Kevin Dutton (@therealdrkev) is a psychologist and author known for his research on the psychology of evil and the science of charisma. His latest book is The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. [This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two can be found here!]
What We Discuss with Kevin Dutton:
- How having a con artist father who never lost his cool sparked Kevin’s interest in understanding the mindset of the psychopath.
- What Kevin means when he says that psychopaths understand the “words but not the music” of emotion.
- Contrary to popular belief, psychopaths aren’t necessarily violent. They could be a surgeon or a killer, a firefighter or an arsonist. (Or even a professor or an ax murderer.)
- Why psychopaths are often excellent at persuasion and identifying weakness in others.
- What percentage of the population exhibits psychopathy, and how psychopaths can actually be useful for society.
- And much more…
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Why do psychopaths exist? Are they dangerous relics of a more savage, bygone era, or do they possess skills that can actually be of benefit to modern society?
On this episode, we’re joined by psychologist Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. Here, we delve into the lives of psychopaths and their famously manipulative behaviors, exploring the scale of “madness” on which we all sit. Through the use of the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, as well as on-the-ground reporting and original research, Kevin demonstrates that functional psychopaths, or those who use their detached and charismatic personalities to excel in mainstream society, do exist.
Kevin also asserts that society as a whole is becoming more psychopathic, as the qualities of fearlessness, confidence, and ruthlessness are increasingly valued in the modern world. Join us as we challenge traditional beliefs about psychopathy and explore how it can sometimes lead to success. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two can be found here!]
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the show we did with James Fallon — the psychiatry professor who can teach you how to spot a psychopath because he is a psychopath? Catch up here with episode 28: James Fallon | How to Spot a Psychopath!
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:
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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
- Kevin Dutton | Website
- Kevin Dutton | Twitter
- Kevin Dutton | Instagram
- Kevin Dutton | Facebook
- James Fallon | How to Spot a Psychopath | Jordan Harbinger
- Thomas Erikson | How to Protect Yourself from Psychopaths | Jordan Harbinger
776: Kevin Dutton | The Wisdom of Psychopaths Part One
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Kevin Dutton: I always remember a very bad psychopath who I interviewed once who had killed a number of people, and he said, "You know, you don't need to have color vision to see how a traffic light works. You just need to know which bits are lit up. And that's pretty chilling. But that's actually a very accurate portrayal of how people who are very high on the psychopathic spectrum see the world and see other people. They don't see the color of the emotion. They just see which bits are lit up.
[00:00:37] 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. We have in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional Fortune 500 CEO, national security advisor, money laundering expert, or cold case homicide investigator. And each episode turns our guest's wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:01:05] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, our starter packs are a great place to begin. These are collections of some of our favorite episodes organized by topic. They'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show — topics like persuasion, influence, disinformation, cyber warfare, China, North Korea, abnormal psychology, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:31] We've done a few shows on psychopaths and criminal minds, and I wanted to get a more scientific evaluation of psychopaths and psychopathy today. That's what we're going to be doing here on this episode with Dr. Kevin Dutton, new friend of mine here, an author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success — really good title, honestly, and a good book. We cover a lot today, and the episode eventually became two parts because this one was just so interesting. We had a lot to cover. We debunked some common myths around psychopaths, such as the old trope that they don't have emotions or they can't feel empathy, turns out this is absolutely not the case, and in many cases the opposite might actually be true. Also, psychopathy is a spectrum. It's not binary in other words some people are more psychopathic than others, and that shouldn't really surprise us once we think about it, right? Psychopaths also tend to be good persuaders and good at reading others. And we'll discuss why this is the case and touch on what we can do about it. And last but not least, am I a psychopath? Are you a psychopath? Where are we on the spectrum? There's a psychopath test. You can take it along with me. The results should disturb you. All right. Here we go with Kevin Dutton.
[00:02:41] I googled how much soccer players make in the US and it's like you have to have another job—
[00:02:47] Kevin Dutton: Oh yeah.
[00:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: —during the off season, if you want to survive, basically.
[00:02:51] Kevin Dutton: Over here in the UK, let me try and work this out in dollars, the top players are probably on be nearly a million dollars a week. Something along those lines, mate.
[00:03:01] Jordan Harbinger: I think that's very true. By the way, I found the lowest paid Premier League soccer player because there's no sense finding somebody who's three leagues down, right? Of course, they're not making money.
[00:03:08] Kevin Dutton: No.
[00:03:09] Jordan Harbinger: His name is Jordan Zemura. He's at — I'm going to mispronounce this — Bournemouth.
[00:03:14] Kevin Dutton: Oh, Bournemouth.
[00:03:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It looks like this guy, Zemura. Oh, the article, of course, has so many ads, let's see, this guy made a weekly wage of 385 pounds, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo makes 515,385 pounds—
[00:03:32] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:03:32] Jordan Harbinger: —per week. So Ronaldo makes 515,000 pounds per week more than Jordan Zemura. That's quite the disparity.
[00:03:39] Kevin Dutton: Yeah. There you go. Slightly skewed, isn't it? But—
[00:03:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:44] Kevin Dutton: Yeah, absolutely. But, yeah, it's really interesting. I've often thought of that. And you know the other interesting thing with, I mean, a lot of the top Premier League academies, Jordan, have kids as young as, some of them are young as nine years old in them.
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:04:00] Kevin Dutton: And then, they continue with their schooling and then they come up through the ranks. I'm sure for your American listeners, you know, not that familiar with British soccer. I mean, it's a huge, almost like a religion here in the UK. And it's a huge dream to play alongside the big stars in the club that you might be in the academy. Some clubs have academies, you know, in the ages of nine or 10 kids go up the ranks, in the academies and the youth academies, and then you get like the final kind of academy kids, you know, like 16 to 18. And then, sometimes they might get to train with the first team, sometimes, you know, whatever. And at the end of the day, only a small proportion of those kids in that last realm of that academy as it were actually get picked. And you know, if you can face being just set free, let loose into everyday life, that's it for the rest of your life. Your dreams crushed. You're never going to play for that side. And there's a hell of a lot of mental health problems—
[00:04:59] Jordan Harbinger: I bet.
[00:05:00] Kevin Dutton: —with kids that come through those academies and then released by the clubs with, as I say, you know, their dreams are playing alongside the Ronaldos and you know, the David Beckham's gone. It's really sad. There was one very famous Premier League manager. Really interesting. He had a very psychopathic kind of trick that he used to use, very Machiavelli, very fiendishness. And he used to basically say to — because he had scouts, obviously, he would be training the first team and he'd have like scouts and academy trainers, training the young kids, and he would say to one of the one of the academy trainers, you know, if a kid had promised, he was really doing well, he'd say, "Yeah, call him up and let's have him train with the first team.
