September 22, 2023

The test that will tell you if someone is a psychopath

Illustration of a silhouette angry man with thundercloud in his head screaming.

Illustration of a silhouette angry man with thundercloud in his head screaming.Malte Mueller/GettyImages

  • Senior corporate executives have been counted among those who tend to exhibit psychopathic traits.

  • The standard screening test for potential psychopaths is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.

  • Read the list below to see the possible signs of psychopathy in adults according to the checklist.

Many of the traits we look for in leaders, such as fearlessness, domineering behavior, and immunity to stress, are found in psychopaths.

In fact, psychopaths are found in greater proportions among CEOs. According to a 2016 study by Bond University psychologist Nathan Brooks, between 3% and 21% of CEOs are likely to be psychopaths. In 2021, Fortune found that 12% of senior corporate executives in the United States exhibited psychopathic traits. In fact, most people exhibit some symptoms of psychopathy – shallowness, eloquence, promiscuity, etc. – and that does not make you a psychopath.

According to CNBC, one in five business leaders may display psychopathic tendencies, but a certain amount of nonconformity and unconventional behavior can spur innovation.

The standard screening test for potential psychopaths is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. In the test, a clinician interviews a potential sociopath and scores them on 20 criteria, such as “promiscuous sexual behavior” or “impulsiveness.” For each criterion, the subject is ranked on a 3-point scale: (0 = item is not applicablej, 1 = applicable itemS something, 2 = item is definitely applicable). The scores are added up to create a ranking from zero to 40. Anyone who scores 30 and above is probably a psychopath.

The test is meant to be taken by a professional psychologist, but if you really want to do it yourself — or take a layman’s guess at your boss’s psychological makeup — keep scrolling:

1. Do you have “excessive eloquence” or superficial charm?

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Sean Connery as Original Movie James Bond.United artists

(Answer: For sociopaths, the answer to this question is yes.)

2. Do you have great self-esteem?

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Donald Trump.Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

(Psychopaths do.)

3. Do you have an excessive need for stimulation or a tendency to get bored?

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(Psychopaths cannot tolerate periods of despair.)

4. Are you a pathological liar?


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(Psychopaths don’t care about the truth.)

5. Are you cheating or manipulative?

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(Psychopaths often think they can pull the strings of the dupes around them.)

6. Do you show a lack of remorse or guilt?


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(Psychopaths don’t feel bad when they do bad things.)

7. Do you have a “shallow affect?”

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(Psychopaths show a lack of emotion when an emotional response is appropriate.)

8. Are you insensitive or lack empathy?

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Reuters/Lucas Jackson

(Psychopaths just don’t care when bad things happen to other people.)

9. Do you have a “parasitic lifestyle”?


GlebK / Wikimedia, CC

(Psychopaths prefer not to work for a living. They find it easier to take things from other people.)

10. Do you have poor behavior control?

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Columbia Photos

(Psychopaths find it hard to control themselves.)

11. Do you have a history of promiscuous sexual behavior?

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TriStar Photos

(Psychopaths love one-night stands.)

12. Do you have a history of early behavioral problems?

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20th Century Fox

(As children, psychopaths often have a history of cruelty to others.)

13. Do you lack realistic long-term goals?

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Angela Kelly celebrates winning the UK’s biggest lottery jackpot in 2007.Andrew Milligan / PA Archive / Press Association Images

(Psychopaths prefer schemas to life or career goals.)

14. Are you overly impulsive?


Shoppers are more suspicious of cameras in real stores than they are cookies when shopping online.Andrew Win/Reuters

(Psychopaths are very, very impulsive.)

15. Do you have a high level of irresponsibility?

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(Psychopaths aren’t big on doing the right thing.)

16. Do you not accept responsibility for your own actions?

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Reuters/Bobby Yip

(If you’re a psychopath, it’s always someone else’s fault.)

17. Have you had many short-term “marital” relationships?

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20th Century Fox

(Psychopaths have an inability to form long-term relationships or betray repeatedly.)

18. Do you have a history of juvenile delinquency?


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(Psychopaths start young.)

19. Have you ever experienced a “cancellation of parole”?

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In this photo taken on Thursday, February 21, 2013, an inmate at the Madera County Jail is transferred to one of the inmate housing units in Madera, California.Rich Pedroncelli/AP photo

(Even when psychopaths take a break — like when they’re released from prison on probation — they tend to screw up.)

20. Do you show “criminal versatility”?

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rock star

(Psychopaths differ from normal criminals in that they don’t really care what kinds of laws they break – they will break them all, given the right circumstances.)

How did you do?

If you scored more than 30 (ie you answered “somewhat” or “definitely” to most of these questions), you could be a psychopath. If you scored lower than that, you’re probably not a psychopath.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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