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(18 Posts)
AoifeBell Tue 14-Jul-15 12:56:14

I've just finished reading the Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson and one of the things I can't get head around is the mimicking of emotions.

The book says that's psychopaths will see an horrific event, say car crash with kids, and feel nothing (obviously). Then they'll watch the mother of the children crying, distraught, then go home and practise the mothers facial expressions in the mirror!

Is it this matter of fact of was that a more guess at how the display "emotion"? Even after reading the book and doing the test I can't fit anyone in know into the psychopath category so have no idea about them.

Does anyone know if this is actually something they do?

Fascinating book by the way has anyone read it?

badtime Tue 14-Jul-15 13:11:23

I'm not a psychopath (I'm pretty sure), but I have a very impassive face, and tend to react on the inside rather than the outside. I certainly have emotions, but someone looking at me would not be able to tell what I'm feeling just based on my appearance. When I was younger, people told me my apparent lack of reaction was weird, so I practiced 'reacting normally'.

I have many autistic traits, so that may be part of it - my reactions are my own, and not some sort of social interaction.

firesidechat Tue 14-Jul-15 13:27:21

Not all psychopaths do this, although some may. I imagine that there is an element of mimicking emotions, but I'm not sure if it's always as calculating as practising in the mirror would infer. Much more likely that they take note of others expressions and unconsciously mimic them.

I have read the book, but a long time ago now. It is fascinating.

UncertainSmile Tue 14-Jul-15 14:33:17

I'll read anything by Jon Ronson.

AoifeBell Tue 14-Jul-15 15:55:09

That's really interesting bedtime! So was it "forced" emoticon or just trying to get you face to match how you were feeling?

AoifeBell Tue 14-Jul-15 15:56:57

Firesidecat. That what I was wondering. It seems so cold for them to sit there in the mirror practising, but then can we really expect anything less from them?

What other of his books would you recommend?

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 14-Jul-15 16:17:38

My ex was a Sociopath.

He could hurt me without a second thought with a word or comment. Then really wonder why I went off on one, or complained my crying was a big ridiculous pity party.

If I carried out the same kind of action on him, he was physically disturbed..."why would you do that..,,?"

They just have no empathy whatsoever. It really helps to know that and then you can work around them and not waste your emotions or mental wellbeing.

AoifeBell Tue 14-Jul-15 16:42:32

Sorry to hear that. Have you read the book Wally?

Theres a part in it that actually says if you're with a psychopath, leave. Don't worry about hurting their feelings there are no feelings there to get hurt!

Shudder. Scary thought!

CheersMedea Tue 14-Jul-15 17:12:31

Even after reading the book and doing the test I can't fit anyone in know into the psychopath category so have no idea about them.

This is rather the point about psychopaths and rather the point about the whole book! Sociopaths are highly evolved at mirroring other people so you're unlikely to spot them until something goes wrong or they cross you. The rest of the time they are probably the most charming people you've ever met.

FaustainPact Tue 14-Jul-15 18:18:56

I guess there are various levels on a spectrum. I am not sure where I fit, because I certainly do have feelings for my family (DW and DC's), but I have little emotion or feelings for people outside my immediate family.

I too have learned to be guarded in what I say in certain situations. I have had some looks of horror at what I thought were fairly "normal" responses.

My DW says I have less empathy than any person she has ever met. Your car crash scenario above wouldn't bother me (for example)

pocketsaviour Tue 14-Jul-15 18:41:10

Good book, I like Jon Ronson's stuff.

The info about mimicking emotions by practising: the information there has come from what psychopaths/sociopaths have revealed during interviews with psychiatrists and researchers, so by definition those are going to be the more "extreme" people who have been imprisoned for something.

I find it interesting that there are plenty of sociopaths who are very successful in business - certainly there are plenty of courses teaching you how to talk confidently, how to shake hands, how to use your body language in a leadership situation. Similar thing?

Tequilashotfor1 Tue 14-Jul-15 18:50:52

My FIL does this.

I don't think he would look in the mirror and practice emotions but he certainly watches other people reactions and acts accordingly.

His view on some one who had just lost his father was very telling. As in - 'their dead, there not coming back I can't understand why people get so upset' - he was talking about a man he had known for 40 years. It was only when I challenged it he twisted it to mean somthing else.

I know my fil is a phycopath. He can look you straight in the eye and lie about something he told you differently a couple of days before and say it convincingly and emphatically. He also kept his jack russles tail that he chopped off in his tool box for years and would get the box out to scare the poor creature with - he told me that story while laughing. When he seen my disgusted face he tried to make out he was joking but DP said it was true.

I see him daily sad

ladybird69 Tue 14-Jul-15 19:02:14

My ex was a narcasstic psychopath he wasn't diagnosed but Dr, therapist, solicitor and barrister all said he was and they've met a few!
He'd practice conversations in his head, he'd be making a kind of grunting noise and I once asked him and he told he was practicing a conversation he was going to have! Nothing wrong with that but he'd be doing it while someone was talking to him or while he was eating.
And he had the 'dead eyes'

Tequilashotfor1 Tue 14-Jul-15 19:30:09

Yes to the dead eyes, they seem to look straight through you .

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 14-Jul-15 19:34:50

They do have feelings, but only in situations that affect them. So they can get incredibly hurt and angry when injustice is dealt to them, but feel nothing when it happens to others.

Oh and the lies, yes the fucking lies. hmm

redannie118 Tue 14-Jul-15 20:02:43

My brother was diagnosed as a psychopath last year and wasnt really a huge suprise. This is a man who stole money from my mothers bank account then lied to her face and told her his drug addict friend had done it. When we found out the truth and called him out on it he held up his hand and said "dont talk to me about it or else ill kill myself and thrn youll be sorry "

Tequilashotfor1 Tue 14-Jul-15 20:07:53

shock red

ladybird69 Tue 14-Jul-15 21:27:23

YY Red my ex would say that he would commit suicide then it would be all my fault in front of kids. I'd be comforting them then walk into kitchen mins later to find him cooking sausages and whistling happily to himself. Every word uttered is a lie or used against you and you can never ever win they are ruthless.

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