[00:05:41] So all of a sudden, you could imagine this kid coming out of the room through the academy training with the first team, you know, all the stars, all the famous stars that he's probably idolized ever since he was five years old. And no matter how well he did, the manager would call him into his office and say, "You are absolutely sh*t. You played terribly. That's it. You are never, ever, ever going to play for this team—"
[00:06:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[00:06:03] Kevin Dutton: "—ever in a million years. Go back to the academy. I'm going to put you on the track. You are out of this cup. That's it. You're never playing for the first team." And then, but here's the trick, right? He would then turn around to the trainer, who'd train the academy and say, "Watch how he responds," right? By the way, the guy might have played absolutely fantastically—
[00:06:20] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh.
[00:06:20] Kevin Dutton: —with the first team. It doesn't matter how he played, he would always say the same thing, and then he would say to the academy trainer, "Watch how he responds." If he's the kind of kid that just says, "Okay, well, that's it. I can't. Obviously gives up. There's nothing I can do," then get him on the transfer list. However, if he's the kind of kid that says, "I'm going to really show him how he's wrong. I'm going to respond, blah, blah, blah, blah." He said, "Call him up. He's going to be playing for the club."
[00:06:42] Jordan Harbinger: Huh.
[00:06:42] Kevin Dutton: So it's a nice little trick there. You know, some people say, "Well, that's really cruel and it's kind of gratuitous and it's crass. I don't agree with that. I think it's absolutely fair. Yeah, I think it's a fair tactic. It is hard.
[00:06:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:55] Kevin Dutton: But if you are in a World Final where you know you are a goal down with five minutes to play, you need guys who are going to stand up and fight.
[00:07:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:02] Kevin Dutton: And not people whose shoulders and heads are going to go down. They're going to give up and say, "Well, that's it." So, he was selecting for a psychological trait using that trick, which is actually, I think, fair play.
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, I doubt that if the guy has a breakdown in the office that guy's like, "You're such a wimp. Get out of here. I don't want to see ugly face." He probably goes, "Look, man, it happens to a lot of people."
[00:07:22] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:07:22] Jordan Harbinger: It's just not for you. Good luck. You'll be fine somewhere else maybe. It depends on, I guess, how he responds to that response, right? If he—
[00:07:30] Kevin Dutton: You go.
[00:07:30] Jordan Harbinger: —digs his heel into the guy's eyeball, that's a problem. But if he says, "Look man, it happens to a lot of folks. This is Premier League. You know, you might even do well on another Premier League team, just not ours." Okay, leave the kid with a little bit of hope. So it depends on how cruel—
[00:07:43] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:07:43] Jordan Harbinger: —this guy really is. Once the guy is down right?
[00:07:47] Kevin Dutton: Yeah, that's right. And he just wanted to see how the guy responded. Could he actually respond under that pressure? And ostensibly having those dreams crushed—
[00:07:55] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:07:55] Kevin Dutton: —could he say, "Okay, I'm going to show you that you are wrong," because that was the kind of character that he wanted. Of course, the downside to that—
[00:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:04] Kevin Dutton: —which is kind of what you're alluding to, is the fact that actually you might be losing a lot of really good players that way.
[00:08:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:12] Kevin Dutton: Actually, you know, not everybody might have that nth degree of mental toughness, but actually they might make up for it in other ways.
[00:08:20] Jordan Harbinger: Or they actually believe you out of all the people in the world to make that assessment.
[00:08:25] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:08:25] Jordan Harbinger: So you crush them in a unique way that maybe another person or situation would not be able to do.
[00:08:31] Kevin Dutton: You're absolutely right. I'm fascinated with that, having worked with it in elite sport for a few years now, the psychology of elite sport is very interesting. It kind of flows very well, I suppose, obviously, because that's where I ended up.
[00:08:46] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:08:46] Kevin Dutton: Lot of the times it flows kind of nicely from the psychopathic mindset and all that kind of stuff that I've studied really.
[00:08:54] Jordan Harbinger: It sure does. Yeah. No, look, I'm thinking about this now. I'm thinking what would I do in this situation. And if some doofus on Instagram sends me a DM and says, "Your interviews are terrible." I've seen this in YouTube comments like, "You suck compared to—" some other person who you've never heard of, or a famous person.
[00:09:09] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:09:10] Jordan Harbinger: "This is terrible. Your questions are awful. I just go, "Look at this idiot." But if a famous interviewer, if Christian Amanpour says "Jordan, don't quit your day job. I can't believe you made a business out of this. You're truly a no-talent ass clown when it comes to interviewing." I would really feel awful at that, right? Because she—
[00:09:30] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:09:31] Jordan Harbinger: —knows what she's talking about. If Terry Gross from Fresh Air, which is a show you'd never heard of, but is very famous in the United States on NPR, if she said, "This is really not a good podcast. You're lucky you have anybody listening to this," I would be upset about that. But if her crazy cousin at Thanksgiving who listens to a handful of podcasts said the same thing, I'd be like, "Well, I don't really care what you think, Bobby," right? I don't care.
[00:09:52] Kevin Dutton: I agree, but you know what? I've been chatting to you for a few minutes now, Jordan, and I don't think for one minute — you might feel bad, but I don't think for one minute already you'll give up. I think you'd probably say, "Okay, what am I going to do about this?" Okay. I think you would—
[00:10:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:10:06] Kevin Dutton: —probably listen to that. And by the way, knowing you already, I think you'd probably invite them on, wouldn't you?
[00:10:10] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, I'd say, "You know, that's a really interesting point you've made. Let's talk about this while we're recording.
[00:10:15] Kevin Dutton: That's the great response right there, isn't it?
[00:10:17] Jordan Harbinger: I also think though I have, at this point, enough evidence, right? I'm not trying to start a show — I've got 15 years of experience. I've got checks coming in every month that support my family, so I know I'm doing something right. But a kid who goes from high school or whatever it is in the UK and says, "This is my one shot," and the guy says, "You're terrible, how you made it this far is a miracle. You've just been lucky. You're never going to make a career out of this." That's a different, more uniquely vulnerable positions. So I guess I can't really compare those two things.
[00:10:48] Kevin Dutton: It's kind of a sickener, you get it in Special Forces training as well. So it's Special Forces selection, rather, it's a psychological ploy. I hadn't really thought of the parallels between this, but actually, you know, typically you will get in Special Forces selection. So we have the SAS Special Air Service over here.
[00:11:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:05] Kevin Dutton: You've got the Green Berets, Delta Force over there, of course. A classic technique would be, okay, you've got 40, 50-K march. You are wearing like a 70, 80 kilograms of gear on your back.
[00:11:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:19] Kevin Dutton: And you're really, really exhausted by the time you come to the end of it and there's the truck that's going to pick you up to take you back to camp, and then all of a sudden the guy who's in charge there says, "I'm sorry, but the truck's parked another 10 K down the road. You got to keep going."
[00:11:34] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:34] Kevin Dutton: Well, actually, what people don't know is it's only parked half a K around the corner. But it's really interesting when you look at the people that are going to say, "Sh*t, I'm going to keep going here, whatever." Or the people that just go, "That's it. I've had enough, I can't take anymore." The people that keep going have that little surprise. It actually is not another 10 K, it's only half K around the corner. So these little tricks of the trade are kind of, they're to put psychological pressure on are these.
