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Psychopathy

Debunking Myths About Psychopathy and Sociopathy

by Althea Ocomen

You’ve likely tossed around the words “psychopath” and “sociopath” once or twice — possibly to depict your insane ex or that college flatmate who stole your possessions on move-out day. Whether or not the less-than-desirable individuals in your life truly fit the bill is up for debate. These mental clutters can be genuinely blown out of extent by the media and pop culture, so it’s imperative to urge the facts straight. To begin with, knowing the distinction between psychopathy and sociopathy is a must.

The Trolley Problem and Psychopathy

Imagine standing beside train tracks. Runaway trolley is hurtling down the tracks and is about to run over five workers who don’t hear it coming. Even if they notice it, it will be too late for them to move out of the way in time. There is a lever connected to the tracks, and if you pull the lever, the tram will be diverted down another set of tracks and won’t run over 5 workers.

Prisoner's Dilemma

A study by Mokros et al. investigated dilemmas and psychopaths. The aim was to investigate cooperativeness through experimental game situations, namely prisoner dilemma. In this kind of game, one person chooses from various options based on the previous or anticipated behavior of another person. Depending on the decision of the other, the decision of the other person leads to a certain consequence.

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