What We Discuss with Kevin Dutton:
- What’s the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?
- Society focuses on the negative qualities of psychopathy. But what are the upsides?
- What career niches do psychopaths tend toward (and which ones should they avoid)?
- Can children be psychopaths?
- How can you tell if you’re a psychopath? (Take the two-minute quiz beginning at 14:39 and post your result and occupation on Twitter tagging @therealdrkev).
- And much more…
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Are you a psychopath? (Take the two-minute quiz beginning at 14:39 in this episode and post your result and occupation on Twitter while tagging @therealdrkev.) Are you a narcissist? (Find out at 22:00). Where do sociopaths fit into the mix?
Here, we’re rejoined by The Wisdom of Psychopaths author Kevin Dutton to discuss what constitutes a psychopath, why a self-assessment that marks you as one doesn’t mean you’re destined to become the next Ted Bundy, and what upsides might come along with all the other baggage typically associated with such a socially-maligned label. We’ll also sort out the differences between psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists while examining their pros and cons. Listen, learn, and enjoy! (And if you haven’t heard it already or need a recap, make sure to check out Kevin’s previous two-parter on this show, episodes 776 and 777!)
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss our conversation with behavioral expert Thomas Erikson? Catch up with episode 465: Thomas Erikson | How to Protect Yourself from Psychopaths here!
Thanks, Kevin Dutton!
If you enjoyed this session with Kevin Dutton, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton | Amazon
- The Psycho Schizo Espresso Podcast
- Kevin Dutton | The Wisdom of Psychopaths Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Kevin Dutton | The Wisdom of Psychopaths Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Kevin Dutton | Website
- Kevin Dutton | Twitter
- Kevin Dutton | Instagram
- Kevin Dutton | Facebook
- Ted Bundy | Crime Museum
- Jeffrey Dahmer | Crime Museum
- Psychopath vs. Sociopath: What Are the Differences? | Verywell Mind
- Are You a Psychopath? Take the Test! | Big Think
- Take the Psychopath Challenge | Kevin Dutton
- Narcissist or Psychopath — How Can You Tell? | Psychology Today
- 9 Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder | Duke Health
- John Wayne Gacy | Crime Museum
- Dorothea Puente | Crime Museum
- The ‘Murderabilia’ Market | The New York Times
- Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ Sweater Sells for Record $334,000 at Auction | Rolling Stone
- The Beautifully Drawn True Crime Trading Cards from the ’90s Were An Instant Outrage | Ranker
- What Is Hybristophilia? Attraction To Ted Bundy, Serial Killers | Women’s Health
- When Your Child Is a Psychopath | The Atlantic
- Is Psychopathy an Evolutionary Strategy Rather than a Disorder? | Big Think
- Philippa Foot: Trolley Driver and Transplant Problems | Christina Hendricks
- Philippa Foot | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
879: Kevin Dutton | Are You a Psychopath (And Is That So Terrible)?
This transcript is yet untouched by human hands. Please proceed with caution as we sort through what the robots have given us. We appreciate your patience!
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of the Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, yeah this actually seems pretty doable, maybe my place could be an Airbnb. It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:21] Kevin Dutton: It's almost like You are at the eye of the storm if you're at the eye of the hurricane, that's the safest place to be so it can't harm you. So if you're up close and personal with a serial killer, you're not going to be harmed in any way. Of course, that's like people that kiss crocodiles. Sometimes it's the very last thing you do.
[00:00:43] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On the Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people, and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker through long form conversations with a variety of amazing folks, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, performers.
[00:01:06] Even the occasional arms dealer, drug trafficker, economic hitman, national security advisor, or tech luminary. And if you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes on persuasion, negotiation, psychology, disinformation, cyber warfare, crime, cults, and more.
[00:01:25] To help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show, just visit jordanharbinger. com slash start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started today on the show, psychopath expert and part time psychopath himself, Kevin Dutton. He's back on the show. We are of course talking psychopathy and what makes a psychopath among other topics.
[00:01:44] This episode is a bit unusual because we have some basic rudimentary personality tests in here that you can do live and we're doing them live. You can do them at home. You can do them with us. So it's a bit unique in that respect. It's not your usual sort of backgrounded discussion. I feel like this is almost a part two from our previous episode.
[00:02:00] We'll discuss the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. I always ask this question. I never remember the answer where narcissism fits into the whole thing. Why we are so fascinated by psychopaths slash sociopaths in the first place. And can kids be psychopaths? Of course, there's more to the conversation as well.
[00:02:16] So here we go. With Kevin Dutton, it's funny after we did our episode, a lot of people liked it, but there was a couple of people that were like, you've been duped. Kevin Dutton is a fraud. And I was like, Oh, that's interesting. You know, like what's your evidence for this or something? And I don't even remember what it was.
[00:02:32] It was just like, try these other people who are not frauds. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I just thought it was kind of interesting.
[00:02:38] Kevin Dutton: I get that a lot.
[00:02:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. What's the deal there? Like most niches, nobody's like that person's a fraud. They're just like, Oh, I didn't like it. They're not like he's a fraud. I
[00:02:47] Kevin Dutton: don't know. It's really interesting.
[00:02:48] I mean, the fact that I've been a better part of 20 years at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford doesn't seem to deter people from calling me a fraud. Um, probably it might enhance that kind of illusion, but I think it's probably to do with the subject matter, you know, the reaction that we had last time was extraordinary apart from like you say, you know, one or two people.
[00:03:10] It was really
[00:03:11] Jordan Harbinger: just one or two people. And one was just like, Oh, I disagree. There's a more medical scientific something, something. And the other guy was like, he's a fraud. Yeah. But it was just a weird thing to accuse somebody who's a scientist of being a fraud. It's not like you're selling a diet. Yeah.
[00:03:25] Then it's like, Oh, well,
[00:03:26] Kevin Dutton: okay. Okay. Yeah, I mean, it's true. I think probably the nature of the subject matter psychopaths does tend to attract its fair share of extremists. I guess that's just one kind of defense mechanism if you don't agree. When Wisdom of Psychopaths first came out, it was very controversial, now not so much.
[00:03:45] When it first came out, people really didn't buy the idea that psychopathic characteristics could be good in any way, shape, or form. And I think most people now, including my peers, would probably say that I've won that argument. But it's got a little bit boring, I suppose. Back in the day, I think 2012, when Wisdom of Psychopaths first came out, and I was doing like the book tour and the media and all that kind of stuff, it was surely this can't be right, and I was challenged directly on it.
[00:04:14] Now when I do it, it's more like, okay, yeah, we kind of get it, but give me some examples. That's what people want now. So it kind of won the argument. I think part of
[00:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: it is probably because up until I started looking into this and reading books like The Wisdom of Psychopaths, I used to just think psychopath equals serial killer, serial rapist, violent criminal underworld gang member, you know, like Tuco Salamanca or whatever from Breaking Bad.
[00:04:41] I mean, you're just thinking of those kinds of people. But then when you start to look into it, and you realize it's the local guy who buys up all the gas stations. It's some guy in private equity who buys companies, fires everyone, and then raises the stock price. It's some guy who works in finance, who's trading and doesn't see the people, doesn't care about the people.
[00:05:00] Then you're like, oh, once you broaden your definition as to somebody who's not just murdering people at truck stops with a hatchet, you realize that there's a lot more psychopaths out there than you probably
[00:05:10] Kevin Dutton: realized. The number one culprit for that kind of belief, uh, or kind of misapprehension is the media.
[00:05:18] And I think the, you know, when most people hear the word psychopath. They're going to think of people like Ted Bundy, you know, serial killers, both on the silver screen and in real life, Hannibal Lecter, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, all these kinds of people. But actually what I did in The Wisdom of Psychopaths was I said, look, yeah, it's true.
[00:05:38] Actually some psychopaths are people like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, et cetera, et cetera. But actually when psychologists like myself talk about psychopaths, we're in fact referring to a particular kind of personality. with a specific set of personality characteristics. Now, those characteristics are stuff like, uh, ruthlessness, fearlessness, mental toughness, self confidence, coolness under pressure, emotional detachment, lack of conscience, lack of empathy, those kinds of things.
[00:06:05] Now, If you really think about it, Jordan, and that's what I try to get people to do. None of those characteristics that I've just outlined is necessarily a problem in itself, in isolation. All of them in the right context and kind of dialed up at the right levels can actually prove pretty useful. And the key here is the context and the level.
[00:06:27] And so I think if we imagine a kind of a mixing desk model. Of the psychopathic personality on which those qualities comprised the hodgepodge of knobs and sliders, I suppose. Well, you kind of arrive at two conclusions. The first, as I just said, is that there's no one size fits all objectively correct setting at which those.
