Posts Tagged ‘Robert Hare’

Spadefoot normal and cannibal tadpoles

Among spadefoot toads some tadpoles become cannibals while the rest eat algae (http://www.centre.edu/web/news…..storz.html). If there is enough food and the water doesn’t dry up (which is the norm) the normals keep their numbers up and things are more or less in balance. If the ponds dry too quickly then the faster growing cannibals are much more likely to survive to adulthood and reproduce. If the proportion tips in favor of the cannibals they eventually have to turn on themselves and the population crashes. In the rebuild, the normals again come to the fore. Rinse. Repeat.

Dr. Robert Hare describes psychopaths as “intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs.” They lack conscience, they take what they want and do as they please, without guilt or remorse. “What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

Flanged and Flangeless Male Orangutans

Nature's Sneakiest Males, And How They Win Where Alpha Males FailNature's Sneakiest Males, And How They Win Where Alpha Males Fail

“One of the more startling examples of the two types of males is in the Sumatran orangutan. The species is famous for male bimaturism. Some males mature fast, developing their bodies and growing the distinctive folds, or flanges, on the sides of their faces. Other males keep a juvenile look, sometimes for as long as twenty years after becoming sexually mature. These juvenile-looking males can get chased out of a territory by a mature male, but much of the time they’re ignored. Biologists thought that this was a typical sneaker strategy. The unflanged males looked too young to be worth fighting.” http://io9.gizmodo.com/natures-sneakiest-males-and-how-they-win-where-alpha-m-1678927415

Chinook Salmon

Nature's Sneakiest Males, And How They Win Where Alpha Males Fail

Chinook salmon swim up river every year to spawn. Two kinds of males make the trip. Jacks are small, slender fish that sexually mature fast without putting on bulk. Hooknoses mature slowly, spending more time in the ocean feeding and fattening up. The difference between the two is dramatic, as is the difference between their technique. Hooknoses are big and bulky, and can fight off other males, but when it comes down to it, maneuverability is key. Jacks can dart in at a crucial moment, releasing their sperm and fertilizing the eggs the hooknose fought for.”  http://io9.gizmodo.com/natures-sneakiest-males-and-how-they-win-where-alpha-m-1678927415

George Simon, PhD, somehow makes the mistake of thinking psychopaths are the only known intraspecies predator.  This isn’t so, see spadefoot toads above (I’m sure there are others also).  But his understanding of psychopaths is right on:

Psychopaths are the only known intra-species predators.  [. . .] they consider themselves superior creatures compared to common humans.  They have the most malignant form of narcissism.  They know all too well how different they are from the rest of us but don’t consider this a shortcoming.  Rather, they consider themselves more than “special.” They consider themselves distinctly superior to those who possess two characteristics they don’t have:  empathy and conscience.  The way they see it, folks with a heart and with those things the rest of us call “qualms” are an inferior breed, the perfect patsies, and their rightful prey.  http://www.manipulative-people.com/serious-abusers-and-psychologys-failure-to-understand-them/

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Over at Lovefraud blog, Joyce Alexander highlighted Francesco Schettino’s lie about deserting his ship, his claim was that he had “accidentally fallen into a lifeboat while trying to help rescue efforts.”   As she pointed out only a psychopath could tell such a lie.

“This single statement, to me, branded the man a psychopath. Dr. Robert Hare said in his book, Without Conscience, that the psychopath’s brain doesn’t work like other brains when it comes to lies. They will tell a lie when there is evidence to show it is a lie right in front of them, they will tell a lie that is so unbelievable that no one would believe it, but they do not “get it” that their lie is totally unbelievable.”  http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2012/01/21/is-the-cruise-ship-captain-a-psychopath-i-think-so-and-heres-why/

The thought processes behind the lie are very straightforward.  The lie is propelled by the sociopathic throughlines of arrogance and contempt for normals.  All psychopaths, from the most out of control criminal to the highest level SAP (socially adept psychopath), share these two traits.  SAPs simply hide it better.

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So do you want to come in from the cold with your own ‘we’re here and we’re queer’ type declaration, maybe ‘we’re here and we’re non-empathic sociopathic’?  Or do you want to loose a fatal flu bug?

