the men are hunters of large and medium game, while the women are the gatherers, who may also “gather” small animals.  The hunters may focus their efforts on organized hunts, and thus may stay home many days, whereas the gatherers are more likely to go out every day.  Large game hunting may absolutely require intense cooperation, but gathering is more efficient and safer with cooperation as well.  (Also, in many environments, gathering is the more effective mode and may bring in the greater part of the calories.)

          One sometimes hears evolutionary pseudobiology that makes the Paleolithic sound like the Flintstones (that is, like the1950s).  “I think you’ll find that it’s a little more complicated than that.”

          • Marko Raos says:

            “I think you’ll find that it’s a little more complicated than that.”
            Of course it is, but as a broad tool I find it quite useful and accurate more often than not. And besides, male hunting bands are much more than just about “hunting large game.” Arguably their most important role is warfare – territorial competition with other tribes. So, it’s not all about direct calorie collection, not by far. The women may gather plants and small game for most calories, but they are extremely dependent on protection by the males… which does not make females “inferior” to the males in any way, quite the opposite – matriarchy is the norm for hg societies. In fact, it is quite fascinating how human hunter-gatherer societies resemble lion prides in so many respects – from gender roles to interactions between prides/tribes.

    • Sekino says:

      It’s possible that many traits traditionally encouraged in men are similar to psychopathic traits: domination, competition, lack of emotion (especially nurturing, tender emotions)…

      I think there are probably many women who are psychopaths as well, but society doesn’t enable/celebrate them as much. An uncaring, ruthless, selfish woman isn’t nearly as accepted as a man with the same *ahem* ‘go-getter’ qualities.

    • nixiebunny says:

      Men tend to predominately hunt and kill the beast then sit around telling tall tales to each other around the campfire, while women predominately tend to clean the beast, cook it, feed it to the men and children, clean up the mess, worry about the tiger that wants to eat her kids…

    • blueelm says:

      The jobs on the right are also low paying and generally low status (as expected for work tainted by the presence women, who generally are estimated at lower labor value). Depending on what we’re calling psychopath that would be expected.

    • Preston Sturges says:

      That’s a tricky question, because many people on the right would have “borderline personality,” which meant “borderline psychopath.”

      It’s probably easier to understand if you think of people on the right as being prone to codependence and severe depression, but the kind of depression that morphs into violent rage.  Nurses. teachers, and social workers are prominent.  They are rageaholics, and they are primarily masochists rather than sadists, but they can easily flip into sadist mode. 

      • Liberty_First says:

        Load of garbage

        • Preston Sturges says:

          Merely pointing out that there does not seem to be a definition of “psychopath,” but that psychopathic traits are also over-represented in the right hand column.  It’s just that laymen tend to discount psychopathic traits when someone is cutting themselves instead of others. 

      • CaptainFacepunch says:

        “That’s a tricky question, because many people on the right would have “borderline personality,” which meant “borderline psychopath.”” This is incorrect. Borderline Personality Disorder does not correlate to Psychopathy. In fact, most people with BPD tend to self-destruct and self-defeat rather than succeed and prosper in the environments in which psychopaths succeed and flourish.

    • euansmith says:

      I guess like Autism, the female brain may be better at hiding Psychopathic traits better than male brains.

      • cdh1971 says:

        The hiding you make note of is also called “masking” and it is true that females can be able to mask better than males. Part of this is due to the fact that males tend to act out in ways that attract more attention, and some of it is also due to some females having superior masking skills, among other things. It’s pretty complex ;)

    • Girard says:

      In the OP it mentions that psychopathic professions tend to be those in which people can wield power. Historically (and today) it has been much easier for men to secure positions of power, and positions of power have traditionally been seen as “masculine” professions. I would say it says less about any “inherent” gender disparity or edifying any evolutionary psychology hogwash, and more about social power structures and their historic relation to gender.

      I would suspect that women who do secure positions in those left jobs are similarly more likely to exhibit psychopathy than women in the right column. Likewise, men who go against expectations and pursue careers in the right column may be more likely to be empathic than men who pursue in the left column. (Admittedly this is probably mostly based on my anecdotal experience as a male preschool teacher whose mother grew up being tortured by psychopathic nuns in Catholic boarding school – vocation is more related to temperament than gender). The fact that more men are in one column and more women in the other derives from other social factors.

  9. ciacontra says:

    So since I am a lawyer but due to the crappy legal job market now a craftsperson professionally, does that make me a reformed psychopath?  Or schizo?  Or just ‘normal’?

    • Ipo says:

      If you were a narcissistic psychopath you’d probably do just fine lawyering even in a crappy legal job market.  Unable to compete with the naturals you found something more worthwhile and suitable. 
      Hopefully. 

      • Mazoola says:

        I think you’re overlooking the possibility that ciacontra might simply be an incompetent psychopath. I mean, it’s not as if ‘psychopath’ is the only requirement for becoming, say, a lawyer or corporate executive. True, I suspect a psychopathic personality allows many to punch above their class — lord knows I’ve worked with or for CEOs I wouldn’t let manage a Foot Locker — but the law of averages indicates there must be some stupid or ineffective psychopaths.