[00:06:46] Dials might be positioned, is that like mixing a soundtrack in a studio? It all depends on a particular set of circumstances you might find yourself in, or timing, something like that. And the second, and this is where it started to get really interesting, is that there exist certain jobs or professions out there, right, which demand that some of those dials that I've just talked about be turned up a little bit higher than average.
[00:07:07] Demand what I call rather controversially some precision engineered psychopathy. Imagine that you've got the medical smarts to be a top surgeon, but that you lack the ability to emotionally disengage from the person you're operating on. You're not going to be a great surgeon. I was in contact with a top trauma consultant actually recently.
[00:07:26] He kind of disagreed with that slightly, and he said, you know, in surgery, actually, once the person's anesthetized, it's pretty easy to get on with the job. A& E consultants do say that. But I say, you know, if you're working A& E on a busy Saturday night in the middle of a major city, you've got to go from one extreme case to another.
[00:07:44] You might have to tell the parents of a child that's been run over and hit and run that their child has died. And then you've got to move straight on from that to saving the life of someone else. You've got to be able to compartmentalize to the max. And he was saying, you know, it's not just in surgery that you need the ability to be dispassionate.
[00:08:03] Inane and trauma, for example, you need that ability compartmentalized to be dispassionate as well to focus and get on with the job and shut the emotion out as it were. So medicine is one example. Imagine you've got the legal smarts to be a top lawyer, top attorney, but you lack that kind of pathological narcissism, I suppose, to be the center of attention in the middle of a high profile case.
[00:08:23] Again, you're not going to be a great lawyer or, or, you know, and of course, famously in business, if you could have all the Harvard MBAs under the sun. But. If you lack the ability to take a calculated risk or to fire someone when they're underperforming or the The sheer balls to go for it when you have to, again, no matter how bright you are, you're not going to make any business.
[00:08:42] So, you know, it's true when people hear the word psychopath, they instantly think of Hannibal Lecter. They think of the sharp end. And I always kind of joked, Ted Bundy is the unacceptable face of psychopathy. But actually, yeah. Okay. Psychopaths are Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. But. They are also some of your top surgeons, some of your top lawyers, some of your top business people.
[00:09:02] And we need these people in society. Special forces as well. I've done a lot of work with special forces.
[00:09:07] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. It's interesting. I meet cross sections of these kinds of guys, these special forces guys all the time. And some of them are... Really nice. They're very patriotic. That's one of the reasons they're doing this.
[00:09:18] And then you definitely meet the other type where they're like, they weren't really well liked by other people in the teams. They weren't really promotable. They don't seem to care about anything. They're the ones who go and like try to write as many books as they can. And they take credit for shooting Osama bin Laden, even though there's no real, you know, and it's just like, that's the guy who's the narcissistic psychopath who also had the talent to get into and the drive to get into the teams.
[00:09:44] But you talk to people sort of off the record, get a couple of whiskeys in them, and they're like, everyone hated this guy. They hated him. He was a
[00:09:50] Kevin Dutton: terrible person. I've heard it so many times, and it's the same for surgery, right? You can get the nicest surgeon you could possibly meet, and you can say What a nice guy.
[00:09:59] You know, typically surgeons, especially consulting surgeons, are renowned for being a little bit arrogant, being a little bit narcissistic, but they might come across, they've got excellent self presentation skills. They might come across as being, you know, just really, really nice, you know? But what you gotta remember is in order to even qualify as a surgeon, you've gotta get a lot of time in the operating theater, learning your craft.
[00:10:18] This is a very fundamental level of training. The ability to get into the operating theater to get that time, you've got to elbow other people out of the way. If you're not assertive and say, Hey, this is my time. I want to go in there and get that training because I want to be a surgeon. You're not going to be a surgeon.
[00:10:34] So, you know, the very fact that someone is a surgeon shows you that actually in a formative level of their training, you know, they're no shrinking violet. They're going to go out there and they're going to ride over other people to get that opportunity over other people. Now, going back to Special Forces, it comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who's worked with Special Forces that these guys might not be the kind of guy you'd want to go out for a Sunday lunch with a lot of the time, but hey, you know, if a building was taken over by Al Qaeda or something like that, I know who I'd send in to get you out.
[00:11:05] One Special Forces guy who I'd worked with, I always remember. Who fought the Taliban in the cave complexes of Northern Afghanistan, went in there with night vision goggles and knives to fight the Taliban. Cause of course, if you start firing guns in cave complexes, the whole thing comes. crashing down. So you can't do that.
[00:11:22] So you're almost going back to the Boer War. You're going back to, you know, trench warfare with knives, camped out in the mountains of northern Afghanistan for weeks on end. You then make your way to the cave complex. In you go with your night vision goggles, knife fighting the Taliban in their very own backyard.
[00:11:38] This guy said, you know, well, in typically understated fashion, that's not every soldier's cup of tea. And these guys live for this kind of stuff. They train for this kind of stuff. This is the kind of, You know, living on the edge stuff that these guys train for great quote by the famous British writer, George Orwell, good men sleep soundly in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
[00:12:01] It's a very unpalatable sentiment, but unfortunately, some people might say happens to be true. Another special forces guy I worked with once said, sometimes you got to fight dirty to clean up. It's a great phrase, and one that happens to be true.
[00:12:14] Jordan Harbinger: I know I've asked this before, probably even to you, but it's still, the difference always eludes me when I try to remember it.
[00:12:20] What is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath? Or is it just semantic stuff that doesn't matter?
[00:12:26] Kevin Dutton: Well, um, I don't think you've asked me that one before, Jordan. A few people have, and it's a great question to get out of the way. You know, when journalists use the word psychopath and sociopath, sociopath tends to be more an American phrase.
[00:12:39] It's used more in the American media than the UK media. But generally speaking, both sides of the Atlantic, when, uh, journalists use. The term sociopath and psychopath, they tend to use them interchangeably. But there is actually a technical difference if we're looking at it from the scientific point of view.
[00:12:56] Sociopaths tend to be more volatile, emotionally labile. They tend to react rather than respond. They tend to be impulsive. This is sociopaths? Yeah, these are sociopaths. Imagine you and I met in a bar. You kind of knocked into me and knocked my beer over me or something like that. And I happened to see a hundred dollars in your wallet in the days when we still use money.
[00:13:20] Uh, yeah. If I was a sociopath. I might be annoyed and grab a bottle and put it over your head and try and steal your money and there'd be a big commotion, I'd be arrested, carted off to a police station. And then later on, when I'd sobered up, I may feel remorse. A sociopath is someone that responds violently and impulsively to a situation, antisocially, they're capable of antisocial acts, but they're very volatile, they're very impulsive, and they might feel remorse.
[00:13:47] If I was, on the other hand, a psychopath and the same thing happened, I might not react at all, but what I might then do if I was minded to do so is wait for you outside the bar after closing, pull a knife, stick it in you, and take the money. A psychopath is very cold, premeditated, you might say responsive.
[00:14:08] A sociopath... It's more reactive, more volatile, and more impulsive. Both are capable of obviously of antisocial behavior, but the psychopathic individual, as I say, is colder and flatter and more emotionless than the sociopath. Now listen, I'll tell you what we could do. I think in the last show we did, we did a little question, didn't we, to see.
[00:14:33] Psychopath test kind of thing. Yeah, where listeners were, and it went down really, really well. So what I thought we might do here, if it's alright with you, is just to kind of cement this difference between sociopath and psychopath, what I'm gonna do is I've got a little sociopath quiz here. Okay. Uh, which you can do and which the listeners can do and what it'd be great.
[00:14:56] Actually, I think we could probably get a little bit of data from this and really interesting data, actually, Jordan. So if it's okay with you, what I'm going to do is ask the listeners play along at home, obviously. So get a piece of paper, get a mobile phone, because you're going to need to score some questionnaire items.
[00:15:10] Okay. And when we work out your score at the end, it's only take about two minutes. When we work out your score at the end. Post it on Twitter or social media, wherever, wherever you want to do tag me in at the real Dr. Kev at the real Dr. Kev at the real Dr. Kev, because I am the real Dr. Kev. I'm not a fraud.
[00:15:28] Yeah. Uh, there's another one out there. I'm sure we'll see about that. Maybe that's who they were talking about. I don't know. But anyway, put your occupation, put your score and also just let me know what your occupation is. I'm going to read out 11. Statements, okay? And these statements all hypothetically describe you as a person.