As background for this post, please see “It [sociopathy] is human biodiversity like homosexuality”.  A commenter both declared him/herself a dissocial and also said “we’d do fine without you [empathic normals].”  His/her desires seem split.

Robert Hare, PhD, was invited to cover sociopathy on several TV shows.  However he turned it down, saying it would have been a circus.  His own comments are no longer online, however Robert Herzc (on Hare’s site) had this to say:

He’s been asked to be a guest on Oprah (twice), 60 Minutes, and Larry King Live. Oprah wanted him alongside a psychopath and his victim. “I said, ‘This is a circus,’ ” Hare says. “I couldn’t do that.” 60 Minutes also wanted to “make it sexy” by throwing real live psychopaths into the mix.


It’s a pity that he didn’t take them up on this.  It would seem that the producers sought to feature the seeming normalness of the psychopaths.  (I should note that Herzc’s entire article is well worth reading.)

Meanwhile over in Holland.

A virus with the potential to kill up to half the world’s population has been made in a lab. Now academics and bioterrorism experts are arguing over whether to publish the recipe, and whether the research should have been done in the first place.

­The virus is an H5N1 bird flu strain which was genetically altered to become much more contagious. It was created by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who first presented his work to the public at an influenza conference in Malta in September.  http://rt.com/news/bird-flu-killer-strain-119/

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“Dr. Robert Hare, who did seminal work in identifying psychopaths, refers to them as intraspecies predators.” This prompted questions from a Lovefraud reader who asked,

  • If psychopaths are indeed natural predators (by implication, their design is part of nature’s plan to maintain some balance) then would we ever be able to weed them out of society?
  • Do they have a purpose in the natural order of things?

In this article, I’m going to address the second question. Then, next week, I’ll suggest an answer to the first question.

I don’t know about a purpose, but there are researchers who believe psychopaths are around us today because they survived the natural selection process of human evolution.

These researchers call psychopathy “a nonpathological, reproductively viable, alternate life history strategy.” This theory is outlined in Coercive and Precocious Sexuality as a Fundamental Aspect of Psychopathy, a paper published in 2007 by Grant T. Harris, PhD; Marnie E. Rice, PhD; N. Zoe Hilton, PhD; Martin L. Lalumiere, PhD; and Vernon L. Quinsey, PhD.”


This article was written by Donna Anderson at  Lovefraud Blog.  The comment I posted is below.

I think it’s worth looking at other species. Another phrase with the same meaning as ‘intraspecies predator’ is biological ‘cheater strategist’.

Some spadefoot toad tadpoles become cannibals while the rest eat the normal algae (http://www.centre.edu/web/news…..storz.html). If there is enough food and the water doesn’t dry up (which is the norm) the normals keep their numbers up and things are more or less in balance. If the ponds dry too quickly then the faster growing cannibals are much more likely to survive to adulthood and reproduce. If the proportion tips in favor of the cannibals they eventually have to turn on themselves and the population crashes. In the rebuild, the normals again come to the fore. Rinse. Repeat.

Spadefoot normal and cannibal tadpoles

Imo, the achilles tendon of psychopaths is parenting. Being in a state of arrested development themselves and pathologically ego-driven, they are incapable of nurturing healthy children.

On a side note, there is also a question of the evolutionary relationship between normals and psychopaths. Specifically there seems to be a biological prohibition that keeps normal human females from recognizing psychopaths. It’s a defect that might as well be invisible to them (in the majority, imo). Why would this be?

I used to think that psychopaths simply had the “evolutionary jump” on normal women, in the same way that introduced predators have on island animals that have never experienced predation. Forgive this example, but the most well known instance of this is probably the flightless pigeon, the dodo, that sailors could just walk over to and hit on the head. In this scenario human females would simply not have evolved a response quickly enough.

However what does evolution “want?” Evolution simply passes on genetic traits that produce greater number of offspring that survive to maturity and reproduce themselves. So evolution “wouldn’t care” (“want” and “wouldn’t care” are simply shorthand ways of speaking) if the father was a normal or a psychopath. If a psychopathic child grew up and murdered their mother, if it was past the mother’s childbearing years, then this would be of “no concern” to evolution. In evolutionary terms, the passing on of one’s genes, that mother would still be an evolutionary “winner.”