[00:11:59] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I smile, but I also think what a miserable existence that is but that's what they're selecting for. Although in this case of the SAS and the other Special Forces. I'm not so sure it's part half a click around the road. I think it's probably 30 K and they go, "Oh, did I say 10?" And they probably do that to you until you fall face down in the muck and then they have to turn you over because you can't breathe anymore and then they probably back the truck up.
[00:12:21] Kevin Dutton: You're obviously know more than you're laying on here, Jordan.
[00:12:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:23] Kevin Dutton: But I think we've gone far enough to listen to, use a pun on it, I think we've gone far enough down that road, but I think you might know a little bit more than you're letting on, mate.
[00:12:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. When I look at the guys who can do that stuff, I tell them the most athletic thing I've ever done, and then they tell me something that sounds absolutely ridiculous that I would never even attempt. And they're doing that for fun.
[00:12:43] Kevin Dutton: Oh yeah.
[00:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: Because it's easy compared — one of, one of my trainers, he's a substitute and he was also a Special Air Service guy. And for fun, he took an empty beer keg, which I don't know how much that weighs, but it's heavy.
[00:12:57] Kevin Dutton: He probably drunk it dry at first.
[00:12:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, he may have drank it.
[00:13:00] Kevin Dutton: Yeah, he did that bit first. Yeah.
[00:13:02] Jordan Harbinger: Him and a bunch of his friends, they did get really drunk and they helped somebody move all of his stuff upstairs. So they did that and then the next day they put the empty beer kegs on their backs and they did five miles or kilometers, I can't remember which, but I think it was miles. because I'm just going off memory, where they would walk 10 steps, do a burpee, which is like a pushup and a jump up there.
[00:13:26] Kevin Dutton: Oh yeah, I know. Yeah.
[00:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: And then they would do that again for five miles with the keg on their back. And that was fun for them. And I'm thinking I couldn't even do like three of those, let alone five miles.
[00:13:37] Kevin Dutton: That's because they're psychopath Jordan?
[00:13:39] Jordan Harbinger: I think so.
[00:13:40] Kevin Dutton: Okay. So you don't need any convincing at that. And no, actually, in all seriousness, as you know, I've studied these guys and they are. It was one of the interesting things whenever I talk about psychopaths. It's like, you know, well, really? So why are all psychopaths are in prison, mate? Well, actually, no.
[00:13:59] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:13:59] Kevin Dutton: Special Forces guys are one of the first people that I say, look, here's a great example of this. I think it was George Orwell had a great quote. He said, "Good men sleep sound in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." And it's a very unpalatable thought, but it's actually true. And I think when you look at Special Forces guys, they're kind of very high on the psychopathic spectrum.
[00:14:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. .
[00:14:20] Kevin Dutton: So that's what I would say the idea of like, you're either a psychopath or not. Yeah. It kind of works at the very, very top clinical ends. But actually we're all on a kind of spectrum and there is no one I have met in Special Forces anywhere that isn't high on the psychopathic spectrum. And you know, you've got to be, I mean, you jump out of a plane, 30,000 feet, high altitude, low opening into the sea at night, wearing a ton of equipment. You swim to shore. You are picked up by a boat squadron. Then, you go and fight as happened in the Falklands War in the 1980s or more recent example, you're in the mountains of Northern Afghanistan. You go to the Tora Bora Cave Complex, which was one of the Taliban's hide. You go in there with night vision goggles and you knife fight them in their own backyard. I mean, because obviously, you can't fire guns in there because you bring the whole cave complex crashing down. So you have to go in there. It's literally like, you know, fighting 200 years ago with knives. The Taliban in this labyrinth-type cave complex. And the guys love it. That's the thing. You know, Special Forces guys love that kind of thing because it's what they've trained for. There's one guy I know very well said, with typical British understatement, "It's not every soldier's cup of tea."
[00:15:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:31] Kevin Dutton: And he absolutely meant it. These guys live for that kind of thing. So that's another example where you get like as I say, psychopathic characteristics, being selected for the good. So you're absolutely right. Your friend with Special Forces who did the barrels doesn't surprise me one bit.
[00:15:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's weird because when you think psychopath, you don't think this guy's really nice. And when he is a trainer, he is really good, he's very caring. Of course, he's got that charm that psychopaths have, but he's also like, let me check in on you and see how you're feeling the next day. And you go, "But wait, if you're a psychopath, aren't you supposed to be this cold, uncaring, violent person who just uses everyone and discards them?" And the answer is not necessarily, right?
[00:16:09] Kevin Dutton: You know what, Jordan? I wish you had been my agent years ago, mate. You're going to save me a lot of trouble. But that's exactly the argument that I've always made, you know? So I made a decision — in fact, I wrote a book with an ex-SAS guy called Andy McNab, who's very famous over here, and it was a follow-up to Wisdom of Psychopaths. And it was, you know, when, when the media picked up on Wisdom of Psychopaths, which I think still the only book to my knowledge that actually argues that psychopathic characteristics can be good. The media started saying, "Well, you know, that was the science version. We want like the self-help version." We want to know how to kind of — I mean, believe it or not, we want to know how to kind of shift ourselves up the other end of the psychopathic spectrum.
[00:16:47] Jordan Harbinger: How to turn up your inner psychopath for fun and profit, yeah.
[00:16:50] Kevin Dutton: And that's absolutely right. It's pretty much our strap line right there actually. But, anyway,, we wrote a book called The Good Psychopath Guide to Success. And you know, the interesting thing was that phrase, good psychopath.
[00:17:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:02] Kevin Dutton: First of all, I think it's probably, if we're going to talk about psychopath, it's probably a lot of your listeners might actually know what a psychopath is.
[00:17:07] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:17:08] Kevin Dutton: So, you know, a lot of people might think in real life, it's Ted Bundy, serial killers like Ted Bundy on the silver screen. It's like—
[00:17:14] Jordan Harbinger: That's just it, yeah. When we think of psychopaths, we think of serial killers.
[00:17:17] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:17:17] Jordan Harbinger: But I think anybody with any life experience has not only come across a psychopath.
[00:17:21] Kevin Dutton: Oh, sure.
[00:17:21] Jordan Harbinger: We may have had one as a partner, a boss. We might even still have a friend who's a psychopath that we kind of think like, "Uh, there's something up with that guy, but we're friends. But I don't know if I want to trust him with my bank account, for example. I wouldn't give him my login to my bank.
[00:17:35] Kevin Dutton: Exactly.
[00:17:38] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Kevin Dutton. We'll be right back.
[00:17:43] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online therapy. If you're going through a tough time, you are not alone and you don't have to deal with it on your own either. It's time to seek a therapist and Better Help is great. It's convenient, flexible, affordable, really fast. It's nice to be able to talk to somebody as soon as you need. With Better Help, you have access to over 30,000 licensed professional therapists.