        I mean, why else would we have medical schools in Grenada?

  10. jbond says:

    Apparently psychopaths (like the poor) are always with us. Your next task is to construct a social system that makes use of that fact for the greatest benefit of the greatest number. What say you that we base it on the pursuit of happiness?

  11. cwcaton says:

    Is this based on anything approaching a rigorous scientific investigation? It seems a bit too convenient.

    • joe k. says:

      Yeah, I would LOVE to see the research data and methodology. One does not simply walk into a Law Firm or a Board Room and start issuing psychopathy tests without raising some eyebrows, much less go through each of those professions to gather a large enough sample size to make such pat conclusions.

      (Or maybe they DID in fact do such research? That would be an amazing accomplishment, one that the author might consider placing on the Amazon.com blurb on an otherwise tl;dr pop-psych pot-boiler…)

      • blueelm says:

        I just read “methodology” as “numerology” in your post because I’m also on the phone. You know, I would not be surprised though if their methodology did have more in common with numerology…

      • GawainLavers says:

        I’m going to go out in a limb and guess that this list is B.S., especially since “authors of smug self-help books” don’t make the list.  It’s clearly written to be plausible, though.

    • Girard says:

      Yeah, my first response was [citation needed], where “citation” means more than “link to the Amazon order page for a pop-psychology book by someone I’ve never heard of”

      I’m inclined to be sympathetic to the point the list is making, but that makes me even more concerned about it being substantiated by genuine quantitative research.

  12. robertdee says:

    I get the impression it would be just as scientific to use a ducking stool to test for psychopaths.

  13. Politician is definitely on the left column

  14. blueelm says:

    Based on my experience in the arts I think there are plenty of psychopathic artists or “creative artists” out there. Plenty.

    I’d say the same of charity workers. Ok. “Charity” workers perhaps, but there is nothing more miserable than a pious psychopath.

    What I would love to know though, is how are they diagnosing these people with psychopathy? Because if you think about it, assuming you ARE a psychopath and your supply requires you convince people you are NURSE NICE, you aren’t going to go telling people things that make you look like a psychopath are you? Unless you’re a stupid psychopath… but then you probably aren’t on this list because your career stopped when you shot that guy on the other side of the liquor store counter.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’d say the same of charity workers.

      If you’ve worked in charities, you know that not all the workers do any work. Charity spokespeople and executives could definitely be psychopathic.

      • Jim Saul says:

        Especially if you include the “charities” that become the object of 60 Minutes investigations.

        They should even get extra points. A normal psychopath makes a great corporate climber, a particularly malicious one does that in a tobacco company or military contractor.

        But to choose specifically to divert charity to enrich oneself takes a special kind of predator… one that evokes even in the most saintly a lust for cruel karmic justice.

      • Wreckrob8 says:

        Cherie Blair CBE. I am now going to go and throw up.

  15. Chris Green says:

    Kind of hard to lend much credence to a list where “video game developer” didn’t make the “+” column :-)

    • blueelm says:

      It is ok no business analysts, civil engineers, DBAs, or machinists either!

      • Preston Sturges says:

        Sys admins go in the left column, DBAs in the right. 

        • phuzz says:

          It’s not true that sys-admins are psychopathic and have no empathy.  We care plenty about our servers and will go to great lengths to protect them form those horrid users ;)

          (and I’ve met DBAs I’d put in the left column)

    • Pag says:

      As a video game developer, I can say that the few people I met who may have shown some psychopathic traits were working in management, and most of the time cared little for the actual games beyond their profitability. The vast majority of developers are regular folks who just want to create cool games.

      • echolocate chocolate says:

        One may wish to follow Mr Green’s profile link… :)

        • EvilSpirit says:

           One did, and found his ideas all the more puzzling.

          • blueelm says:

            I think he was just pointing out that the list itself is skewed to certain jobs. These certain jobs happen to correspond to our own social biases about careers. Also, he’s probably just being all “Look at me! Look where I work!”

            Clearly this means that video game developers go in the left hand column. Clearly.

          • echolocate chocolate says:

            I assumed he was just being flippant, as everyone knows that video game developers spend all their time making murder simulators.

      • Paul Keogh says:

        definitely middle management-are the worst culprits..institutinalized thinkers ..I think some psychologists ironiaclly fit this ..theyre so busy profiling that they forget to take the person as an individual because they;re trying to fit them neatly onto some spectrum..

  16. mesocosm says:

    This list is complete bullshit. Or, more precisely, this list has no actual scientific merit whatsoever.

    These results come from a survey hosted on the author’s website, helpfully titled “The Great British Psychopath Survey,” and complete with a scary picture of a hooded, menacing guy.

    http://www.flipnosis.co.uk/psychopath-survey.asp

    Mark, you might want to take the two minutes necessary to check the source before presenting this list as if it has more than anecdotal significance.