In otherwords I’m now inclined to believe that normal women have an evolved blindness to male psychopathy. When I first read Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity I found it very hard to believe the stories of normal female/psychopathic male interactions. However the sheer number wore me down and then I started seeing examples in real life (actually I had often seen real examples but now I could recognize them for what they were).

So where does this leave us? I dunno . . . .

I’m bringing in the two comments below to expand the main idea:


A leeetle angry at the ladies, eh?


That’s not the way I look at it. Have you ever read “Mask of Sanity” or witnessed/experienced a female devotee’s devotion to a male psychopath? “Devotee” is a description I proudly claim originator of, in this context. (Obviously there are male devotees also, but I believe they’re relatively rarer and qualitatively different.) There comes a point where there is nothing a female devotee can’t explain away, nothing about the beloved psychopath that the devotee can’t translate into acceptableness. Challenger: “You don’t know his last name.” “You don’t know his first name.” “You don’t know where he lives.” “You don’t have his phone number.” “Did you know he spent time in prison and/or a mental hospital?” “He derides you in public, saying he’s only playing you.” Devotee: “Oh yes, he explained that all to me. And the last, why that’s just locker-room tough talk.” Challenger: “OK, maybe I was wrong, please share and enlighten me.” Devotee: “Oh no, he requested my confidentiality.” Challenger: “Ahhhhhhh! . . . But, . . he throws passes at all of your friends!” Devotee: “That mad impetuous boy, he doesn’t know what he wants. I’m the one he needs, the only one who understands him!” Challenger (the long defeated challenger): “He has no more feelings for you than an alien reptilian shapeshifter illusionist!” Devotee: “Oh pshaw, you don’t think a mother knows her little defiant two year old!!!” Not those words exactly of course, but the impluse, the intensity, the root cause is identical. The “hook” of the male sociopath is triggering aspects of the mothering instinct.

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Fritzl, of course, is the Austrian accused of imprisoning his daughter in a cellar and fathering a family with her (three of the children also imprisoned, three raised in the aboveground household), BBC. All incest fathers are vampire fathers, they truly are draining the child’s lifeforce, but this is absolutely the most extreme case in my memory.

The question here is whether Fritzl is a sociopath.  Roughly what I do is check facts and behavior against an informal checklist and then attempt to flesh out the individual and understand his motivations.  For those interested there are well-thought out formal checklists for sociopathy.   The linked Mask of Sanity lays out a checklist in Section III, Clinical Profile, pgs 337 – 366, or see the Table of Contents.  Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience, has a formal diagnostic one, which can be used informally by anybody, in my opinion — not to diagnose, but in an attempt to understand behavior.  This seems to be a reasonable overview: PCL Overview. His own site is www.hare.org.

Fritzl certainly appears to be a sociopath.  There is no internal prohibition against incest for sociopathic fathers at all. Non-sociopathic incest fathers need to overcome their conscience and a very severe prohibition against such acts.  For sociopathic incest fathers it is merely childhood sexplay, as is all their sex.  They are absolutely, totally unaware of any “soul effect” on the daughter (or often, the son).  The sociopathic sense of entitlement is absolute — check.  Urge to dominate — check.  Lying ability — check.  Telling his wife the imprisoned daughter had run away and joined a cult.  Explaining three foundlings to the authorities and his wife (the three infants he brought up from the cellar).  This ability to lie while appearing totally sincere, with complete eye contact with the target to be duped is one of the key sociopathic abilities.  Self confidence — check.  Arrogance — check.  Optimism — check.  No remorse or guilt — check.

I understand he’s been complaining that his wife hasn’t visited him.  Sociopaths don’t understand the “beyond the pale” aspect of their extreme behavior.  For them it’s not beyond the pale, it’s not extreme.  Presumably they believe all of us are capable of the same behavior or would behave the same if we thought we could get away with it.  So now he’s hurt and perplexed that his wife doesn’t visit.

It’s reported that the possibility that he also molested his 19 year old daughter/grand-daughter, Kerstin, is also being investigated.  (It was the hospitalization of Kerstin that exposed the whole situation.)  It would be shocking if he hadn’t.

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