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[00:20:16] Jordan Harbinger: If you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers, and creators every single week, it's because of my network. And I hate words like networking and network because it's a little gross. But I'm teaching you how to build your network — ugh, cringe, right? For free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Now, the course is all about improving your relationship building skills and inspiring other people to want to develop a relationship with you. And the course does all that in a super easy, hopefully, non-cringey, down-to-earth kind of way. No awkward strategies, no cheesy tactics that are going to make you pucker up, if you know what I mean, before doing it. Just practical exercises that are going to make you a better connector, a better colleague, a better peer, a better friend, and it just takes a few minutes a day. The course is free, and many of the guests on the show subscribe and contribute to the course. So, hey, come join us, you'll be in smart company. You can find the course at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:21:07] Now back to Kevin Dutton.
[00:21:10] There's people where you go, "What? That guy is so weird. What is his deal?"
[00:21:13] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:21:14] Jordan Harbinger: And they become killer in business or otherwise.
[00:21:16] Kevin Dutton: Yeah. You got it. Well, in fact, you know, if we got time a little bit later on, I've got a little test which lasts about two minutes. We could do for your listeners to see if any of those are a psychopath and we can score it.
[00:21:27] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:21:28] Kevin Dutton: So we can see if you were one as well. Actually, you didn't expect that.
[00:21:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we should.
[00:21:30] Kevin Dutton: You didn't expect that, Jordan, did you? But we can do that, we can do that a bit later on. But yeah, you are absolutely right. You know, people think it's Ted Bundy or Hannibal Lecter. But actually when psychologists like myself talk about psychopaths, we're actually referring to a distinct subset of individuals with a specific kind of constellation, as it were, of personality characteristics. Those characteristics are typically ruthlessness, fearless, mental toughness, self-confidence, coolness under pressure, emotional detachment.
[00:21:58] Jordan Harbinger: I don't have any of those characteristics, so I definitely am not a psychopath.
[00:22:02] Kevin Dutton: We'll find out that.
[00:22:03] Jordan Harbinger: There's zero—
[00:22:03] Kevin Dutton: Psychopaths are also pretty good liars, remember?
[00:22:05] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:22:06] Kevin Dutton: By the way, well, we'll find out. We'll find out.
[00:22:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:08] Kevin Dutton: And of course, yeah, those kind of trademark deficits in conscience and empathy that hear so much about. Now, here's a trick, mate. None of those traits is necessarily a problem in itself, okay? In fact, all of them dialed up at the right levels and deployed within the right context can actually prove pretty useful. The key is in context and level. Okay, so here's the deal, mate. Imagine that those characteristics that I've just outlined for you comprise the hodgepodge of knobs and sliders on a studio mixing desk, okay?
[00:22:36] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:22:36] Kevin Dutton: Twiddle them up and down at various combinations, and you arrive at two conclusions. Now, the first conclusion is that there's no one dial fits all to each of these, there's no one correct setting, but it will variably depend on timing upon a particular set of circumstance you might happen to find yourself in. Okay? So you might need to turn ruthless up and fearlessness down or whatever. There's no one definitive correct setting. The second conclusion is that there exists certain jobs or professions out there that by their very nature, are going to demand that some of these mixing desk dials are turned up just a little bit higher than average, right? Demand, what I call rather provocatively, some precision engineered psychopathy, all right?
[00:23:13] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:23:14] Kevin Dutton: So I'll give an example. So we've already covered a couple, right? So imagine you've got the skillset set to be a top surgeon, but that you lack the ability to emotionally disengage from the person you're operating on.
[00:23:24] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yeah.
[00:23:25] Kevin Dutton: You're not going to cut it — well, actually, you're not literally not going to cut it quite, you know, as I say, quite literally. Imagine you've got the skill set to be a top lawyer, but that you lack that almost pathological self-confidence to be the center of attention in the middle of a that courtroom. That kind of, almost that inherent narcissism. You're not going to make it. You just made an example of business. Imagine you got the skill set to be a top business person. You know, you've got the financial smarts and the business acumen to be a top business person, but that you lack the ruthlessness to fire someone if they're underperforming or the coolness under pressure to ride out a storm or to, I don't know, the sheer balls necessary to take a calculated risk when appropriate.
[00:24:00] Now, those characteristics I've just outlined for you there — ruthlessness, fearlessness, self-confidence, coolness under pressure, emotional detachment — they comprise five core characteristics of the psychopathic personality. So here's the deal. I don't think they're dysfunctional in those particular contexts, right? However, your point is a valid one. When you get outside those particular contexts, if you can't turn those dials back down to normal levels, that's when you're going to end up in the sh*t. That's when you're going to end up killing someone or when you are going to end up, as I say, scamming someone, committing major fraud, that's when you might well end up in prison. But a good psychopath is someone who's able to dial those dials up to the right level sometimes maximum when they really need it. So the key is in the context, the combination of the dials, the levels at which they're set, and the intention for which they're used, really. So that's the theory in a nutshell, really.
[00:25:00] As you can see, Special Forces, when you're in a Special Forces environment, when you're in a sporting environment, in a major final, for instance, you need to dial that ruthlessness and fearlessness dial and the conscience dial, you need to dial ruthlessness and fearless up and conscience and empathy down. But then when you leave, say, you know, the Super Bowl final, you leave like the to Tora Bora cave in Afghanistan and you got to make sure that you turn those dials back o normal settings.
[00:25:26] Jordan Harbinger: So, Kevin, from an evolutionary perspective, is this why psychopaths have not been bred out of existence? Because they have these undesirable traits, which in theory means they shouldn't still be around, but then they must have some other advantages that perpetuate the gene or set of genes that make them this way. So like you said, they, if they're great at Special Forces, they're great at being certain kinds of trial lawyers, surgeons, and things like that, then the disturbing truth is that some of the people we need most in society happen to also be psychopaths.
[00:25:57] Kevin Dutton: A very simple answer to that question is a very obvious answer, and that is that psychopaths can be very, very promiscuous and they have more offspring.
[00:26:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:06] Kevin Dutton: So that's one of the reasons why they're still around. Because as I say, their mating strategy is kind of different to a normal mating strategy. So typically, one of the hallmarks of like bad psychopaths, as it were, is promiscuous sexual behavior.
[00:26:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:22] Kevin Dutton: It's on a number of the psychometric measures, and so they're going to have more offsprings. So putting that to one side, what is it about these characteristics which determines that they're still around? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you go back into evolutionary history in the days of our primitive ancestors on the East African Savannahs living in small groups, you needed warrior hawks in those groups. You needed who were going to fight other groups that encroach on your territory. You know, as I say, there was a lot of intergroup wars, you know, supply and demand in terms of territory. There were all kinds of pressures on that. There was competition for resources in terms of, you know, as I say, best places to shelter for the night. And also, uh, hunting ground. So, you know, if you, you've got warrior hawks in your group who are able to be ruthless and fight members of other groups to the death, and they're going to be, as I say, they're going to be very prized.
