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The Representation Of Psychopath's in the Meda

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rebecca telling

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of The Representation Of Psychopath's in the Meda

The Representation Of Psychopath's in the Meda
What is a Psychopath?
Class exercise
Clinical Definition Definition
Psychopathic Traits
Lack of empathy
Emotional Detachment
A person suffering from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior
“Being psychopathic doesn't necessarily mean that you're a serial killer – or even that you'll break the law. Actually, within the framework of clinical psychology, a psychopath is someone with a distinct cluster of personality traits including ruthlessness, fearlessness, narcissism, charm, charisma, impulsivity, persuasiveness, manipulativeness and a lack of conscience and empathy.” Kevin Dutton
The word, which comes from the Greek, translates, literally, to mind (psyche) disease (pathos), and, has often been interchanged with another term, sociopath, however, those with these antisocial disorders are very different individuals.
Fielding, 2012
History of Psychopaths
Psychopath's in the Media
The word 'psychopath' is constantly used in the mainstream media but very rarely do publications give details as to what it actually means.
This presentation is going to be exploring what it means to be a psychopath though different media platforms.
Firstly, we will be looking at film too add history and context and then discussing modern day representations.
In the 1800's doctors who worked with mental patients began to notice that some of their patients seemed to have no sense of ethics or the rights of other people.
The term 'psychopath' was applied to these people in around 1900
Primary Psychopath-genetically born this way
Secondary- a product of their environment
Hervey Cleckly was the first person to define and and describe the condition in detail in 1941
Psychopathy Checklist Revised was developed by Robert Hare has detailed criteria and traits of the illness

Dutton, K.
Clerkley, Hervey. The Mask of Sanity
Ramsland, K. The Childhood Psychopath: Bad seed or Bad Parents? http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/psychology/psychopath/2.html

Case Study: The Sun Newspaper
Real Life
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho' presents the classic portrayal of a
Over 50 years ago, Alfred Hitchcock released this horror which depicted Norman Bates, a motel owner who notoriously murders one of his guests in the shower in one
of Hollywood's most famous horror

Wayne Wilson in his book 'The
Psychopath in Film' suggests that the
traits of a psychopath are often
exaggerated and demonised for the
purpose of entertainment.

American Psycho
Case Study: The Sun Newspaper
This shocking article was published in October of last year. Articles such as this one shape the public opinion of mental health.

