FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are common questions that are directed toward members of our Society by the public.  Please contact us if you have a question that is not already addressed here.

If you have a question that is related to being a student (e.g., how to apply to grad school, internship, publishing, presentations; a post noting that you are seeking a post-doc or certain research training), you might want to check out this link.

 

I have just found out about this society. Unfortunately there is no information on here when this society has been established. If you could let me know that would be appreciated.

 

We did in fact have our first meeting as the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy in Vancouver, Canada in 2005. The society sprang out of a meeting that was organized in Madison, Wisconsin (I believe with funds provided by David Weiner) that gave us all a chance to meet and dialog about psychopathy per se, rather than as part of another society's meeting.

Until then, it seemed like the American Psychology-Law Society and Society for Research in Psychopathology were two conferences most amenable to psychopathy gatherings, though the Society for Psychophysiological Research also has a venerable history of hosting psychopathy researchers.

 

A number of years ago, I made the acquaintance of a chap online. A colorful fellow. Never less than interesting to keep a fair-weather-eye on. After a period of some 3 years I finally came to realise, in all probability, the man in question is most likely Psychopathic. If I understand correctly - your Society study's Psychopathy. I believe I very possibly may have an actually live one that could certainly do with someone giving him the once over, at least. Would this [be] of interest to your Society in anyway?

 

Thanks for contacting us about your interest. Although many of the members of SSSP are interested in the impact of psychopathy on individuals, they generally (just as researchers in medicine do) examine this question using large groups of individuals, which allow them to draw meaningful generalizations as researchers. While some of us do conduct assessments and evaluations of individuals (using standardized measures of psychopathy) for clinical purposes, members are not actively seeking case study opportunities. There isn't much we can typically conclude from a single case study.

 

I'm desperately seeking advice/assistance in figuring out how to deal with my sister. For purposes of keeping this email as short as possible, if you would please humour me ie believe me when I say she is psychopathic...

 

Of course, we can't say whether you are right or not, but if you are interested in connecting with others who have been affected by people they believe to have psychopathic traits, then you might check out the website Aftermath. This can be very helpful. Also, if you are really concerned about your sister and you feel her behavior is highly problematic, you could recommend to her that she see a well qualified professional who could conduct an evaluation of her using standardized measures of psychopathy and similar conditions. In your case, an evaluation may not be necessary since knowing a diagnosis will not get rid of your distress. In such a case, seeking support from friends or professionals (e.g., legal, mental health) may be recommended if you think that's necessary.

 

First off i want to help with the research you are doing for my own gain. i believe that through study we can learn not how to "treat" psychopathy but that it is an advantageous trait. i am a psychopath and am as i would guess many of us are aware of this fact. i how ever do not view this as a negative and want to help research into my condition to de-monstronize public opinion of us.

 

It seems that many of the traits associated with psychopathy are present, to some degree, in the general population. So it is possible that some of these traits, like adventurousness, might be useful for certain people. We at SSSP are primarily conducting research on the origins and treatment of psychopathy. Though public opinion is difficult to change, we are also attempting to disseminate a more thorough and accurate understanding of psychopathy.
Regarding your offer to help, as researchers, we do not typically study isolated individuals, and as a Society we do not host research projects on a single person. Nevertheless, if you live near a major psychology department or medical school, you might (depending on the interests of the investigators there) be able to volunteer for one or more research studies relevant to psychopathy.

 

I suppose like most people I had heard of an even used the word psychopath(y) without ever understanding what it actually means. Recently I was curious and decided to find out, I was blown away it was like reading exactly what my life was like. I Constantly steal from people, manipulate my friends for personal gain, I Lie about the most mundane things (Ex how I slept or what I ate). I am recklessly impulsive and always get into large debts only to steal the money from my friends and family, and then deny it. When I was younger I used to throw cats around and entertained the idea of suicide. As a person I enjoy life and consider my self to be a reasonably happy person, however this possible diagnosis of psychopathy has puzzled me to know end. So I have a few questions to ask of you Am I a psychopath? If I am psychopath could I ever have an actual deep relationship with a lover? (fall in love etc) Do you think that psychopathy is bad or just different?

 

Thank you for your message and inquiry. You should understand that psychopathy is a research-based determination rather than a formal psychiatric diagnosis. Moreover, as you can probably imagine, one cannot make such a determination (for both ethical and scientific reasons) over a brief email consultation. Nevertheless, if you are concerned about your past or current behaviors, we would encourage you to contact a qualified mental health professional who can conduct a more systematic evaluation of psychopathic traits and traits of other pertinent conditions. With respect to your final question, as scientists we tend to avoid value judgments. Certainly, there are aspects of psychopathy than can contribute to immoral and problematic behaviors (such as lying and stealing); but other aspects of psychopathy might be linked to certain adaptive outcomes (such as better leadership). Indeed, this possibility is currently being investigated by some members of our society.

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