[00:15:49] What you're going to do is you're going to score each statement going from zero to three, where zero represents you strongly disagree, that the statement describes you. Okay. One represents that you disagree to agree. Okay. Okay. So, zero strongly disagree, one disagree, two agree, and three strongly agree, and score them as we go along.
[00:16:16] There's 11 of them, and here we go. Number one. Turning the other cheek is for wimps. Turning the other cheek is for wimps. Zero if you strongly disagree, one if you disagree, two agree, and three strongly disagree. Strongly agree. Number two, a lot of the time I do things that come back to bite me. A lot of the time I do things that come back to bite me.
[00:16:38] Number three, I'm constantly shelving projects and starting new ones. I'm constantly shelving or ditching projects. I'm starting new ones. Number four, I tend to fall out with people a lot. Number five, I prefer three quarters of the cake now rather than all of it later. I prefer to have three quarters of the cake now rather than all of it later.
[00:17:04] I know that probably depends what the cake is. I was
[00:17:06] Jordan Harbinger: going to say the cake, I don't know, there's a healthy, healthy living kind of audience, but yeah. Okay. Yeah.
[00:17:11] Kevin Dutton: You kind of get it. You're going to get it. Yeah. Number six. I take a lot of risks, irrespective of personal safety or the wellbeing of others.
[00:17:20] Number seven. I often act first and deal with the consequences later. I often act first and deal with the consequences later. Number eight. If you get in my way, I'm going to hurt you. Get in my way and I'm going to hurt you. Number nine. I have trouble holding down a job. I have trouble holding down a job.
[00:17:37] Number 10. My relationships tend to be stormy. I've had a lot of short term partners. And finally, number 11, I couldn't really care less about others so long as I get what I want. Okay. So folks at home, what you should have is 11 numbers on a sheet or a screen in front of you. What I want you to do is add them up.
[00:17:59] Now, Jordan, let's just get this out of the way. We're not diagnosing anyone here, okay? We're not diagnosing anyone as a sociopath. Yeah, it's pretty rudimentary, you a rough idea on where you might be on the, let's call it the sociopath spectrum, okay? Okay. So, if you scored 0 to 3, you are low. 0 to 3, low. 4 to 7, below average.
[00:18:21] 8 to 16, average. 17 to 20, above average. 21 to 24 high and 25 plus very high. There you go. So, and you can see before, I don't know, do you want to tell us what you got there, Jordan?
[00:18:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I got four. So I'm below average, right where I always measure up in every other area of life. So I'm right smack in
[00:18:44] Kevin Dutton: the middle.
[00:18:44] And you've never been so happy to do badly on a test, have you? That's right. I can see. You didn't want to do good on this one. You can see there's an educational value to this. If you look at constantly shelving projects and starting new ones, a lot of the time I do things that come back to bite me. A lot of these things are very reactive.
[00:19:01] Impulse control issues. Impulsive control. Yeah. Antisocial predominantly. Whereas as I say, psychopathic personality traits. They include sociopathic traits, but they tend to be, also have this shallow, emotionless, cool and calculated facet to them as well. So as I say, folks, listen, if you've got the balls, there's a bit of a challenge, if you've got the balls, put out your score on Twitter, no one's going to know you are, and let us know what you do for a living as well.
[00:19:28] It'd be great to see how the scores match up. I am definitely
[00:19:31] Jordan Harbinger: curious. I think if people want to go back, check out the psychopath test that was episode 776 of this show. It was a two part episode, so it might have been 777 as well. It's in there. It's in one of those episodes so people can go back and take the uh, psychopath test if they are so inclined.
[00:19:47] So, alright. Where does the narcissism element fit in to this whole thing? Because the term narcissistic psychopath or narcissistic sociopath, it almost sounds redundant, but maybe not. Maybe not quite redundant.
[00:20:01] Kevin Dutton: First of all, after psychopaths, narcissists are basically second on the list of what people seem to be fascinated by.
[00:20:08] And there is a great deal of overlap between narcissism and psychopathy. So actually, narcissism as a personality characteristic is actually part of the psychopathic constellation, I suppose, as it were. But there is a fundamental difference between the two. And that is that narcissists like to be the center of attention.
[00:20:29] They like to be in the center of that spotlight because that is the end product for them. They just love the attention. That's what they crave. They crave that validation. They crave to be the star. They crave to be the person at the center of things. And that's what they're really after. Psychopaths like to be the center of attention, they like to be in the spotlight because it's a means to an end.
[00:20:55] That's not necessarily what they want as an end result, but what they do want as an end result is power. And being the center of attention, being the middle of a spotlight on a stage, gives you access to power. Narcissism is a means to an end, to a psychopath, whereas to a narcissist, it's the end itself.
[00:21:16] People are often confused by the fact when they talk about psychopaths, they hear, you know, psychopaths are hiding in plain sight. Well, if you are an out and out rampant narcissist, you're not gonna be hiding in plain sight, are you? So narcissism is a means to an end for a psychopath. Sometimes being the center of attention is a way that gives them access to power.
[00:21:34] Whereas being the center of attention tends to be the be it and end all for a narcissist, if that makes sense to you. Yeah, it does.
[00:21:43] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so it's a little garnish on the sociopath or psychopath personality trait, right? It just sort of allows them to exhibit these negative behavior
[00:21:51] Kevin Dutton: traits. Yeah, if we were building a psychopath, like the recipe how to build a psychopath, you'd add a sprinkle of narcissism in there.
[00:21:58] So, you're absolutely right. Now listen, we can do, if you want, uh, we can do another quick narcissism test, just like the first one. Yeah, let's do a quick one. See how many narcissists are out there? Alright. Exactly the same scoring key, folks. Just to recap, zero strongly disagree, one disagree, two agree, and three strongly agree.
[00:22:17] I'm going to read you out 12 statements this time, not again. Couple of fun items in this quiz, actually. Um, number one, I don't like it when I'm not the center of attention. Okay. Thank you. Thank you. I don't like it when I'm not the center of attention. Zero. Strongly disagree. One. Disagree. Two. Agree. And three.
[00:22:31] Strongly agree. Number two. I love checking myself out in the mirror. I love checking myself out in the mirror. Number three. I don't like it when others around me are more successful than me. I don't like it when others around me are more successful than me. Number four, as long as I get what I want, I don't really care how other people feel.
[00:22:50] So you can see elements of psychopathy creeping into that statement. Yeah. As long as I get what I want, I don't really care how other people feel. Number five, one of my favorites. Walking right up to the front of a line and jumping, it doesn't phase me at all. Walking right up to the front of a line and jumping, it doesn't phase me at all.
[00:23:09] Number six, I don't take criticism well. Number seven, being totally honest, I think I'm pretty special. Number eight, I have most people I meet wrapped around my little finger. Number nine, I'm a born leader. Number 10, I love this one, right? If it's 50 50 for a parking space, I'm gonna push right in. Now we've all been there, Jordan.
[00:23:34] Hmm, uh, um, number 11, when things go wrong, it's nearly always because someone has let me down. And number 12, the final one, a lot of the time I'm the life and soul of the party. Now, of course, a lot of these things might actually be true. But anyway, what you should have there, folks playing along at home, you should have 12 numbers on the screen or sheet.
[00:23:56] So just like the first time, add them up. Again, Jordan, not diagnosing anyone here as a narcissist. This is just general indication where you might be on the narcissistic spectrum. And also, can I just say that there are a lot of positive, just like psychopathic characteristics, there are a lot of positives to narcissistic traits.
[00:24:13] So, you know, sometimes you need to be a little bit narcissistic to get what you want in life and to be successful. I've never met one top sports person that I've ever worked with who hasn't been high on the narcissism scale. You need to be, have elements of narcissism to make it. So if you are scoring relatively high on this test, it's not necessarily anything to worry
[00:24:32] Jordan Harbinger: about.
[00:24:33] It's like you can see the paper I'm writing on right now and that's why you said that. But okay, fine. Well, let's go over
[00:24:39] Kevin Dutton: the scoring. Let's move quickly on. Right. Right. Zero to 12. Zero to 12 is low. Zero to 12 low on the narcissism spectrum. All right. 13 to 18 is below average. 19 to 24 average, 25 to 30 high, and 31 to 36, 36 maximum score.
[00:24:57] Very high. Go on. What'd you get, Jordan? 11. So that's still low. 11? Well, you're still low.
[00:25:03] Jordan Harbinger: I'm surprised. I was like, uh, these are adding up pretty fast over here on my end. Yes,
[00:25:07] Kevin Dutton: you're such a nice guy. I'll tell you what though, when you meet, and I'm sure you'll know, when you meet an out and out narcissist, you really know it.