While the film is given the title Pyscho, Norman is actually thought by the psychiatrist in the film to have a split personality. Which is also the diagnosis that would be given today of Dissociative Identity Disorder using the DSM. The title is misleading and has led to a misrepresentation of psychopaths after this film then spurred more psychopath films over the years.
“DID is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-VI-TR) as at least two additional identities in addition to the presence of significant amnesia, denying the person any recollection of their alters’ actions.” Marianne Cezza.
“Popular references to Psycho address Norman Bates as a “Psychopathic Killer.” Now, does she/he fit the Psychopathic Checklist? Norman seems guided more by the false beliefs of a psychotic – someone who exhibits delusions of persecution and sexual identity-- than as someone driven by cold, calculating manipulations of a psychopath.” - Wayne Wilson, The Psychopath In Film.
One of the most notorious media psychopaths, he shows many psychopathic traits: Manipulativeness, superficial charm, lack of remorse and lack of empathy for his cannibalistic crimes as a serial killer. He is narcissistic, another psychopathic trait and he toys with his prey.
However, Hannibal is misrepresented as a psychopath, he is described by his keeper as a “pure psychopath” but in the novel Red Dragon, Hannibal is stated to not to fit any psychological profile, but his keeper Dr Chilton brands him a 'socio-path'. He is seen as being super intelligent and begins to warm to Clarice, traits that a psychopath is deemed incapable of. Studies have shown that many psychopaths lack high intelligence and cannot love others which is why they lack remorse and empathy.
“Portrayals that focus on grotesque and sadistic killers such as Lecter gave the public a distorted view of the disorder. In most instances, it is egocentricity, whim, and the promise of instant gratification for more commonplace needs, not the drooling satisfaction of bizarre power trips and sexual hungers, that motivate the psychopath to break the law.” (Hare, 1993, p. 74).
Top Careers for Psychopaths
The majority of psychopaths are, as it has been said, not moustache-twirling serial killers, but are, at least on the surface, seemingly “normal” people working in the white-collar world.[3] With so many Hollywood films and TV shows misrepresenting and sensationalizing psychopathy, it is no wonder that the general public simply labels anyone who acts in a violent manner as crazy or, more commonly, psycho. (Julien R Fielding 2012)
Channel 4 PsychopathNight
“Psychopaths, a ruthless breed who can lie, manipulate and even murder without no hint of consciousness or remorse But the truth is there may be one in your office, there is probably one on your street. They are all around us often in positions of power. And they are notoriously hard to identify. Tonight with the help of leading experts we will attempt to unravel the mystery of this fascinating minority in our midst. We'll meet real psychopathic killers, we'll reveal the star of the England football team who is prepared to come out as high on the psychopathic spectrum. And we'll teach you how to spot a psychopath, the same way the FBI. trains its agents, by using the movies. We'll be counting down the top ten screened psychos, we'll show you everything you ever wanted to know about psychopaths and perhaps a few things you didn't. So no hiding behind the sofa, let the movie countdown begin.” http://www.channel4.com/programmes/psychopath-night/4od
Real Life Psychopath's
Professor Kevin Dutton carried out work with biographers on famous figures to list any psychopathic traits they may have. Each famous face listed below was given a percentage out of 100 for psychopathic traits used by the Psychopath Personality Inventory (PPI) which include:
Emotional Detachment
Coolness Under Pressure
Charles Dickens, Scored 73% with high scores on Fearlessness and Coolness Under Pressure.
Adolf Hitler, scored 69% with high scores in Narcissism and Emotional Detatchment.
Winston Churchill, scored 66% with high scores in Fearlessness and Coolness under pressure
Oscar Wilde scored 71% with high scores in Rebelliousness and Coolness Under Pressure.
The Wisdom of Psychopaths - Lessons in Life from Saints, Spies and Serial Killers written by psychologist, Kevin Dutton.
In his book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths - Lessons in Life from Saints, Spies and Serial Killers, Kevin Dutton explores psychopathy and highlights the positive side to being a psychopath. He includes an experiment, “How To Make A Psychopath” to show his audience what it is like to be one. His book gives a positive light on psychopathy and breaks the public view of them as dangerous serial killers.
“No sooner is the word out than images of murderers, rapists, suicide bombers and gangsters flash across our minds. But unlike their box-office counterparts, not all psychopaths are violent, or even criminal. Far from it....In fact, psychopaths have a lot of good things going for them. They are fearless, confident, charismatic, ruthless and focused - qualities tailor-made for success in twenty-first century society” - Kevin Dutton
Sales Person
Police Officer
Civil Servant
Kevin Dutton's Careers with Highest Psychopathic Rates
Are you a psychopath?
Please could you all open this link:


The Guardian newspaper conducted a study in regards to the article published in The Sun to try to understand pub opinion
• 1 in 5 said "anyone with a history of mental problems should be excluded from taking public office".
• 1 in 10 said "it is frightening to think of people with mental problems living in residential neighbourhoods".
• 1 in 10 said "A woman would be foolish to marry a man who has suffered from mental illness, even though he seems fully recovered"
The article makes it seem as if there has been a mass of killings but the figure was actually taken from a over a decade. (2001-2010)
It provoked a massive response from readers, mostly negative

A study conducted by Forbes, a top American
business magazine, found a
strong link between psychopathic
behavior traits and top careers.

Forbes suggest that to reach management levels in a person is often;charismatic, charming, and adept at manipulating one-on-one interactions. These are also indications of psychopathic behavior.

