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The truth about the question that only psychopaths can answer correctly

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Photo by Phil Bray/MGM Pictures/Universal Pictures/Dino DeLaurentiis

It seems clear from the resurgence of the 'sympathetic psychopath' trope in popular culture (see Walter White from Breaking Bad and Dexter in the television show of the same name) that as a society, we seem to be simultaneously disturbed and fascinated by degeneracy.

There is also an insatiable interest related to identification. The following "test" - which can apparently determine if someone is a psychopath - is particular popular on the internet.

It goes something like this:

This is a genuine psychological test. It is a story about a girl.

While at the funeral of her own mother, she met a guy whom she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy she believed him to be, that she fell in love with him then and there. A few days later, the girl killed her own sister.

What is her motive in killing her sister?

The answer a so-called psychopath might use, according to this "test", is:

She was hoping that the guy would appear at the funeral again.

According to the test, if you got it right, then you're a psychopath.

Null Photo: Youtube, convicted serial killer Ted Bundy

The test reads more like a Facebook viral message than a scientific marker for psychopathy. Many have questioned its reliability and it's been debunked a number of times.

But clinical psychologist and author of the book Character Disturbance Dr George Simon did not discount it completely, and told indy100:

The so-called "test" making the rounds on the internet is relatively worthless, although it has some elements of relevancy.

So is there a way to determine if someone is a psychopath? Dr Simon explained:

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised is a checklist of items that clinicians who are specially trained and certified to glean facts from a person's behavioral history that load on the scale and there is a cut-toff score above which folks have to score to be considered likely psychopaths.

The core of psychopathy is empathy capacity deficiency so extreme that it leads to a callous, sensesless, and remorseless use and abuse of others.

It is in essence the most 'malignant' form of narcissism.

He asserts that psychopathy must be viewed as a spectrum rather than an absolute.

These pathologies exist along a spectrum, and full-blown psychopahty is still a relatively rare phenomenon, although various degrees and manifestations of narcissism are certainly increasingly more common.

In short: there is no 'one question' that only psychopaths can answer correctly.


More: It just got even harder to identify a psychopath

More: How empathetic are you? Take this quiz to find out

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