[00:27:18] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:27:18] Kevin Dutton: Also, you know, in terms of hunting that predatorial kind of acumen, the ability — you know, it's really interesting when you look back in hunters, even today actually in, as I say, nomadic tribes and hunter-gatherer groups still around, wer're no different to way back in our prehistoric ancestry. The best hunters aren't necessarily the ones that can just keep tracking an animal. It's the ones that are able to predict where the animal's going to go and almost slip into their mindset. And so as a result, save energy. So that kind of predatorial mind reading, as it were, was also very valuable, which is a very psychopathic characteristic.
[00:27:56] And also you need people again, who could infiltrate other groups who were manipulative, who could fake emotion, who could fake sincerity, who could hide in plain sight to get information from other groups. So again, that was very valuable in the days of our evolutionary history. And these are the characteristics which have kind of survived our brains today as you know it, pretty much similar to the brains that we had three million years ago. Not much has changed.
[00:28:20] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:28:21] Kevin Dutton: What's changed is the context and environment and culture in which we live in. So absolutely, these traits have stuck around. Of course, we live in a very different world now than we used to back in those days. And as I say, if you use these traits in the wrong combinations, at the wrong levels, with the wrong intentions, that's when you can get into serious trouble and you can cause a lot of damage.
[00:28:46] It's really interesting. The Vikings used to have like a Special Forces unit, I guess you could call it, called the berserkers.
[00:28:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:28:53] Kevin Dutton: And it's where the word berserk came from. And these guys, I mean, the Vikings were pretty ferocious anyway, but these guys kind of fought in a trance-like fur. And they were much feared, obviously, in those days. The problem with the berserkers was what they did in peacetime because they couldn't stop fighting, so that actually proves your point. I mean, they would then turn on their own community, so they literally couldn't dial that kind of aggression down. So they were brilliant in wars and in battles, but actually during peacetime, they were an absolute disaster.
[00:29:25] Jordan Harbinger: I remember reading about the blood feud, well, I studied this in law school, blood feuds and vikings and stuff like that and these—
[00:29:31] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:29:31] Jordan Harbinger: I remember the berserkers and it was like if you had these guys on your side, they counted as more than one human, I think.
[00:29:37] Kevin Dutton: That's exactly right.
[00:29:37] Jordan Harbinger: The way they solved a lot of problems back then was you'd think they would go and battle it out, but what you would do is you would go and get as many people as you could that would have your back and they would meet. And if you had more, then they already knew what the outcome of the battle was going to be. So you didn't actually fight. There's no reason to kill anybody or hurt anybody. You just went, "Ah, well, Jordan got more than Eric. So Jordan wins this dispute."
[00:29:59] Kevin Dutton: Absolutely.
[00:30:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. If you had the berserkers, it was like, "Well, but Eric has five berserkers, so those guys count as five men each. So now you got to do the math differently.
[00:30:06] Kevin Dutton: The other interesting point there is the fact that — and you get this with great, great sports people as well, competitors because of the reputation that perceives them.
[00:30:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:30:16] Kevin Dutton: Their opponents are already beaten before they even start. So, you know, you get these with people who are very dominant in their sport, great champions, you know, before you even face them, you think, "Well, I'm going to lose." And that's, obviously, you're at a huge psychological—
[00:30:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:30:29] Kevin Dutton: —disadvantage area. And incidentally, that is also the mindset of when you look at pack animals, any pack or animals that live in pack or troops, and you look at the alpha male in the group, people often think, "Well it's obviously the alpha male is the guy that wins the most fights. Actually, it's not. If you study anthropology and evolution biology, what you find is that the alpha male, the leader of a lot pack animals, is actually the animal that can convince others not to fight in the first place because they're going to get beat.
[00:31:02] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:31:02] Kevin Dutton: And as a result of that, they're able to maintain that position of leadership far more. Because if you think about it, if it were the case that the leaders of pack animals were the ones that won the most fights, well, let's say you are the leader of a pack. You have six fights that you win. You are getting weaker and weaker and weaker. You're going to get wounded. Then, I come along—
[00:31:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:21] Kevin Dutton: —and I take you on, I beat you. Then, I have six fights, and then I'm ousted by another guy who's fresher.
[00:31:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:31:28] Kevin Dutton: So if you have it like it's the one that wins the most fights, you've got a revolving door of leadership, which doesn't work in evolutionary context, but it's the one that can convince the others. "You're going to get beat, so don't try it, sunshine."
[00:31:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:42] Kevin Dutton: They're the ones which are the leaders. But it's interesting. We talked about aggression because the ability — also psychopaths are brilliant persuaders.
[00:31:50] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:50] Kevin Dutton: That's a really valuable tool. All great leaders are great persuaders. And I've written about this. People often ask me, well, you know, but yeah, there's a double edged sword there because what's the difference between persuasion and manipulation? And of course, you get that in politics all the time. And I always say the simple answer is it's a bit like magic in Harry Potter. There's black and white persuasion, there's black and white magic. The same principles underlie here. But again, it's the intentions to which you kind of use it.
[00:32:17] And that's how I pretty much, I suppose I better be honest, I mean, that's how I got into studying psychopath, many, many years ago, you know, I can give you a long and boring answer that you go to university and you do all your degrees and all that, but my own father was a psychopath.
[00:32:32] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting.
[00:32:32] Kevin Dutton: Yeah. So, no, no, by the way, it's not genetic.
[00:32:35] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to ask if you inherited that and are you worried about that at all?
[00:32:38] Kevin Dutton: Well, I mean, it's interesting because it's 50/50 part of it's genetic and part of it isn't. And yeah, I'm pretty, I am pretty high on the spectrum I would imagine.
[00:32:47] Jordan Harbinger: Have you not tested for this. You had to have tested yourself for this.
[00:32:49] Kevin Dutton: Well, I'll tell you what we'll do. I'll give you a test in a minute because we can tell. When you devise tests like it—
[00:32:54] Jordan Harbinger: You're going to test me for it to see if you're a psychopath, something's not adding up here, man.
[00:32:57] Kevin Dutton: Oh yeah, well, exactly right. You can tell me. It's difficult to take your own tests when you kind of know what it's kind of going about. It's kind of difficult.
[00:33:07] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah.
[00:33:08] Kevin Dutton: But I mean, looking at myself, I kind of think, well, actually, yeah, I can be pretty ruthless in certain contexts. I don't really get anxious about too many things. I've never really got anxious. That's the big one for me. So I would say to people like, you know, we were talking earlier, you've got ruthlessness, fearlessness, mental stuff, all these kind of things, if you think about psychopathy as being like, this is a good way of thinking about it, if you think about it as being like a psychological decathlon, right? You know, you've got 10 events in there. It's like an Olympic discipline. Not to trivialize it, of course, because these guys, bad psychopaths can do a lot of harm, but just to try and make it simple, in order to be a really, really Olympic level psychopath, you got to have a lot of disciplines within there, which you are good at. You got to be really good at ruthlessness, you've got to be really good at feeling. So I'm pretty good at those. But the, I've got a couple of really bad disciplines and that is I have a conscience.
