Study: 1 in 25 Business Leaders May Be Psychopaths

Well this isn’t surprising to me at least, although I would think it may be a higher rate than 1 in 25. Although I suspect there may be a whole lot of other issues from narcissistic personality disorder to superiority complexes that are also very prevalent in the upper echelon of any company. The disturbing fact is that capitalism and the ensuing corporate order rewards psychopathic behavior. … ychopaths/

"Study: 1 in 25 Business Leaders May Be Psychopaths
By Maia Szalavitz Tuesday, September 20, 2011 |

One in 25 bosses may be psychopaths — a rate that’s four times greater than in the general population — according to research by psychologist and executive coach Paul Babiak.

Babiak studied 203 American corporate professionals who had been chosen by their companies to participate in a management training program. He evaluated their psychopathic traits using a version of the standard psychopathy checklist developed by Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Psychopaths, who are characterized by being completely amoral and concerned only with their own power and selfish pleasures, may be overrepresented in the business environment because it plays to their strengths. Where greed is considered good and profitmaking is the most important value, psychopaths can thrive.

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They also tend to be charming and manipulative — and in corporate America, that easily passes for leadership. But, as the U.K.'s Guardian reported:

The survey suggests psychopaths are actually poor managerial performers but are adept at climbing the corporate ladder because they can cover up their weaknesses by subtly charming superiors and subordinates. This makes it almost impossible to distinguish between a genuinely talented team leader and a psychopath, Babiak said.

In fact, it can be hard spot the psychopath in any crowd (according to Hare, psychopaths make up 1% of the general population). They’re not all ruthless serial killers; rather, psychopaths who grow up in happy, loving homes might end up channeling their energies in a less violent way — say, by becoming a CEO. “Psychopaths really aren’t the kind of person you think they are,” Babiak said.

Maia Szalavitz is a health writer at

Read more: … z1Z4HRDK8R"

They should find out what percentage of politicians are psychopaths. Bet it’d be comparable, probably higher.

its what happens when youre smarter than average, but not smart enough to realize youre a moron

I don’t think its a matter of being a moron or not, its a matter of having certain extreme values. Psychopaths generally being more intelligent and willing to take greater risks to achieve their values, which are typically only beneficial to them and not others. These values being extreme in nature, themselves, such as satisfying their appetite for greed and generally harming other people for their own pleasure. This isn’t necessarily moronic, but it can be very risky. I think they know this.

Spending your life in pursuit of aimless bullshit- is moronic. The politicians thing fits right into there nicely.

They can only define themselves by how others perceive them and their influence on others.They have no intrinsic self-worth, dignity or value. they are voluntary puppets

To each their own, politicians certainly get a lot of perks. How is that aimless? Does it not benefit them?

depends on the context. I dont imagine the politicians during the roman french and russian revolutions got too many benefits for instance

Two things are dependent: Did they sign up before or after the revolution? Remember great risks are taken to obtain their desires. Also were they actually psychopathic? I am interested in an analysis on how psychopaths are not intelligent enough to obtain their goals, but your responses aren’t doing it for me.

I am talking about the ones who got revolted on

If you mean psychopathic as in obsessed with their own power and wealth, lack of empathy, compassion, etc. I don’t see any reasons why they wouldn’t be. Exceptions would be people who inherited positions of power or wealth due to birth or connections, but are too dumb to really understand anything of that complexity. Kind of like G. Dubya Bush.

When did I say that?

Yes those who got revolted on and those serial killers and such all got “caught” but that doesn’t mean they were moronic. As I stated I think they were or could have been well aware of the risks, as we know psychopaths pursue their goals relentlessly, even if it means their own doom - and that is their prerogative, not a condition of being moronic. I don’t think G. Bush was necessarily psychopathic either, I think any claims of his psychopathy though could have in fact ulterior reasons behind it to show that he wasn’t necessarily psychopathic. Lets just agree to disagree because there was no clear evidence on that that could determine with such ardor, of say, of when we compare Bush’s traits to a clearer psychopath of say, Hitler. But I think that would be a different topic all together.

Anyways, your quote here “Spending your life in pursuit of aimless bullshit- is moronic.” implies that psychopaths are aimless, or if not, they are not pursuing their goals intelligently, if they do have them. Thus my response.

That was in relation to the fact that they got revolted on, and that they didn’t have too much fun getting strung up and guillotined and what not; not that they were moronic.

I doubt Hitler was a psychopath. He seemed too idealistic to exhibit psychopathic tendencies. Generally the dictators and tyrants that arise from revolutions are not psychopathic. Guys like Alexander, Napoleon and Caesar viewed politics as a creative process. The psychopath is just an existential vacuum with no real visionary potential.

Bush was obviously idealistic. I don’t know why you think idealism even matters towards being a psychopath though, ideology really has nothing to do with it.

So how did they figure they were psychopaths. Did the COEs admit it? That is very anti-psychopathic. :stuck_out_tongue:

The results are a bit surprising since business executives tend to have higher than average emotional intelligence also.

If you mean G.W. Bush, yes. Unfortunately he was also a moron, with congruently moronic ideologies

Because psychopaths aren’t idealistic. They are incapable of comprehending concepts beyond their own personal gratification. Including the self and anything outside of the self. They are only gratified and defined by how others react to them

How do you know they aren’t idealistic? Administering a successful ideology is a way for a psychopathic leader to be rewarded with praise and dominance.

As stated in the article:
“Babiak studied 203 American corporate professionals who had been chosen by their companies to participate in a management training program. He evaluated their psychopathic traits using a version of the standard psychopathy checklist developed by Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy at the University of British Columbia in Canada.”

This thread is just another example of the horrible stigma that psychopaths face in today’s society.

Unironically, stigma is actually a major problem with personality disorders.

Yes. My sly point is that this thread has a “Look how bad businessmen are” overtone. Where’s the sympathy for the mentally ill?

It isn’t about the businessmen themselves so much as it is a question about the structure of our society. We clearly reward antisocial behavior in business, so much so that people suffering from rather stark personality disorders appear to have a clear advantage. Is that the kind of society we want to live in: one where our normative mental health values are in direct opposition to success in society?