Robert Durst, the real estate mogul and accused killer recently featured in an HBO documentary, seems to match the common public perception of a psychopath.
But Pascal Wallisch, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at New York University, points out that the public perception of psychopaths is not entirely accurate.
In an article for Slate.com, Wallisch does a good job of describing the current scientific understanding of this personality disorder.
Can you recognize a psychopath? on Slate.com.
I do, however, disagree with one of his statements. He says that psychopaths can’t help their behavior.
This is not true. Psychopaths are quite capable of controlling their behavior when they want to.
I would agree that they’re not capable of controlling their antisocial desires or impulses, but they can choose whether or not to act on them. As many of us know, they are usually able to act in socially appropriate ways when it suits their agenda, for example, as they’re reeling in a new target.
Still, Wallisch’s article makes a lot of good points. Take a look at the links as well.