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Psychopaths and predatory memory

When I was married to James Montgomery, who I believe is a psychopath, we once attended a local trade show together. We ran into a woman whom I didn’t know at all and James barely knew. After about one minute of conversation, James started offering to help her with some project that she was working on.

“What did you do that for?” I asked James after we continued on our way.

“What?”

“Offer to help that woman. You hardly know her.”

“Do you know who she’s married to?” James asked. It was a man that he believed could possibly be useful to his plans.

Psychopaths are always on the lookout for people they might be able to manipulate. A study published last year by Canadian researchers seems to indicate they have an enhanced ability to spot and remember potential targets.

The study was called A pawn by any other name? Social information processing as a function of psychopathic traits. It was conducted by Kevin Wilson and Sabrina Demetrioff, of Dalhousie University, and Stephen Porter of the University of British Columbia-Okanagan.

The study

The researchers created a series of fictional characters using photographs of men and women with expressions conveying that they were happy or sad. They assigned biographical traits to the characters indicating that some were successful and some were not, along with other details such as “likes skydiving.”

Forty-four male undergraduate students participated in the study. They were first given a personality test to determine their level of psychopathic traits. Then they were shown the photos and biographical information about the fictional characters. Afterwards, they were asked to recall the characters.

The researchers anticipated that the study participants with high psychopathic traits would best remember useful or vulnerable individuals—the happy, successful male was probably most useful, and the unhappy, unsuccessful female was probably most vulnerable.

The results

Study results indicated that they were partially correct. “Participants with high levels of psychopathic traits demonstrated enhanced recognition for the unhappy, unsuccessful female character; arguably the most vulnerable individual presented in our study,” they wrote. “In fact, the high-psychopathy participants demonstrated near-perfect recognition for this character.”

The researchers called this “predatory memory.”

“Psychopathic traits, even in the absence of overt criminality, are associated with a cognitive style that is predatory in nature,” the researchers concluded. “In extreme cases, this may allow individuals with clinically diagnosable levels of psychopathy to spot vulnerable individuals for future exploitation.”

Remember—the study subjects were not criminals in jail, they were college students. The conclusion we can draw is that people with psychopathic traits are out in the world, spotting potential victims and filing the information away for future use. It’s frightening.



92 Comments on "Psychopaths and predatory memory"

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  1. skylar says:

    my story is a bit different. my xp took me out of the city to live on a small island where the cops are corruptable. He is so slick that he easily found the weakness in one s/p neighbor woman and used that. (she likes to have sex with other women’s husbands – she told me this herself) I even wonder if he didn’t poison the woman down the street (she got a neurological disease and went blind) so that they had to sell for really cheap and then, somehow, he found some sick old psychopaths to purchase the house. I know it sounds paranoid, but how is it that he gets people (WHOM I HAVE NEVER MET) to hate me with such passion? Another of the s/p neighbors told me she is a practicing witch, so the only other thing I can think of is that he found a group of devil worshipers and that’s where he recruits his most evil minions.

    all 3 of these neighbors moved there after I did and they all have attacked me verbally and slandered me.

    My xp told me he will NEVER move back to the city. Of course he lies all the time…so…but I do get the impression he likes living with a survivalist attitude. Probably likes the idea of lots of acreage because there’s more room to hide the bodies. NOT KIDDING.



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  2. bibleannie says:

    The S I married stole his dad’s identity. They both have the same name. He went on a wild spending spree using his dad’s initial signature to co-sign for a loan for a truck, that his dad soon decided not to do, but too late, the S pushed it through without his dad’s knowledge. Now thousands of dollars later, it’s catching up with him. His dad finally is getting calls for the past 3 or 4 years and even to this day to pay up on defaulted loans. S’s parents I truly believe are afraid of him, they have never pressed charges but they are old and rich and are plain and simple polite to him now. I turely believe that because it’s only been in the past few years that S has reconnected with them, is because he wants to be on their good side, showing them he’s reformed cause he married a good christian woman with morals and good ethics.
    People are afraid of him. they all coddle him and try not to say anything to rock his boat, almost in a high alert nervous sort of way.
    Unbelievable but true.



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