  17. Phanatic says:

    Would anyone care to explain how these numbers were determined?  “Psychopath” is a vague term, a set of various behaviour characteristics, not an medical diagnosis.  For example, it’s not the same thing as Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is actually a thing in the DSM-IV.  There are various methods of evaluation which rank subjects behaviors across various scales (MMPI), or checklists which generate a score based upon displayed behaviors or background (PCL-R), but none of these things result in a medical diagnosis of “psychopath.”  Things like “lack of guilt,” “manipulativeness,” and so forth could be indicators of a number of personality disorders (like NPD, narcissistic personality disorder).

    So if there was a real objective measurement, what was it?  How were these numbers measured?  Or is it just pseudo-scientific pop-psychology in the aim of selling books and condemning people are already don’t like? 

  18. MonkeyBoy says:

    I would guess the difference is:

    Internal status – +Psychopath occupations are ones where your reputation depends upon how dominant your are with respect to others in your field.

    External status – -Psychopath occupations are ones where your reputation depends about how much outsiders like what you do.

    I would guess that a bunch of college faculty members fit into the +Psychopath category because even at the lowest status colleges or junior colleges there are often viscous status wars and petty backbiting. 

    Likewise a professional cat breeder told me that cat shows involve a lot of social warfare between the participants  while cat buyers just like someone who sells nice pretty cats. The breeders are competing to become known as the “best” cat breeder that everybody will buy from while the buyers may know little of this status ranking and just buy a cat on gut feelings.

    So my guess of how to distinguish +/- psychopath occupations is how much internal infighting if involved in the occupation.

  19. It seems like Narcissist is a synonym here.

  20. Narmitaj says:

    I am not so sure about the high placing of salesperson here. I guess there are salespersons and salespersons. Maybe if you are doing a big one-off sale – car or house – and then disappearing from your mark’s life forever psychopathy helps.

    But the kind of salespersonning I used to do – college publisher’s rep [Prentice-Hall in my case] visiting bookstores once a month or lecturers every semester – meant you’re trying to build a bunch of long-term relationships based on people feeling they’re having good, useful stuff promoted to them, and not having them feel conned, ripped-off and abused.

    In our case it helped, I guess, that the source of our product – college lecturers who wrote text and reference books – was the same as our ultimate purchasing decision-makers, ie college lecturers teaching stuff. (And so in individual situations decision-makers knew more about the subject than the salesperson did).

    But there must be loads of other salespersonning environments where the need for repeat business over periods of years or decades requires a non-psychopathic relationship based on responding to genuine needs and not just foisting any old rubbish on people in order to make next quarter’s budget.

    • euansmith says:

      “…meant you’re trying to build a bunch of long-term relationships based on people feeling they’re having good, useful stuff promoted to them, and not having them feel conned, ripped-off and abused.”

      That most likely wasn’t intended to sound sinister, but I guess that’s the danger of the written word.

  21. niktemadur says:

    Psycho chefs?  I believe it, every night people wanna party with the chef, and bring “gifts”.  After a few years, the nightly free flow of weed, coke, booze and various pills behind the scenes and after hours WILL catch up with you.

  22. Sirkowski says:

    While the information here is very interesting, that self-help book sounds awful. The psychopath’s Peter principle?
    Edit: Nevermind, this study is bullshit.

  23. I work in media and have a part time job as a teacher. WHAT DOES THAT MAKE ME?

  24. weatherman says:

    First, CEO is not a profession, it’s a position. And lumping all the positions in other professions together produces some poor statistics, as some have already noted with the surgeon example (again a position, not a profession). If one were to split the legal profession in to positions and make distinctions between Public Defenders and Corporate Litigation attorneys, for instance, I think we’d see some different results.

    Second, psychopathy is only kind of personality disorder. It might be interesting to see what other personality disorders are prevalent in other professions. But that probably won’t happen since I suspect that this kind of “study” isn’t really intended to be scientific in the first place, so much as it is just a reason to make us feel better about vilifying certain professions.

  25. Morey Soffo says:

    To complete my degree, I had to take a course in something in the “health”-related part of the catalog.  The only class that actually fit my schedule was “Deviant Human Sexuality.”  One interesting bit of information was a study that listed deviancies and fetishes by predominance of occupations.  Pilots were most likely to be cross-dressers, followed by cab drivers (Princeton, 1989).  I work for an airport balancing aircraft weight loads for a large cargo airline. Every time I see a pilot schlepping several bags to the plane for what is just supposed to be an overnight or two-day trip, I figure it must be all the wigs and shoes.  

  26. Heather Booth says:

    I wonder whether a lot of powerful psychopaths are really just alcoholics/drug addicts (or heavy users) who have numbed their consciences with their drug of choice.  A lot of the jobs on the high psychopathy list are ones where there is a stereotype of heavy drinking/drug use and the ones on the right are almost uniformly ones where you would think there would be low alcohol/drug use.

  27. Envy says:

    Psychopathy is a chemical condition in the brain, a real psychopath would do what benefits them best ; they are not marked by power mongers or anything else. They are self-oriented and everyone else can go fuck themselves. A surgeon has no more or less higher potential to be a psychopath than the man serving you your Mc’D’s

    It’s articles like this that undermine the seriousness of certain mental conditions.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      A surgeon has no more or less higher potential to be a psychopath than the man serving you your Mc’D’s

      The point is that psychopaths are drawn to certain professions.

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