[00:25:16] Most of us are kind of low to average. We've got sprinklings of it. When you meet an out and out narcissist, you really know it because there is absolutely nothing they do that doesn't focus on themselves. Every aspect, every topic of conversation is steered towards them. If you go out for dinner with them, they will often belittle the waiter or waitresses, they will make jokes, which a lot of people don't really find funny.
[00:25:39] There's all kinds of stuff like that going on. So if you're with an out and out narcissist, and also actually another interesting fact about narcissists is when you're with them, they'll always push through the door first. If you're going through a door, they'll very rarely step back and let you go first.
[00:25:51] They'll always. Go through first. It's a kind of a little narcissism hack or a quirk. Uh, but of course, if people are going through doors first, that doesn't mean to say they're a narcissist,
[00:26:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I was gonna say, that seems like, what if they're trying to manipulate you, they might let you go in first. Yeah, no,
[00:26:06] Kevin Dutton: absolutely.
[00:26:06] In which case, they might be a psychopath. Forget the door thing. People start reading into that.
[00:26:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah, that's one of those where it's gonna be like, my boyfriend always lets me go into the door. Is he a psychopath? But then yesterday, he let me go in first. Is he a narcissist? Yeah. Yes, he's both. And he might, will be.
[00:26:20] He might be break up now, but not because of that. We don't want to
[00:26:22] Kevin Dutton: start worrying people. So we cleared two things up. There's a difference between kind of sociopath and a psychopath and also kind of how narcissism fits in as well.
[00:26:34] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest, Kevin Dutton. We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by Bradley Smokers. Want to enhance your barbecue prowess? Look no further than Bradley Smokers. These are top tier smokers. They stand out for their consistent and controlled smoke.
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[00:28:55] Jordan Harbinger: way to hire. If you're wondering how I managed to book all these amazing thinkers, creators, authors every single week, it's because of my network. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger. com slash course. I know that I tell you to do this all the time.
[00:29:09] Just do the first couple drills. Seriously, just do the first two. There's a happiness dividend from reconnecting with people. It's not cheesy, it's not gross. This will make you feel better. And if you don't like the first two drills, just stop doing the course. I don't care. I'm not going to take it personally.
[00:29:22] Many of the guests on the show... Subscribe and contribute to the course. You won't regret it. It doesn't take a lot of time. You will be a better person for doing so. JordanHarbinger. com slash course. Now, back to Kevin Dutton. Why do you think people are so fascinated by psychopaths? I mean, the episodes I do about psychopathy are always popular.
[00:29:43] And we're not even talking about murders and true crime. You know, it's not just that it's more exciting. Because it's about true crime, I'm literally just talking about psychopathy. It's almost like, when I do episodes about depression, nobody's like, Wow, that was amazing! You know? It's like, it's just a completely different animal.
[00:29:59] Do you have any idea why this might be the case? Is it the danger element that sort of underlies the idea that these people exist and walk among us? What is it?
[00:30:07] Kevin Dutton: I've done a lot of thinking, a lot of head scratching about this, and you know what? I think it's more complex than people initially think. I think there's three or four answers to it.
[00:30:19] I'll give you the first one that comes to mind. A few years ago, I did a little experiment where I basically said to people, here's a thought experiment. Imagine for the next three hours or so, you can do anything you want. And there will be low legal or moral or emotional repercussions or hangovers. You can just do what you want.
[00:30:37] And at the end of that, the slate will be wiped clean, but you will have got whatever it is you wanted to do off your chest. And it's really interesting. So broadly speaking, people kind of fit into two camps. It's either the love camp or the hate camp. So the hate camp tends to be, you know what I'd go back to that bastard and I'd show him.
[00:30:57] That guy who dumbed me down a few years ago, I'd go back and teach him a lesson or two, right? That's the hate camp. And then the love camp is opposite. It's very interesting. Love camp is kind of like, there's this person who I always fancied or always loved and I never told them and I'd go back and I'd tell them and it's kind of unrequited love kind of thing.
[00:31:14] So you've got either the love camp or the hate camp. Now, What I think is really interesting is the fact that life is pretty much like that for psychopaths. They have no sense of consequence. They have no anxiety over being outside their comfort zone. They don't fear rejection. They don't fear repercussions.
[00:31:36] They live very much in the moment. They just go for it. And in a sense, what I'd almost been constructing there with that little thought experiment, although I didn't do it for that reason, It's a kind of a template for what it's like to be a psychopath. Psychopaths don't have these general fears that we do.
[00:31:51] So they are much more, if you want to call it existentially free. They can do this stuff with kind of emotional, legal, moral impunity. And I think Jordan, I'm not right. This is just speculation. I think that we secretly envy psychopaths that exist in freedom. I think that all of us would love to be able to do things that get us outside our comfort zones.
[00:32:14] With ease, but actually we can't do it. We're held back by all kinds of fears and anxieties and senses of repercussions and consequences quite rightly in a lot of cases. But I think the first reason that we are fascinated by psychopaths is because I think we envy them their existential freedom. Now, of course, that existential freedom also enables them to commit some pretty abominable acts.
[00:32:38] And I always use a bit of analogy of a sports car. It's all right having a really fast Lamborghini or Ferrari, but you've got to be able to use the brakes every now and again. It's no good having a car like that if you don't know how to use the brakes and your foot's always on the gas. So that's a little bit like having a psychopathic personality.
[00:32:54] If you're driving a psychopathic personality car, you need to be able to use the brakes. And that's one of the differences between a good psychopath and a bad psychopath. But I think that ability to drive very fast in a car down a twisty mountain road with the wind going through your hair, I think is something that.
[00:33:10] We envy in psychopaths. I think we'd all love to do it. And I think that's one of the reasons why we're fascinated. I think the second reason is the wow factor. I think the Jekyll and Hyde personality is catnip to a lot of people. Ted Bundy, an intelligent, attractive, handsome kind of guy, excellent self presentation skills.
[00:33:29] But behind the scenes, there was this depraved personality going on. Jeffrey Dahmer, the same. I think we're all so fascinated by what I call the principle of incongruity. In the sense that actually what appears really normal on the surface actually conceals something which is really very different behind the scenes.
[00:33:48] The human condition of human psychology has always been fascinated by contrasts. And that incongruity principle, I think, also taps into our fascination. Also, there's this idea of danger. We love to be scared, but we love to be scared safely. That's why we like roller coasters. If roller coasters weren't fastened onto the rails, no one would get on them, right?
[00:34:12] Jordan Harbinger: yeah. If people kept flying off of them, I don't know how many I'd want to
[00:34:15] Kevin Dutton: try. Exactly. No one would get on them. No one would jump out of a plane without a parachute. Parachuting is actually a very safe sport, but jumping out of a plane nevertheless is still pretty scary. No one would jump out of a plane in their right mind without a parachute.
[00:34:28] So... We love to be scared, but we love to be scared safely. That's why we swim with sharks in cages. If we took the bars off the cage and all of a sudden, there's nothing between us and the sharks, it'd be a different story altogether. So we like to be able to contain danger, but at the same time, expose ourselves to it.
[00:34:45] And I think that is also one of our fascinations, especially with scary movies and horror movies. We love to sit in a cinema in the safety of a chair and watch these kind of... Villains and serial killers on screen because actually we're safe in that zone of a theater and I think that kind of fear factor but controlled fear factor as well.
[00:35:06] There's a very interesting study which looks at advertising placement in films, and if you look at adverts that work very well in scary horror movies, basically appeal to what we call social proof. So the choice of millions, promote products that a lot of people use, choice of millions, those kinds of ad slogans really works if they're placed within horror movies.
[00:35:31] Because, of course, when we're scared, we like to cling closer to the group. Oh, interesting. Yeah. The opposite works in romantic movies. If you go to a romantic movie on a date, you want to enhance your USP, your unique selling point, as the then appeal to the scarcity principle, forgetting this product can make you somehow unique.
[00:35:50] That works very well in romantic movies. So, this kind of safety, kind of dangerous stuff, and being scared safe, isn't lost on people who work in the advertising industry either. So, when you look at different kinds of films, the ads that are placed in them, there's a lot more thought gone into that than you might think.
[00:36:07] Jordan Harbinger: had no idea that there was anything having to do with context in advertising. That might sound a little naive, but I really thought they just made commercials. And they played them and then they changed it up when they got old. I didn't think they were like, Oh, this is going to play on primetime movies on this channel that are rom coms or that are scary.
[00:36:28] And then this other version of a different commercial for the same product is going to play during the daytime when people are watching Jerry Springer talk shows, whatever.
