What Makes A Psychopath

Recently I have been watching the show Narcos on Netflix. The show tells the story of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and his rise to power in the 1970’s-80’s. Pablo was a ruthless villain. He was responsible for thousands of deaths throughout his life ranging from police officers to rival gang members. Pablo eventually rose to become the seventh richest man in the world, simply by ruthlessly controlling the drug trade. I always knew who Pablo Escobar was, but I was extremely shocked by his lack of empathy. Throughout the shows he murders, steals and blackmails his way to power without ever showing signs of remorse. His behavior reminded me of other violent men such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. These men all slaughtered people beneath them with no regret, these men were all psychopaths. There are a lot of notable people who are considered psychotic in our history. This made me curious about what actually classifies someone as a psychopath, and what exactly about them is different.

A psychopath is defined as a person who is mentally ill, lacks empathy, and is usually dangerous or violent. Science of People claims that psychopaths all share similar traits such as having shallow emotions, suspicious charm, a failure to control their actions and an inflated sense of their own self worth. They have high emotions and act on impulse, this makes them more susceptible to addiction and risky behavior. Early on in life psychopaths usually do not show any signs of fear towards situations that would normally cause children to tremor. Another trait of a young psychopath is an inclination to harm animals for the sole purpose of pleasure.
The brain of a psychopath is also very different than that of a normal person. Scientists believe that they have less activity in the region of their brain that generates fear. Also, their prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for rational thought, is usually underdeveloped or damaged (Edwards).

The CIA has a team of researchers who evaluate the mental health of historical figures. They classify Adolf Hitler, Sadam Hussein, Joseph Stalin and Pablo Escobar as having similar type of psychopathic tendencies. Although there is no cure for this mental condition, some people have actually found relief through therapy. Experts have discovered that the earlier that the disease is caught, the better chance they have to nurse the person back to health. Obviously this disease is extremely dangerous to the general public. There have been a lot of terrible things that have come from the minds of psychopaths. Many of which have changed the course of history forever. Although the mental disease provides an explanation for their actions, it certainly does not justify many of the atrocities committed by the hand of psychopaths.


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3 thoughts on “What Makes A Psychopath

  1. sbm5465

    I found myself very interested by this blog post! In my sociology class last year, we went very in depth on the nature vs. nurture concept. Is a psychopath a psychopath because it’s simply in their blood, and the way they were born to be? Or is it because of childhood trauma? We looked at several different serial killers and turns out most of them had been either sexually, emotionally, or mentally abused as a child. Even though this can be considered evidence of why they turned out the way they did, you also have to keep in mind that there are plenty of other people in this world who experienced abuse as a child and have turned out to be normal human beings. I personally believe it is a mixture of both nature and nurture.

  2. Samuel Deluca

    This blog post was definitely intriguing. One because I just started watching Narcos two days ago and two because I always here about psychopaths in the news, but I never hear why mentally they have the capacity to do such horrible things. Pablo Escobar is a perfect example of a psychopath with all the death he caused whether directly or indirectly. His cocaine empire was the tool he used to express his psychopathic tendencies. For info on the science behind the drug he dealt click here.

  3. Dante Labricciosa

    Love this blog. As a huge fan of both the show Narcos, and Dexter, psychopathy has become something I always wanted to learn more about. But what leads psychopathy to want to kill, as to what certain factor in their brain makes them lust for killing? All the psychopaths you typically see are serial killers, with no justification rather than they have the illness. Also, how may the sources you have written about determine this historical figures as psychopaths without actually experimenting on their heads? Science is based on strong evidence, that could be wrong, as where is the strong evidence showing that Pablo Escobar was actually a psychopath, as his brain could potentially resemble one of a normal person. This topic also arises such on does psychopathy begin with genetics or from a natural causes the effected ones mind? This study is hard to actually pinpoint strong evidence without statistics and trials, as an observational study can only go so far.

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