Teresa Lukey's Reviews > The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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Jun 01, 12

bookshelves: 4-stars, audiobook, i-learned-something, must-share-with-friends
Recommended for: those interested in psychology, mental disorder, or a general desire to educate thyself
Read from May 02 to 04, 2012

Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffery Dahmner, Joseph Vacher.... These names evoke reports of repulsive crimes the normal person would never imagine taking part in, but these people are different. These people are all missing something that allows them to experience empathy and likely find some level of excitement in the morbid. These people are all a specific type of psychopath that cannot be "fixed". Statistics indicate that 1 in 100 are Psychopaths and that number goes up as high as 4 to 5 in 100 in more powerful positions, which include politicians, CEO's, etc.

The Psychopath Test is a look in to the madness industry. The author briefly touches on Bi-polar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder, but the primary focus is on Psychopathy. Ronson is little bit of a quirky fellow and stops to ponder his own anxiety disorder as he investigates this industry. We are presented with the tools used to determine if a person is a psychopath and given a list of the most identifiable traits. We also learn how some of the tests developed to determine metal disorder are rather subjective and ways in which these methods have been misused. As far as Psychopathy goes, it seems there a couple of rather sure fire methods that can be used to determine if a person is the type of Psychopath that is likely to commit a violent crime, including genetic testing and certain types of startle tests in conjunction with the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. I found this link regarding a research group out of Finland that would like to test know psychopaths for a specific identifier in the genetic material that is an indicator of psychotic tendencies.

Ronson takes us to hospitals that house these types and gives a broad view of therapies used for psychopaths who have been convicted of a crime. I found it extremely disturbing that Psychopaths who were put through programs to help them learn empathy, were more likely to reoffend. Apparently Psychopaths who do not go through this program and are released have a 60% reoffend rate and the Psychopaths who did go through this program have an 80% reoffend rate. Why you ask? Well, they are manipulative and use what their taught to further manipulative in order to fulfill their personal desires or experiments.

The author really does look at mental disorder from several different sides and this book is quite thought provoking. One piece I was particularly surprised by was the fact that Scientologists do not believe in psychology-uh, okay...this L. Ron Hubbard guy is one interesting cat, no doubt about it. I have come to one, VERY concrete, conclusion regarding Psychopaths: if there is no way to "fix" these violent Psychopaths, then there is no reason for them to ever be roaming about in the normal population. That is unfortunate, but there seems to be no way around it. Really-an island all to themselves may be appropriate in this case.

This is an interesting look as psychopaths that you may find creepy and shocking, but it will surely keep you interest.
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Reading Progress

05/02/2012
40.0% "Approximately 1 in 100 are psychopath's. No know therapies to eliminate the problem. SCARY AS SH*T!" 2 comments
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message 1: by Will (new) - added it

Will Byrnes Sounds fascinating, Teresa. Anyone would have to be crazy not to want to read this.

Have you ever read The Psychopath Next Door?


Teresa Lukey No, but I may have to check it out. Glad you liked the review. This one really got me thinking.


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