[00:36:36] Kevin Dutton: No, there's a lot of science goes into advertising placement. The other really interesting thing is there's a phenomenon called murderabilia.
[00:36:44] Murderabilia? Serial
[00:36:46] Jordan Harbinger: killer memorabilia. That's what I was going to guess. Yeah. Here's the actual bloody whatever. From this crime scene.
[00:36:51] Kevin Dutton: Absolutely. And there's internet sites where we sell this stuff. So, you know, everything from a lock of Charlie Manson's hair. That's kind of creepy. I think Ted Bundy's Volkswagen Beetle went up for sale.
[00:37:01] Oh man. That's. Dark. Can you imagine picking someone up, going out for a date and picking them up with, Hey, what an opening line. This is Ted Bundy's Volkswagen. Hey, you know who
[00:37:08] Jordan Harbinger: used to own this car? The guy who used to murder women he used to pick up with on dates.
[00:37:12] Kevin Dutton: Exactly. Yeah. I guess he's going home alone.
[00:37:15] But John Wayne Gacy paintings by John Wayne Gacy Pogo, the clown that he used to pose as at children's parties. John Wayne Gacy paintings. Dorothy Puente. Who was a killer landlady in her 70s, late 60s and 70s, killed all her tenants, claimed their pensions, and she then buried them in the backyard of the boarding house.
[00:37:37] If you want a lump of dirt, a little bag of dirt from her back garden, I think that retails about 25 on some sites. So if Undie's Volkswagen Beetle is a bit too expensive. You can get a bag of dirt from Dorothy Puente's back garden. Murder of bilia. When people say to me, why are we fascinated by psychopaths and serial killers, murder of bilia is a really interesting kind of phenomenon.
[00:37:58] What's going on with murder of bilia? There seems to be two things in psychology. It's known as what's called the talisman effect. And it's almost like if you possess something which was owned by a serial killer, you somehow retain their essence. And it has a kind of a protective quality about it. Do you forget murder a billion?
[00:38:16] This is the kind of psychology that works behind celebrity auctions. In general, Kurt Cobain's manky old sweater that he wore on the famous MTV performance actually in itself. It's. It's probably worth nothing. The fact it was worn by Kurt Cobain on that iconic appearance means it's imbued with some kind of essence of Kurt Cobain, or at least we think, and that's why it retails, I think it went for something like 50, 000 or something like that.
[00:38:39] We're talking about stuff which is right on the borders between psychology and philosophy here. A topic called ascensionism. And that is the articles or items that are once owned by people retain a kind of an essence or a sense of who they are. And this is the psychology behind murder abilia. So if we possess an item that was somehow owned by a serial killer or produced by a serial killer.
[00:39:02] Like in Gacy's paintings, we somehow retain an essence of them, and that's almost like a protective talisman. Similar thing, a few years ago in the States, they used to have serial killer trading cards.
[00:39:14] Jordan Harbinger: Serial killer trading
[00:39:15] Kevin Dutton: cards? Trading cards, yeah, like little cigarette cards people could swap and collect.
[00:39:20] And this proved very controversial. It was about 10 years ago, I think, people saying, well, this is glamorizing. Serial killers and crime, et cetera. But actually when people started digging into what was going on here, it was complete opposite people that were collecting these kind of serial killer trading cards were actually getting a lot of anxiety reduction by the idea of having these serial killers nicely lined up in cornrows in a box, which they could put the lid on.
[00:39:46] Okay. I know it's completely counterintuitive. It goes against common sense. That is
[00:39:50] Jordan Harbinger: weird. It's like a Jewish person collecting Nazi memorabilia or something like
[00:39:54] Kevin Dutton: that. It's literally to put it in a box, put the lid on it. This kind of prevents you from maybe, inoculates you against real world danger and what have you.
[00:40:04] I think the reason we're fascinated by psychopaths runs very deep and is complex. Another really interesting angle, why people befriend serial killers, sometimes marry them. I
[00:40:13] Jordan Harbinger: was just going to bring this topic up. It reminds me of, and I just looked it up while you were talking, I think it's called hybristophilia or hybristophilia.
[00:40:20] I don't know exactly how you pronounce it. Yeah,
[00:40:22] Kevin Dutton: absolutely. Is that what you're talking about? Well, I'll take your word for it. I didn't actually know the scientific
[00:40:26] Jordan Harbinger: term. That's all right. You're just a PhD having to do with this exact topic. I don't expect you to know these
[00:40:31] Kevin Dutton: things. I'm a fraud. I'm a fraud.
[00:40:33] Like you say, you caught me. Fraudulent Dr.
[00:40:35] Jordan Harbinger: Kemp. Yeah, it's called hybristophilia and it has to do with people that write to people in prison who are murderers and send them blocks of hair and money and write them letters. And they usually have a traumatic past. And people are saying, what's going on here?
[00:40:49] And there's theories like maybe the person... Was victimized and so they feel like if they're dating or in love with or friends with a serial killer They have that person's protection somehow, even though I would imagine statistically They're just more likely to get killed by that person unless the person's in prison in which case they sort of have their foot In both worlds, right?
[00:41:08] They're friends with the serial killer But the serial killer is behind bars and they know that they're there because they just got a letter for them from them last week In a response to their letter that they sent the week before
[00:41:18] Kevin Dutton: I think you pretty much nailed it. Again there's that kind of preventative, protective talisman effect going on there.
[00:41:24] I think also it's slightly more complex than that. There's a number of reasons, psychological reasons, why people befriend serial killers. I think low self esteem is one of them. So studies have looked at the kinds of people that do befriend serial killers. Low self esteem seems to be a common factor. And it's almost your self esteem is getting a little kind of push up the ladder, goes up a few rungs by seemingly getting the attention of someone who has control, as it were, over life and death.
[00:41:50] So self esteem is a factor. Funnily enough, narcissism also comes into the equation. It is a bit more ghoulish than the self esteem. So some people think that by getting close to serial killers, they can somehow get a little bit more information about the crime that other people might not have, so they're part of that serial killer's inner circle.
[00:42:11] They might be a confidant that serial killers might confide in. And of course, serial killers are often very manipulative and that's something which isn't lost on them. So self esteem is one thing. Narcissism is another. And absolutely, you just put your finger on it. Anxiety issues as well. It's almost like you are at the eye of the storm.
[00:42:30] If you're at the eye of the hurricane, that's the safest place to be. So it can't harm you. So if you're up close and personal with a serial killer. You're not going to be harmed in any way. Of course, that's like people that kiss crocodiles. Sometimes it's the very last thing you do. I think when you talk to people and say, Oh, you know, we're fascinated by psychopaths, that's because of X and Y.
[00:42:49] It's actually a lot more complex. There's a lot of psychology behind our fascination with psychopaths and serial killers. Says a lot about us.
[00:42:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I would say so. What about kids? If it's a brain makeup type of thing, then it would be present in children. Obviously, we've seen some horrific things done by children, but how does it manifest in children?
[00:43:08] You don't see serial killer kids, I'm sure there's examples, but it's probably extremely rare. How does psychopathy manifest in kids?
[00:43:17] Kevin Dutton: Or does it? Yeah. Psychopathy in kids is a really interesting topic, Jordan. The first thing that you've got to bear in mind is that actually you're not allowed to call a child a psychopath, certainly here in the UK anyway, because of the kind of the pejorative sense of that label.
[00:43:35] Instead, believe it or not, you have to refer to them as callous and unemotional. Which I think is a little bit Monty Python. If I was a parent, and I went into a clinician's consulting room, and I was worried about my kid's behavior, and the clinical psychologist or psychiatrist said to me, I think your child has got callous non emotional traits, I think I'd be more pissed off than if they said your kid's a psychopath.
[00:43:59] So, I think this idea of swapping colors and unemotional traits for psychopathy is an interesting debate in itself. So, the first thing is you can't really call kids psychopaths. The second thing is there's no silver bullet test to say, yeah, this kid is a psychopath. In a sense, there's no silver bullet test for adults like that either.
[00:44:16] Even if you look at brain patterns, yeah, there's some kind of patterns which are similar. But not identical and they don't hold true across all people who are psychopathic. So there's general trends, but there's no silver bullet test to say, yes, kid is a psychopath. However, as you rightly point out, there are quite a few examples of kids that have committed crimes, which actually mirror.
[00:44:37] The kinds of crime that an adult psychopath would commit. I think there was a case in the States a few years ago of a nine year old boy that pushed a three year old toddler into a swimming pool and literally just sat and watched the child drown, observing them almost in a scientific kind of detached way to see what would happen and then calmly walked off.
