That was the question that grabbed me while perusing social media.
You know those silly quizzes that are so addicting, yet typically so lame? I just couldn't resist. Having written THE MIRROR PEOPLE, which required significant research into the phenomena, I decided why not? How psychopathic am I?
What followed was a vocabulary test where you were asked to match a word to one of two synonyms. Being a word nerd, I found it highly entertaining...until the quiz concluded that I was a full-blown, mad-in-the brain, clown-loving psychopath.
The clincher was, if you were intelligent enough to actually match these words to their closest synonym, you were definitely a psychopath, because who else would invest that amount of time into obscure language?
Um, only every writer on the planet.
So then, what are the TRUE symptoms of psychopaths?
1. A lack of empathy. True psychopaths have a hard time processing other people's emotions. Logically, it might make sense, but they don't get it naturally. This makes them ideal for management positions because they have no issues with firing someone.
2. They are charming. "Life of the party" may be a common description, but it's all on the surface. This is one reason they make excellent salesmen or businessmen. For the few minutes you spend in their presence, you feel like a star, but deep down, they're manipulating you to get exactly what they want.
3. Criminal behavior. Because they don't connect with the moral reasons behind laws, they adhere to the idea that if they can get away with it, it's okay. They also act impulsively.
4. A poor sense of smell. It's true! I know that sounds strange, but the part of the brain that processes smells is also the part that controls impulses. True psychopaths tend to have low activity in that corner of the brain.
5. No fear. Not only can't they experience/understand fear, they find it easy to flip that inner switch and cut off all emotion.
So basically, don't be a psychopath.
And now the moral of the story: Before you claim something as fact (even for a silly quiz), do your research. Then do more. It's easy to make yourself look like a clown-loving fool.
For your enjoyment, here's a TRUE test for psychopathy (click on the image):
Do you like stories about psychopaths? Ever taken a psychopath quiz? Know any psychopaths?