[00:34:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:02] Kevin Dutton: I would never do someone down, stab him in the back, rip them off or anything like that. We were talking about football earlier. I'm like, your $500-a-week psychopath, right? I'm not like a million-dollar-a-week, Premier League psychopath. But my dad, he wasn't a violent man. But you know, as we've just seen, you don't necessarily need to be violent to be a psycho. He was a market trader, not on the stock market, I grew up in London, by the way, but in a pretty rough part of London, but not in the stock market, but he was on the streets. He would sell all kinds of sh*t. He could sell shaving cream to the Taliban. He'd literally sell anything to anybody, my dad—
[00:34:34] Jordan Harbinger: But not that good if you grew up in a rough area, unless he just spent all the money on himself and not you.
[00:34:38] Kevin Dutton: Well, yeah, I mean he was kind of these guys, he was like, you know, if he just made a few quid on something that was pretty much good enough. His aspirations weren't that high.
[00:34:47] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:34:48] Kevin Dutton: Believe it or not, but I mean, I'll give you a great example of the kind of thing he would do. I mean, I always remember I was about what, nine or 10. And he got his hands on a load of diaries, calendar diaries. And these dairies are very different to anything we'd add before Jordan, because they were actually nice, all right? Usually, we were just, or my dad, as I said earlier I was kid, he would sell sh*t really, basically. Anyway, these diaries were amazing. They were leather, probably fake leather. They were embossed, they were very slim line. And there was a reason for that. But anyway, we sold about, I don't know, 300 of these diaries on the stall in about, I don't know, an hour and a half. It just went like hotcakes, you know? Amazing.
[00:35:29] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:35:29] Kevin Dutton: Amazing. And when we got back to the big tenement block that we were living in, big apartment block, rundown apartment. I remember saying to my dad, "Dad, that was amazing. Those diaries, they were, I mean, they, well, they were very slim, weren't they?" and he said, "Yeah, there's a reason for that, Kev." And I said, "Oh, what's that?" And he said, "April was missing." And I went, "You're joking." And sure enough, Jordan, he takes one out in the drawer and it's January, February, March, May, June, July. I couldn't believe it. I turned around, we've just sold 300 of these diaries, what are we going to do? And I'll never forget it. He said, "Nothing for now, Kev. But let me tell you something. When it comes to the end of March, make sure you pack your swimming trunks because they're off to Spain for six weeks."
[00:36:11] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God.
[00:36:12] Kevin Dutton: That was the kind of theif he would do without batting an eye. He was shameless. He never thought of the consequences of what he did. It was just that but it was water for ducks back to him, and he was extremely persuasive.
[00:36:25] I'll give you another example. I always remember, again, I'd been helping on the store one day, one evening, and he took me out to an Indian restaurant for dinners. There's a lot of Indian restaurants in London. And this is really interesting actually from a persuasion point of view, because he said one of the most profound things, he wasn't an educated man as you probably gather, but he said one of the most profound things that anyone's ever said to me about the science of social influence. And I told — I think you might have had him on your show, Bob Cialdini.
[00:36:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:36:53] Kevin Dutton: He's a good, good friend of mine. And I told Bob Cialdini this and he really got it. And my dad turned around and he said, "Kevin, if there's one thing I want you to remember in life, son, it's this persuasion isn't about getting people to do what they don't want to do. It's about giving people a reason to do what they do want to do."
[00:37:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:10] Kevin Dutton: That's a big difference, right?
[00:37:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:12] Kevin Dutton: So he said, "Watch and learn." So we're in this Indian restaurant and he suddenly takes his spoon and he tinkles it against his glass. Anyway, the entire restaurant, full silence, and he gets to his feet and he makes a speech, an impromptu speech, right? And he says, "All right, I'd just like to thank everyone for coming." Told you he was a psychopathy, by the way. "Just like to thank everyone for coming. Now, I know that some of you have come just around the corner, and some of you have come from a little bit further afield, but I want you to know that you're all very welcome. It's very much appreciated. Oh, and then there's a pub across the road called the King's Arms, in which we'll be hosting a little drinks reception after this. It would be great to see you all there." At which point, he starts to clap. At which point, the entire restaurant starts to clap, right? So picture the scene, Jordan. All of a sudden we've gone to a restaurant full of people, never seen us before, right? Never seen each other before. All applauding wildly because none of them want to be seen as a gate crashes to the party, right? You know it works, don't you?
[00:37:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:59] Kevin Dutton: So anyway, as we are leaving, remember I was only about nine or 10. I can't resist it. So I said, "Dad, we we're not really going to the pub, are we?" And he puts his arm around and he says, "Of course not, son. But let me tell you something that a lot in the restaurant are. And my mate, Malcolm, he's just taken over his landlord of that pub. He'll make a lot of money tonight."
[00:38:15] Jordan Harbinger: Huh.
[00:38:16] Kevin Dutton: Now can you imagine? Ah, it's very shrewd, very cute, isn't it? But can you imagine how much money I would've to pay you to even dream about pulling a stunt like that. But that was the kind of charisma, persuasive kind of talent that he had. So that's another reason why these kinds of people are around still, because a lot of these kinds of characteristics, this charm, charisma, fearlessness, actually serve a purpose in society. It's when they all come together in a perfect storm of badness, that's when they hit the headline for all the wrong reason.
[00:38:54] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Kevin Dutton. We'll be right back.
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[00:41:16] Now for the rest of part one with Kevin Dutton.
[00:41:20] So you mentioned before that psychopaths are ruthless but not necessarily violent and that there's a spectrum of psychopathy. So is this kind of like the autism spectrum where some is very severe—
[00:41:31] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:41:31] Jordan Harbinger: —readily apparent and some is barely noticeable without testing.
[00:41:35] Kevin Dutton: You got it. Absolutely, bang on. The Wisdom of Psychopath, which the book is 10 years old now, mate, to be honest, but The Wisdom of Psychopaths was pretty much the first book to my knowledge, anyway, that kind of introduced this idea of a psychopathic spectrum. And I was actually inspired by the autistic, the aspergian spectrum that you just mentioned. People often ask me, actually, we might as well clear it up, what's the difference between people with autism and psychopathic personalities because both can appear cold and emotionless and lack empathy.
[00:42:08] Jordan Harbinger: I hadn't thought about that. The differences seem pretty apparent, but yeah, tell us.
[00:42:11] Kevin Dutton: Yeah. Well, without being flippant about it, the bottom line is that people with autism and who are high on the autistic spectrum basically don't get it, okay? So in psychological terms, they lack what's called a theory of mind, which is the ability to put themselves into the shoes of another person.
[00:42:29] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:42:29] Kevin Dutton: The ability to imagine what another person is feeling or thinking. So it's called a theory of mind. And generally speaking, people who are on the autistic spectrum lack that theory of mind. So the trite flippant but pretty accurate answer is people with autism don't get it. Psychopaths get it, they just don't give a sh*t. So psychopaths kind of are very good at putting themselves into the positions of someone else, but they just don't care about any pain they inflict.