[00:44:54] And when they were arrested later on, they showed absolutely no remorse, no fear of the consequences. And in fact, rather like being the center of attention. There's certain horrible cases of kids acting in what looks very much like a psychopathic way. Now, it's interesting that studies have been done which have looked at differences in kids at formative stages of their development and whether that predicts whether they will eventually grow up to be adult psychopaths.
[00:45:23] And there is evidence to suggest that it does. So kids as young as one year old. 12 month old children, babies. There was one study which attached little electrodes to the soles of the baby's feet to measure galvanic skin response, which is basically how much they sweat, which is an index of anxiety and fear.
[00:45:44] When they were confronted with a scary robot that made very loud noises and had flashing lights and all this kind of stuff, what the researchers found was that those 12 month old babies that showed Less sweat response to that scary robot are more likely to go on and develop psychopathy. in adulthood than kids who showed the normal sweat response.
[00:46:09] So fear and anxiety to that robot. Differences can show up as young as 12 months old. Now moving forward, looking at adolescence, I think the age bracket that this particular study looked at was 11 to 16. They had three groups of adolescents. They had a control group, which is what you might call neurotypical kids.
[00:46:30] You then had a group which were antisocial kids. And then you had a third group, which was antisocial kids with psychopathic tendencies. And what the researchers did, they played canned laughter, recorded laughter to each of these groups and they looked at which of the kids would be more likely to laugh back, laugh along.
[00:46:51] It's a natural response if you hear other people laughing. It's how comedy sitcoms work. Obviously back in the day you'd play a load of canned laughter to a live audience and it would make the audience more likely to laugh along. And what they found was extraordinary. The neurotypical kids laughed along.
[00:47:06] with the canned laughter. The antisocial kids laughed along. It was only the antisocial adolescents with psychopathic tendencies that didn't. And this was mirrored in their brains. When you looked at what was going on in their brains, the premotor and motor areas of the brain, which prepare you to laugh and then get you to laugh.
[00:47:26] There was much less activity in the brains of those antisocial kids with psychopathic tendencies than there was in the other two groups. There are. certainly predispositions in the way brains work in kids as young as 12 months, also in adolescents aged 11 to 16. So there's enough evidence to suggest that there's something going on here.
[00:47:46] The other side of the coin, Jordan, is I think that, although I do believe psychopathy is present in the younger age group, we need to be careful that we don't medicalize behavior that is actually normal at those ages.
[00:48:05] Jordan Harbinger: This is the Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Kevin Dutton. We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by SimpliSafe, eyeing one final summer getaway. Secure your home first with SimpliSafe Home Security's innovative 24 7 live guard protection, which can curb crime as it happens. Imagine, an intruder tries to enter your home.
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[00:49:24] Jordan Harbinger: SimpliSafe. This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. Pre kids, we'd fly almost every week for podcast interviews and conferences. We'd stay in Airbnbs most of the time because we love the locations and personalized stay.
[00:49:36] One of our favorite spots in LA, it was in this really sweet, older couple's home, and since their kids have left the nest, They converted the granny flat in the backyard into an Airbnb and it became our go to accommodation whenever we were in town doing interviews. And as regulars, we always appreciated the thoughtful touches they included.
[00:49:52] So, they'd throw down a basket of snacks that Jen would eagerly dive into. They gave us a bottle of wine, a personal note, and they even started tuning in to the Jordan Harbinger Show. Hey folks. And this actually inspired us to pay the hospitality forward and convert our spare room into an Airbnb. So maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before and you thought to yourself, okay, maybe I could do this.
[00:50:11] Maybe my place could be an Airbnb. It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your entire place while you're away. You could be sitting on an Airbnb and not even know it. Perhaps you got a fantastic vacation plan for the balmy days of summer. As you're out there soaking up the sun and making memories, your house doesn't need to sit idle.
[00:50:28] Turn it into an Airbnb. Let it be a vacation home for somebody else. And picture this. Your little one's not so little anymore. They're headed off to college this fall. The echo in their now empty room might be a bit much to bear. So why not Airbnb it? While they're away, make some extra cash and who knows.
[00:50:42] You might just meet some fascinating people along the way. So whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills, or for something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb. com slash host. This episode is also sponsored in part by BetterHelp.
[00:50:57] Are you toying with the idea of hitting the eject button on a relationship? Maybe you're adding a baby for your next life chapter. Congratulations in advance. Perhaps thinking about leaving the hometown you grew up in for a different country. I advise you to do so. Whatever the juncture in life, therapy can help you map out your future and trust yourself to find the way forward.
[00:51:13] Many folks have this image that therapy is exclusive for folks who've ridden the gnarliest waves of life's traumas. Sure, therapy is awesome for that, no doubt, but let's be real, life is a rollercoaster, and we're all screaming on those dips and turns. If you're not, are you even buckled in for the ride?
[00:51:28] Do you even trauma, bro? Have you even lived, if you haven't hit a little bump here or there? Engaging in therapy can be instrumental in mastering effective stress management techniques, establishing personal limits and boundaries, and figuring out what path to go toward. It's a great tool for unlocking your highest potential.
[00:51:42] I am a firm believer in myself, I put my money where my mouth is, and I'm also a huge fan of therapy for my own. Thanks for watching. And if you've ever considered giving therapy a shot, try BetterHelp, all online, breeze through a short questionnaire, you'll be paired with a licensed therapist, and if there's not a match made in therapy heaven, swap therapist at any time, no additional charge.
[00:52:00] Kevin Dutton: Let therapy be your map with BetterHelp. Visit betterhelp. com slash jordan today to get 10% off your first month. That's better h e l p dot com slash jordan.
[00:52:10] Jordan Harbinger: If you like this episode of the show, I invite you to do what others smart and considerate and definitely not psychopathic listeners do, which is take a moment and support our amazing sponsors.
[00:52:19] All the deals, discount codes, and ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger. com slash deals. You can also always search for a sponsor using the AI chatbot on the website as well, jordanharbinger. com slash AI. Thank you for supporting those who support the show. Now for the rest of my conversation with Kevin Dutton.
[00:52:37] I look back at my childhood and I think, I would absolutely have been the kid where they're like, that guy's going to shoot up to school. He's crazy. Cause I was a punk. I got in trouble. I was always on the internet looking at stuff. And this is in the early days when nobody had internet. I help people do bad stuff.
[00:52:54] I'm not talking about lighting cats on fire. I'm talking about doing something to a local person's store, not even anything really bad looking back, but just crappy teenager stuff, but also being lonely and quiet and brooding and dark. And I'm thinking, man, if they pathologized me back then I would have been in.
[00:53:12] The school with the police guard at the door. So I can imagine it's almost like a self fulfilling prophecy if you say these are the bad kids, he's the psychopath. A kid who's just having a bad couple years because of hormones and parenting and grades, it might end up in a much worse situation than they would be if we just let them get over
[00:53:28] Kevin Dutton: their shit.
[00:53:30] Absolutely right. And I think that's the key that you just said there. I mean, when you look at kids and you start saying, okay, this kid might be a psychopath because they've done X, Y, and Z. Kids brains are still developing. So when we diagnose adult psychopaths, the brains, they're fully developed. And okay, that's the end of that development.
[00:53:49] And this is where we've got to be really careful in medicalizing behaviors in kids. The brains are still in a developmental stage. So if you take stuff like risk taking, sensation seeking, Even in younger kids just being mean, telling lies, these are just normal behaviors, that actually we need to be very careful not to medicalize them.
[00:54:09] So I think we've got to look at both sides, but also I think there's a bit of common sense here. There's a difference in someone who's setting cats on fire, torturing animals, and doing kind of stuff like that. All kids are naughty, all kids are risk takers, all kids are impulsive and do mean things. We've got to be really careful that we don't medicalize normal behavior too quickly.
[00:54:31] On the other hand though, yeah, I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that psychopathy does manifest itself at a formative age as well.
[00:54:38] Jordan Harbinger: How old do you think that age is? Because I've seen little kids do stuff, like my son. Wanted to squash a butterfly or something like that, and I was like, No, that's not for squashing, it's for looking at.
[00:54:49] And I remember my mom yelling at me when I squashed a butterfly when I was a really little kid, and she's like, Don't do that, you don't have to do that, they're for looking at, they're pretty, don't squash them. But I didn't grow up to be somebody who squashes cats, or even bugs, unless they're cockroaches, which are friggin disgusting.
