According to the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, the psychopathic personality (also known as psychopathy) is not equivalent to:
- Serial killing (psychopathic killer)
- Psychosis (the presence of delusions and hallucinations)
- Mental illness (psychopathology) in general
- Antisocial personality disorder
But rather, a psychopath has certain emotional features, interpersonal features and behaviours that come together to define a psychopath. Typical emotional features of psychopathy include a lack of guilt, empathy and attachment to others. The interpersonal features of psychopathy include superficial charm and narcissism. Behaviours common in psychopaths are often reckless and include dishonest, manipulative and risk-taking acts. (more on psychopathic traits and characteristics of a psychopath) While many psychopaths are violent, a person doesn’t have to be violent to be labelled a psychopath. While the definition of a psychopath may be chilling, psychopaths can be found in all areas of life with those engaged in the criminal justice system being understood the best (due to increased study).
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