[00:42:59] I always remember a very bad psychopath who I interviewed once who had killed a number of people and he said, "You know, you don't need to have color vision to see how a traffic light works. You just need to know which bits are lit up." And that's pretty chilling.
[00:43:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:16] Kevin Dutton: But that's actually a very accurate portrayal of how people who are very high on the psychopathic spectrum see the world and see other people. They don't see the color of the emotion. They just see which bits are lit up. And of course, that gives you a huge advantage when you're trying to persuade someone to do something or you have a great ability then to manipulate because you don't get caught up in the heat and light and the emotion of the argument. You can stand back very cold and dispassionately, almost like a psychological chess player and move people around like chess pieces on a board.
[00:43:48] So you're absolutely right. Psychopathy is on a spectrum like that. And yes, my thinking originally was based on the autistic spectrum and I thought, well, actually these days, that's the general approach now, I think, for a lot of clinicians and people that work in a mental health space. So rather than saying someone is anxious or depressed or whatever. Yeah, of course, at the higher ends of that, those kinds of, you can see. If you come into contact with a pure psychopath in everyday life, you are going to know that you're going to feel there's something strange about this person. It might be something to do with the eye contact or whatever, but actually, yeah, most mental health conditions or psychological disorders, however you want to put it, would be on a spectrum. So anxiety, yeah, we're all on an anxiety spectrum. Some people are, at the high end, are very, very anxious. They' might have generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety. And they may need clinical intervention to help that, but most of us kind of fluctuate and most of us as well, kind of can go up the high end at times and then revert back to average.
[00:44:55] So, that's pretty much the approach to mental health in general these days. We look at everything on a spectrum. And if you start putting people into it, as you sometimes have to, categorization of mental disorders as its use. Because, you know, sometimes you need to kind of put people into boxes to know what you're dealing with, but actually it can have its downsides. And in terms of looking at spectra, that's generally the way. That's pretty much the consensus at the moment, how it's going.
[00:45:25] Jordan Harbinger: This sounds like what you mean when you said in the book, psychopaths only understand the words but not the music of emotion. So this is like they—
[00:45:33] Kevin Dutton: That's right.
[00:45:34] Jordan Harbinger: —objectively understand that when somebody's pet dies, they're sad and they're going to look down and they're going to talk lower and they're going to not make eye contact. And they're like, okay, I can do that. When something sad happens.
[00:45:46] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:45:46] Jordan Harbinger: But they don't feel sad. They might not have any of those biological markers of somebody who's sad. Maybe their heart rate doesn't change, or whatever you would expect from a sa an actually sad person.
[00:45:57] Kevin Dutton: Well, it's really funny. You should mention the cat dying there and you know, because actually the guy who I wrote Good Psychopath's Guide to Success with Andy McNab, who's Ex-British Special Forces, very famous soldier over here. He's a psychopath. He came to my lab in the University of Cambridge a few years ago and I wired him up to all the kinds of machines and gave him the psychometrics and looked at what happened to his brain when I presented various images and all that kind of thing to him. And he passed all the gold standard tests of psychopathy, so he's, as I say, very high on the psychopathic spectrum. It came as no surprise to him and no surprise to me either. And he actually uses that example of, you know, people say, "My cat died," and he says, inside, I'm thinking, "Well, so what?"
[00:46:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:44] Kevin Dutton: "I don't particularly care." But these days, it's really interesting. He uses, he finds emoticons really helpful.
[00:46:52] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. Like he needs someone to go, "I'm sad."
[00:46:55] Kevin Dutton: Yeah.
[00:46:56] Jordan Harbinger: Frowning face.
[00:46:56] Kevin Dutton: Yeah. And emoticons has proved quite useful to him now he's a multimillionaire bestselling author. He's a great writer and has written accounts for experiences in Iraq and Special Forces, a career in Special Forces. So he's extremely eloquent and he's extremely intelligent, but actually he's found emoticons really helpful in processing other people's emotions.
[00:47:18] So when you said cat dying, it was really interesting because that's one of his examples. He actually says, "When people tell me their cat's dying and they're really sad, I'm thinking to myself," he said, "I'll go through emotions. I'll say, oh right, you know, whatever, but actually he says, you know, inside I'm thinking, well, so what?" And there's a funny story about Andy actually, which gives you another example of the dials turned up and down how you can sometimes when you're in the presence of someone who's very high on a psychopathic spectrum, you can get a vibe. And I'll always remember, this was a few years ago, in fact, when we were writing that book, Jordan, we went down, me and my my other half, my wife Elaine. We went down to see Andy and his wife at his house. We spent the weekend down there.
[00:47:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:59] Kevin Dutton: And over here in the UK we have a sport called rugby, which is kind of similar to American football. And we have a six nations rugby tournament every year, which is England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Italy. So, they'll play each other and we were going to go down to see the England-Wales game. So we went into this kind of gastro pub, which is like a posh kind of pub bar, which serves food. And the game was on at three o'clock in the afternoon, but the place had obviously opened quite early at 11. You know, Andy doesn't stand out in a crowd. He's not a really that big of a guy. He's in his mid 50s and there's four really big Welsh guys who are about 30, 35, all big leather jackets, all about, you know, 6'3", 6'4" leaning at the bar with pints of beer. And they'd obviously been drinking this beer. They'd obviously been in the pub since it opened. So we've arrived about two o'clock and they are well pissed, right? They are really, you know, kind of, as I say, they're very loud and they're swearing, they're effing and blinding, you know, f*ck this, whatever, you know, and that's fine. No, we're not prudes, but there's women and children around, right? So there's a time and a place. So Andy said to me, he said, right Kev, he said, you go and get the drinks and I'll go and get the food. Now you kinda have to envisage this, Jordan. The bar is kind of like, he serve food on one side and drinks on the other. So we had to split up.
[00:49:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:27] Kevin Dutton: But I'm not that far away from him. I'm about 10 foot away. 10 well, but probably a bit more, about 15, 20 foot away. So as I'm getting a drinks, he's gone round to the other side of the ball where these four guys are, and I could hear him and he said, very quiet. You know, he wasn't showing anyone up. He said, "Listen lads, listen guys, you know, I don't want to spoil your afternoon," but he said, "There's women and kids around. Do you mind just turning the volume down a little bit?" And one of the guys who was leaning on the bar, he kind of stood up. And he's kind of standing quite a bit taller than Andy. And I remember thinking, this is going to get really interesting. So I've kind of come round to Andy's side of the bar because I'm figuring out that one and a half against four is better than one against four, right?