[00:55:04] I don't do that anymore. And Jen, my wife, was a little worried and I was like, no, it's a boy thing. It's a kid slash boy thing to try and squash something that's alive and not think about it when they're three years
[00:55:15] Kevin Dutton: old. Yeah, it's really interesting you said that, actually there are differences between boys and girls in terms of psychopathy, how common it is, and that's of course to do with the way kids are brought up.
[00:55:26] But it's interesting what you said there, we find it very easy to squash a cockroach or a wasp or something like that. But not very easy to squash a butterfly. So we're okay squashing stuff that we don't like. But actually, stuff that seems to be pretty, we have a problem with. At the end of the day, we're still extinguishing life.
[00:55:45] Well, okay.
[00:55:45] Jordan Harbinger: But to be fair, when's the last time you got bitten or stung by a butterfly? Never. But if a spider's there, it's gonna either get lifted outside on a paper or squashed. And a wasp? I'm either getting away from it, and if I can't do that, I'm going after it. Those are the two choices, right? It's a little bit different, right?
[00:56:01] It's almost like a survival
[00:56:02] Kevin Dutton: thing. What was it? Sting like a butterfly, float like a bee? No, it was the other way around, wasn't it? But at what age, Jordan? It really is not a cop out this, mate. It is how long is a piece of string, really. If I was going to just come out with a non scientific answer, I'd probably say about the age of 13 or 14.
[00:56:19] But I'm sure people have got other ideas, but I would say when you start entering your teenage years, if you're still squashing butterflies at that age, maybe it's time to look in the mirror if you're a narcissist.
[00:56:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, sure. You'll enjoy it at that rate. Yeah. How did we end up with psychopathy evolving as a trait?
[00:56:37] And I think we talked about this last time we did a show. It survived because those people are useful to society. Soldiers, leaders, now surgeons, lawyers, whatever, business folks. I get why it hasn't been bred out, but how did it come about initially? Do you have any evidence for it other than evolution?
[00:56:54] Kevin Dutton: Yeah, I mean if you look at game theorists have modeled theories of psychopathy evolution in computer simulations and they've pretty much come out with the one percent scenario which is thought to be representative of psychopaths in everyday life, pure psychopaths that is. I would also argue though that actually, and I've said this a lot, people say what percent of psychopaths are out at one percent.
[00:57:17] They're only the psychopaths that we've caught. So we don't actually know what the true incidence of psychopaths is out there. We know how many psychopaths have been caught because a lot of these tests are conducted in prison. But actually there may be way more out there who have alluded detection or ludicapture, who might inflate that figure, so we don't know.
[00:57:35] So yeah, game theorists have looked at evolution of psychopathy in computer simulations, and they've pretty much found the same kind of incidents as you find in everyday life. One of the obvious things, Jordan, Is that psychopaths are charismatic, they are promiscuous as well, they have a lot of sexual partners.
[00:57:56] And so I call that the kind of James Bond profile, charismatic and promiscuous. By the very definition of those characteristics, those genes are going to get out more. They're going to get around more. There's one very simple reason why psychopathy is sticking around. But also, if you go back to the days of our ancient ancestors and you look at those groups, there's always going to be a need for predators.
[00:58:20] There's always going to be a need for warriors. There's always going to be a need for risk takers. If you just think about it, who's the first person that decided to eat a pomegranate? Who's going to put their finger in there and eat that stuff? Actually, it turned out it was quite good. Yeah, I don't know.
[00:58:34] But you need to
[00:58:35] Jordan Harbinger: be a bit of a risk taker. I always assume they watch animals do it first. That's the only theory I have for that kind of stuff. Yeah.
[00:58:41] Kevin Dutton: And I think you're probably right. Yeah, absolutely. But we need people like that. We need boundary pushers. We need risk takers. We need warriors. We need predators because that's the kind of way in which we got here by pushing boundaries.
[00:58:53] Now, here's a really interesting theory. It's a theory which a former mentor of mine came up with called rivalrous cohesion. And if you look at what the kinds of psychological forces that make groups more cohesive and bring groups together, What you find is that one of them is if a group comes under attack from an external source, the group that's under attack becomes more cohesive, it unites.
[00:59:21] Very simple example, if you remember the United States after the 9 11 attacks, everyone became more cohesive, society became more unified against this kind of abominable, atrocious act. So, this has been replicated in laboratory studies, internet chat rooms for example, when members of an internet chat room are exposed to an outside threat, the vibe, the atmosphere in that internet chat room becomes more cohesive.
[00:59:45] So, external threat makes groups more cohesive, and also attacking another group makes the attacking group more cohesive. So here's a very controversial theory. It may well be that societal conflict evolved to keep society together. To keep groups together. We need a little bit of conflict because conflict is one of those things that actually keeps groups cohesive every now and again.
[01:00:12] And so who are the people that are most likely to stir up conflict? Who are those warriors? Who are those predators is people who are higher on the psychopathic spectrum. There's a theory, which you don't hear too often that perhaps actually one of the reasons why psychopathy evolved is actually not to split society up and ruin it.
[01:00:30] But actually to keep it together and make it more cohesive. Hmm. That
[01:00:33] Jordan Harbinger: is interesting and you're right, I have not heard that. I was going to ask if there's such thing as a good psychopath, which is not a great question, but it is answered by that exact line of thinking. And of course, there are benefits that psychopaths bring to society.
[01:00:46] Again, the surgery and the leadership things, regardless of the damage that they might do in their personal lives. There's a very sort of distinct line. We see this all the time, right? People who have terrible, disastrous personal lives, but have done really good things for society because they are the leader of a large enterprise or a country, or they've invented something, or they've worked really hard, even in artistic pursuits, right?
[01:01:08] The cliche is that the best, most talented people in Hollywood, their lives are just an absolute disaster. And they're on their fifth divorce. It's a cliche for a reason, I suppose. I wonder, as a scientist who does occasionally deal with some very, I guess air quotes, bad people, do you believe in the evil element of it, or do you look at this more clinically?
[01:01:29] Kevin Dutton: I have to say, Jordan, that as a scientist, I have a problem with using that term evil, but it's a word which I myself have used unashamedly to describe, for want of a better word, sometimes even as a scientist. Scientists are human beings. And sometimes you've just got to look at something and say, especially if you're talking to everyday people, it's just an evil act.
[01:01:54] It's just something that's evil. But let me talk about it logically, if I can. If we start off with the premise that often what you might describe as an evil act is generally underpinned by a deficit in moral code. Now, one of the things that we know from laboratory studies, scientific studies in psychology.
[01:02:16] Is the fact that moral behaviors and judgments are often underwritten by random fluctuations in the external environment over which we often have no control at all. And there's a great area in psychology called embodied cognition, which looks at this. So for example, if you wash your hands, you are more likely to judge a person harshly in terms of if they've done a misdemeanor or something.
[01:02:46] Let's say you're in a, what's called a mock jury study, where you've got to give someone a sentence for some wrong they've done. If you get two groups of people, one of which have washed their hands and another group of people have got dirty hands. The people that have washed their hands are more likely to give stricter sentences than the people that haven't washed their hands, got dirty hands.
[01:03:05] So we've got this phrase in the English language, wash my hands of you. It's actually mirrored in scientific truth. Also, there's another really weird study that you're more likely, if you're on the street and you're asking for money, you've got your bask in front of you and you want some cash, and you're begging for money, you're more likely to get it at the top of a set of stairs than at the bottom.
[01:03:25] Again, studies have shown it's exactly this kind of moral high ground, exactly that phrase in each language. So you're going to be more generous at the top of the flight of stairs than you are at the bottom. Now, I know this sounds crazy, but these studies have actually been done. If we start off with the premise that evil acts tend to be underpinned by a deficit in moral code, and we then look at the next line down, which looks at moral behaviors and judgments are often underwritten by random fluctuations in the environment under which we've got no control, then calling someone evil because they do something tends to be a bit of a cop out, because we can see that actually there's all kinds of influences on the brain which makes us behave right or wrong, over which a lot of us have got no control over.
[01:04:13] We don't act because things are happening in our elbows or our armpits, we act because something's happening in our brain. And we know that, obviously, the brain is instrumental in underpinning moral behavior, and deficits in moral behavior are often called evil. So I think if we go against that kind of logic which I've just outlined, We invoke a kind of a dualism, which is a very dangerous path to go down where there's some kind of separation between the mind and the body.
[01:04:41] And as a scientist, I can't do that, but. That's the logical answer. It's really interesting actually going back to the good psychopath question. If we go back to the mixing desk dial, you've got ruthlessness, fearlessness, no conscience, no empathy, and they're all those kind of knobs and sliders on the mixing desk dial.