It has been indicated that 1% of the public show psychopathic signs whereas a study that was conducted in 2003 would suggest that 3% of people with management roles show these same signs. In comparison to this the rates of diagnostics in prisons are round 15%.
Nature VS Nurture
Kevin Dutton uses the controversial example when describing the nature versus nurture debate- if you were in a room with a baby Adolf Hitler what would you do if you were to know what he would become?
This study found two responses, one being kill the baby to stop the future suffering of millions of the second being nurture and bring up the baby decently hoping that the baby would grow into a decent person.
Dr David Lykke found that psychopaths are set apart and are very different to the average person. He identifies that a child's upbringing can affect the way that they behave and therefore think-this is sociopathic behavior.
Some brain studies suggest that psychopaths have abnormal brain activities. They make certain connections more slowly than other children, show less fear of punishment, and seem to need to do things that excite their nervous system, such as thrill-seeking behaviors.
The article is very misleading in many ways. The words 'mental patients' are used in the title, by this they mean anybody who has been treated for any kind of mental illness, even minor depression or anxiety.

Effects of Negative Representation
The films that we have discussed so far show a very extreme and negative portrayal of a psychopath. It has been argued that this negative representation could be affecting the treatment and recovery of these people.

A study conducted by Matthew Burnett conducted an analysis of a wide range of media including newspaper articles on crime to gossip columns that all contained the word 'psychopath.'

He wanted to find how these representations shaped the public's attitudes and behaviors towards them.

He states: "Newspapers offer a very dramatic and emotionally loaded representation of the psychopath that isn't necessarily consistent in all ways with what we actually know of the disorder,"
Ted Bundy
Link to Audio: http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=dexter-talks-psychopath-stress-mana-13-01-08
Another popular film that represents a psychopath, is 'American Psycho'. Patrick Bateman, the villian, shows many traits of a psychopath . He is a successful, charismatic and well dressed individual who endears the audience into liking him. He thinks of himself highly and spends a lot of time on his body image. He is a prospering businessman who uses his charm to lure in his victims into his secret life, where he brutally attacks and is sexually violent. Patrick Bateman is a popular character for analysis in the psychology world, he is typically diagnosed as an archetypal psychopath but also borders on the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
"A successful psychopath is someone who fits the criteria of a psychopath, but is largely successful in their exploitations and so is able to avoid getting caught." - Mielissa Burkely
Charming, secretive and showed early signs of psychopathy when murdering animals as a child. Many psychopathic tendancies, however he is strangely attached to his family, something that isnt often a psychopathic trait. This is why he is considered a successful psychopath. Recent studies from the Netherlands have shown that psychopaths have an empathy switch and are capable of showing empathy towards some and not others.

”Dexter is a fascinating contradiction: He is a cold-blooded killer and a warm-hearted father; an emotionally cold vigilante and a caring friend and brother; a violent assassin and a defender of innocence and justice.” Melissa Burkely, P.H.D Pysyology blogger

Ian Brady, also known as 'the moors murderer
is arguably the most famous psychopath in the
Hare's psychopathic traits list describes how a
psychopath often views their victim as their
possession. It is not uncommon that they will
not reveal everything about a murder they have
committed. This is apparent for Brady who
never revealed the location of where one of his
victims, 12 year old Keith Bennett.
He admitted in 2012 that he faked his insanity
so that he could serve his sentence in Ashworth
Mental Institution rather than prison. This clever
and manipulative behavior is classic of Hare's
Ted Bundy is often noted as the worst serial killer America has even seen. He was executed in 1989 by electric chair after he confessed to the killing of 30 women across America. It is thought that he could of murdered at least double this number.

He was a charming and good looking man which helped to lure in his victims so he could kidnap, rape and brutally murder his victims.

He would then visit the site where he buried his various victims to perform necrophiliac acts.
He also decapitated many of his victims and kept their heads in his home as trophies. Another psychopathic trait of seeing their victims as their possessions
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