[00:50:10] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:50:10] Kevin Dutton: So I've come round to Andy's side and I'll never forget this, Jordan. And this is a real lesson in yoiu psychopaths operate. As soon as the guy stood up, he kind of lean forward and he put his hand, if you're in front of me, I'd do it, he'd put his hand very gently on the guy's forearm and he said, "Okay." He said, "Okay." Again, show is starting, not to show anyone up. He said, "I'll tell you what's going to happen." And he pointed over to the side and about, you know, four or five meters away, it was the door. And he said, "What's going to happen is this, you, you, you, and you—" He didn't point at them because in Special Forces in the UK you use an open hand.
[00:50:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:44] Kevin Dutton: Okay, if you point at someone, it's very, very confrontational in Special Forces and you could easily just get a punch in a face. So, it's so an old habit, you use an open hand. And he said, "What's going to happen is you, you, you, and you. You're all going to put your drinks down and you're going to walk through that door and you're going to remain on the opposite side of it for the duration of the game." And this was the key, his eyes, there was something in his eyes that just went and they went glacially cold. And he said, "Because if you don't, I'm going to introduce you to a level of physical violence you never knew f*cking existed." I'm going to actually tell you the truth. There was a moment of quiet reflection, and all of these four guys, no word of a lie, Jordan, they put their drinks down and they walked out. But here's the key.
[00:51:30] And he then turned to me and he said, "All right, Kev, what was it? It was three burgers and a pizza. Was that what it was?" It was literally just like hot tap gun on and, or cold tap rather going on and off. Whereas if that had been like a normal guy—
[00:51:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:45] Kevin Dutton: —he would've been still flustered, it'd been shaking. It had been red face, but it was a switch that went on and off.
[00:51:50] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:51:51] Kevin Dutton: And it's really interesting. So, in fact, me and him, we're going to do a study on that because obviously I was fascinated to know whether you actually really needed to be able to dismantle all those guys, or whether it's possible to fake it.
[00:52:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:52:05] Kevin Dutton: And still have that kind of, you know, like we were saying, the head of a pack animals is the one that can convince guys not to fight.
[00:52:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:52:14] Kevin Dutton: I've got no doubt whatsoever that Andy as a trained killer in Special Forces. He would have been able to dismantle those guys where they stood.
[00:52:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:52:21] Kevin Dutton: But I was wondering, well, can any of us do this. I'm not sure of the answer. I think probably you do have to do it, but what happened was we were going to run a study with an acting college over here in the UK, we were going to get method actors to method act their way into a psychopathic mindset. And then, you know, give them various tasks to do. I won't give too much away now, because we're still going to do that study. COVID got in the way unfortunately as it did in many things. Ask me in a year's time, mate and I'll be able to tell you the answer whether we're able to fake that or whether you do need to be the genuine article.
[00:52:56] Jordan Harbinger: It just seems like a really dangerous thing to fake if you can't defend yourself against these four guys, because defending yourself against for anybody is going to be hard. Four big drunk dudes is really hard, even for a trained killer. So you have to have some way that you think, "I'm going to be able to finish this if I start it."
[00:53:13] Kevin Dutton: Well, absolutely. It's a bit like poker. It's a bit like going all-in in poker and then someone says, "I'll see you," and you got nothing.
[00:53:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:53:20] Kevin Dutton: I mean, that's pretty embarrassing really, isn't it? Every time you say something then people are going to see you all the time. You're a busted flush, you know? So, you're absolutely right. I think you need the genuine, deeply ingrained confidence to know that you could do it, because I think that there is, that's what comes out. There's a vibe that comes out. Interestingly, the eyes is something which I've seen and it's documented in the psychopathy literature when I said Andy's eyes went ice cold and glacial, you do see that in psychopaths. And it's very interesting that you get the Hollywood depiction of the cold-blooded staring eyes of a killer. And that's something.
[00:54:03] I mean, Hollywood obviously, in their portrayal as psychopaths over the years can sometimes be pretty gratuitous and caricature, but that's something that there is quite an element of truth in. But there's a reason for that. Psychopaths appear to have staring eyes, but they don't really. And the reason for that is because we were talking earlier about psychopaths having the anxiety dials turned down, so they're not as anxious as the rest of us. Now, the rate at which we blink. Is an index of how anxious we are, right? So if you are blinking a lot, then you actually a lot of the time, you're going to be anxious. And the famous case was I think it was Bill Clinton, when he was on television denying the Monica Lewinsky affair. I think his blink rate went up something like 300 percent, obviously, because he was fabricating. And why does it go up? Obviously, because when you're telling a lie, you're more anxious about being found out and so you're going to be blinking more, right? It's almost like, I'm going back to poker. It's almost like a tell, right? But because psychopaths aren't anxious, they're not going to blink as much as the rest of us.
[00:55:03] So psychopaths generally tend to blink a little bit, I don't know, two or three to three or four times less in the course of a minute. I don't know what the exact figure is than normal people. And of course, that gives the impression if say, if you are talking to someone, they're not blinking as much, it gives the impression of staring eyes.
[00:55:21] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:55:21] Kevin Dutton: So there you go. Hollywood, there is something behind the Hollywood stereotype of the psychopath with staring eyes.
[00:55:29] Jordan Harbinger: We've got a preview trailer of our interview with Dr. James Fallon on how psychopath brains function differently from the rest of us and why psychopaths thrive in modern society.
[00:55:40] James Fallon: I'm a neuroscientist since about 1989. I've studied the brain imaging scans of killers, serial killers, really bad murders and usually did one or two a year for many years. And then in 2005, 2006, I got set a ton of them and I analyzed them. I said, "Oh my god, there's a pattern." So I saw this pattern that nobody had ever described, but at the same time, we were doing a clinical study on the genetics of Alzheimer's disease, and we had all the Alzheimer's patients we needed, so we needed normals, just normal controls.
[00:56:11] And so I asked my family, that was kind of my first mistake. I said, "Look, guys, you want to all get in?" I have my brothers, my wife. I said, "We'll test you." And the idea being that on my side of the family there was no Alzheimer's at all. So we did it and the two technicians walked into my office. On my right side, I piled all these murderers, brain scans, and they handed me, a pile of my family scans and they were covered up. So I couldn't see the names. And so I went through, I went through one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. I was really relieved that they looked at the first pass normal.
[00:56:44] And then I got to the last scan and it looked at it. I said, "Okay." They said, "This is very funny. You kid around with each other, right?" And I said, "Okay, you switched it. You took one of the worst psychopaths from this pile of murders and you switched it into my family. Ha-ha-ha." And they go, "No, it's no, it's part of your family." I said, "You got to be kidding." I said, "This guy shouldn't be walking around in open societies. He's probably a very dangerous person." So I had to tear back the covering on the name of it, and there was my name.
[00:57:16] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Dr. James Fallon, including how to spot a psychopath in the wild, check out episode 28 here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:57:26] That's it for part one, part two in a couple days. Transcripts in the show notes, videos on YouTube, advertisers deals, discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I said it once, but I'll say it again. Consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. I love hearing from you wherever you may be.
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[00:58:09] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's interested in psychopaths, maybe somebody who thinks they're a psychopath, or somebody who you definitely know is a psychopath, share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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