New study from the University of Hong Kong suggests that psychopaths are not natural born liars, but have just highly refined their skill.
Psychopaths have a personality disorder that is difficult to identify. A psychopath often appears normal but underneath is a manipulative and often violent individual lacking empathy and guilt. Lying for a Psychopath is, therefore, an easy task. People with psychopathic tendencies are often violent and criminal (though not all criminals are psychopaths) with deep feelings of superiority. Previously, the trait was often identified in criminal offenders but is increasingly being observed in the general population including people with highly successful lives.
According to Newsweek, previous research has identified psychopaths as natural liars. By this logic, the key to identifying psychopaths would be in their ability to lie with practice instead of their body language when lying. However, in a recent research by a group from the University of Hong Kong has identified psychopaths as just better liars who have learned how to improve their skill. An interesting finding was that these individuals tend to be delusional - which means they often believe their own lies.
In their study, the researchers analyzed a group of 52 students on their ability to lie. The sample was collected from a group of volunteers. 23 of the students had low psychopathic traits while the rest had high levels. The study involved photographs with which the participants were both familiar and unfamiliar. The participants were asked to lie in the study on whether they recognized the person on the photograph or not, and the test was repeated. The findings obtained by measuring the time taken to respond showed that those with higher scores lied much faster than their low-scoring counterparts. The speed for those with non-psychopathic tendencies remained relatively the same throughout the study period. From the findings, the researchers concluded that individuals with high psychopathic behaviors tend to lie faster with practice unlike those with low psychopathic traits. According to the research, the causes for a psychopathic lie may be due to many factors including the neural links in their brains.
The research, however, analyzed a small group of individuals which may compromise its application to the general larger population. Nonetheless, the study proves that psychopaths are not necessarily natural learners, but have perfected their skill.
- By Benjamin Elisha Sawe