The DC movie Joker has reached an epic milestone. The new story of the iconic supervillain in Batman has been doing so well that it has become the most profitable comic book movie ever made, announced by Forbes. I myself just went out of cinema less than 24 hours ago and I still can’t forget about that “psychopath” image.
Relax, there is no spoiler here. It’s just the popularity of the movie arouse people’s attention to psychopath more than ever. Of course, we don’t want one for a colleague, a friend or a spouse. And we definitely don’t want one in our inner heart. But how can we tell?
The diagnostic criteria for psychopathy
Back to 1970s, Robert Hare, researcher in the field of criminal psychology, developed a Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) to test psychopathy. Since then, the criteria have been used to assess whether an individual has signs of a psychopath.
Scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 40. 0 suggests that one has no tendencies to become psychopathic, while 30 or over suggests that one is likely to be psychopathic and needs further assessment. Many criminals score between 22 and 30, which implies that people may all experience some traits of psychopathy.
It should be clear that experiencing some traits doesn’t mean one is a psychopath. Besides, not all psychopaths are criminals. In fact, many people who have a high PCL-R score are successful professionals instead of serial killers.
So, how can we tell if someone is or not?
Characteristic of a psychopath
The first characteristic is superficial charm. Although this may seem to be a positive characteristic, such kind of charm is based on desire for luring and manipulating people instead of sincere affection.
The second characteristic is a sense of self-worth. Again, this may seem to be a good quality. But when psychopaths show off their self-worth, they are likely to belittle people around them. So, be careful with narcissists.
Other characteristics include not feeling guilt, being indifferent, and having casual sex. Long story short, psychopaths may be more likely to take risks and less likely to feel or fear.
Behind the success of the movie Joker, there is not only a nemesis story, but also a cautionary tale. We should know more about psychopaths and thus protect ourselves.