The Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy says “a constellation of traits” defines the psychopath. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) measures 20 personality traits and behaviors to determine a person’s level of psychopathy.
But some common ideas about psychopaths are wrong, says Dean A. Haycock, author of Murderous Minds: Exploring the Criminal Psychopathic Brain: Neurological Imaging and the Manifestation of Evil.
He suggests six common misconceptions about psychopaths, the first being that all psychopaths are insane. Because psychopaths know the difference between right and wrong, legally, they are not insane.
The other five misconceptions are that all mass murderers are psychopaths, all psychopaths are violent, prisons are full of psychopaths, boardrooms and Wall Street are teeming with psychopaths (although he seems to be splitting hairs on this topic), and experts agree on the nature of the psychopath.
6 Incredibly Common Misconceptions About Psychopaths, from Huffington Post.