[01:04:59] I think the key here, the difference between a good and a bad psychopath is how you dial those up. It's exactly like mixing a soundtrack in a studio, right? It depends on the context in which you dial those characteristics up. It depends. on the combination in which you dial those traits up. It depends on the level and it also depends on the intention that you're going to use them for.
[01:05:20] If you've got ruthlessness, fearlessness, no conscience, no empathy, all turned up to max and it's stuck there, you're likely going to be a bad psychopath. However, if you can twiddle those dials in various combinations, depending on the circumstances that you might happen to find yourself in, then you're going to be what I call a good psychopath.
[01:05:40] There was a guy who I once dealt with. People often ask me whether Hannibal Lecter actually exists, these kinds of genius psychopaths. They don't. Although I have met psychopaths with very high IQs, and I'm going to tell you about one right now. But generally speaking, intelligence within the psychopath population is exactly the same as intelligence within the general population.
[01:06:01] You've got really stupid psychopaths and you've got highly intelligent psychopaths. But here's an interesting moral dilemma, which I gave a psychopath who'd done some pretty horrible things, which I can't go into, but he had an IQ of 160. He was a guy in his mid twenties. He was in a secure unit. I was very interested to see what his response would be.
[01:06:20] I read him out A Moral Dilemma, I'm going to read it to you now, by the British moral philosopher Philippa Foote. And it goes back to our discussion about medicine, actually, what I'm going to do, I'll read the moral dilemma out and then I'm going to read out the response of this guy, who is a psychopath with an IQ of 160, very high.
[01:06:38] Dilemma goes like this, brilliant transplant surgeon has five patients. Each of the patients is in need of a different organ, and each of them will die without that organ. Unfortunately, there are no organs currently available to perform any of the transplants. A healthy young traveller, just passing through, comes into the doctor's surgery for a routine check up.
[01:07:02] While performing the check up, the doctor discovers that his organs are compatible with all five of his dying patients. Suppose further... That were the young man to disappear, no one would suspect the doctor. Would the doctor be right to kill the young man to save his five patients? So, this is very similar to another moral dilemma called the trolley problem, which will be familiar to a lot of your listeners, Jordan.
[01:07:29] And in fact, it's by the same moral philosopher, Philippa Foot, so it's a variation on this. Now obviously what we're looking at here is, we're looking at all kinds of dichotomies here. There's problems with these dilemmas, of course, but we're looking at dichotomies here between emotion and non emotion, utilitarianism, etc, etc.
[01:07:46] Now, most people would say, no, it's not right for the doctor to kill the patient. However, here's what the psychopath I was telling you about, a young guy with an IQ of 160, said. His exact words were, I can see where the problem lies. If all you're doing is simply playing the numbers game, it's a f ing no brainer, isn't it?
[01:08:06] You kill the guy and save the other five. It's utilitarianism on crack. The trick's not to think about it too much. If I was the doctor, I wouldn't give it a second thought. It's five for the price of one, isn't it? Five bits of good news. And here's where it gets manipulative, right? What about the families of these guys against one piece of bad?
[01:08:27] That's got to be a bargain, hasn't it? That is the verdict of a high IQ, IQ 160. That's probably top half a percent in terms of IQ of a pure psychopath. So I'll leave it up to your listeners to kind of work out whether he's on to something there or not. But it's certainly food for thought, isn't it? Yeah, of course,
[01:08:47] Jordan Harbinger: that's the difference, right?
[01:08:48] That illustrates it really well because most people listening would never kill some innocent guy to save other people because they know that it's wrong. This guy's just able to go, yeah, I'm saving five people. For one guy that nobody's going to miss, he's completely not hung up on it at all. He's just playing the numbers game.
[01:09:06] Yeah. He didn't seem to hesitate. It was just like the immediate and obvious answer to him, which is, must be really nice because you can just view the world in this very obviously easy way. That the rest of us don't
[01:09:17] Kevin Dutton: do. Yeah, exactly. And there are times, Jordan, where actually that kind of thinking is genuinely going to save lives, could even save the planet, but in the great vast majority of cases it's going to land you in a lot of trouble.
[01:09:33] And I think that's the real paradox, that's the dilemma that we face with psychopaths. So yeah, good psychopaths do exist. But it all depends on those dials. They've got to be dialed up in the right combinations, in the right context, used for the right intentions and dialed up at the right levels and you've got to be able to dial them back down again as well.
[01:09:53] Kevin, thank you
[01:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: very much for coming back on the show. I really appreciate it. This psychopath stuff, always so interesting, and I'm sure there's more we can talk about and I think there's a lot of people right now who are. Probably wanting to rewind and retake those tests because their scores were a little high.
[01:10:07] I'm curious what those folks end up posting on social, or if they just email it to me privately and don't want to be public. If the results were really high, I don't know if I would have shared with you. I might have been like, oh, I'll take it later.
[01:10:17] Kevin Dutton: I suppose it all depends. In a sense, it's a self fulfilling prophecy, isn't it, Jordan?
[01:10:20] You're high on the risk taking spectrum, you're going to put it out there. But again, it's all pretty anonymous, isn't it? In a lot of cases. But folks, if you do feel minded to put it out, do put it out and say what your occupation is and tag me in. So Jordan, you got my Twitter handle. Tag me in on when you put out a social media at the real Dr.
[01:10:36] Kev D R K V. Tag me in because I'd love to see how your occupation matches up to your scores. On those particular tests, especially at the extreme ends, be a great bit of scientific data to get hold of and maybe at some future point, Jordan, we can have a chat about that and I'll put a few graphs together and we can have a look at it.
[01:10:55] Perfect. Sounds good to me. Listen, I always enjoy talking to you. It's great. It really is. It's just your style is just so suited to this topic. It's just the perfect tone. Thank you. A little bit of humor in there. We're not eulogizing psychopaths, we're not glamorizing them, but I think the difference between our first chat and also this chat and the way other people talk about psychopaths is a lot of people just talk about psychopaths and it's, they killed this guy, they killed this psychopath, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[01:11:23] You've heard the old phrase in journalism, you know, dog bites man, page seven, man bites dog, front page. And I think what we did in the first show and we did in this show is we say, yeah, okay, look, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. They're out there. But. Actually, there's an argument that without psychopaths, we wouldn't even have got it.
[01:11:42] We wouldn't be here. So that's a fundamental paradox, which I think fascinates people. And I think that's why the first show went well.
[01:11:49] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. I think things get bred out if they're not useful, right? I mean, for the most part, and yeah, there's gotta be a use for it and it's just better than, oh, there's these dangerous people out there and you never know who they could be and they're going to chop you up with a chainsaw.
[01:12:02] You're more likely to deal with one who's a dentist than you are to deal with any sort of serial killer, for sure.
[01:12:08] Kevin Dutton: Absolutely. Like you say, there still exist the ones we know about anyway, the ones that have been caught, 1% of the population. So, that figure pretty much speaks for itself. Thank you so much.
[01:12:19] All right, Jordan. Thanks very much, mate.
[01:12:22] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode. But before I get into that, here's a trailer of my interview with Thomas Eriksson on how to spot a psychopath.
[01:12:30] Thomas Erikson: Some people tell me, do they have to be psychopaths? Couldn't it just be they are evil? But hey, for me, same thing.
[01:12:38] They are out there, regardless that we are talking about it or not. The stupid psychopath, he would go up to you on the street and say, Hey, you got a nice watch. And then he will bang you in the head and take the watch. The intelligent psychopath, he will see your beautiful watch and he'll say, That's a nice watch.
[01:12:54] And then he will talk you into giving him the watch. That's the difference. All narcissists are not psychopaths, but every psychopath is a narcissist. They think it is their right. They are entitled to act in this way. It is their birthright to use you and me and anybody else. The more you present yourself to the psychopath, the more understanding he has about you, and the more dangerous he becomes.
[01:13:21] Love bombing is one of the most dangerous manipulation techniques that you can use. If you haven't experienced, let's say, true love, let's call it, and then you think you have it within your reach, you're done. I get, you know, I get shivers down my spine. Psychopathy is not an illness, it's a personality disorder.
[01:13:42] It starts at the moment in the woman's womb, actually. You can never change a psychopath. How much value would you put in yourself? How much do you think you deserve in life? Do you deserve a good relationship?
[01:14:02] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how to protect yourself from psychopaths, Check out episode 465 with Thomas Erickson on the Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:14:11] For those looking for the previous episodes with Kevin, that's episode 776 and 777, lucky number 7, with psychopath quizzes and much more discussion on the topic of psychopaths and psychopathy. All things Kevin Dutton will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger. com or ask the AI chat bot on the website that includes transcripts which are linked in the show notes.
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