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Psychopathy is a disorder, not an adaptation

According to Merriam Webster online a pet peeve is something that annoys or bothers a person very much. One of my pet peeves is people of all sorts who say that psychopathy is “fascinating” or worse even assert that it is “beneficial”. There is nothing fascinating or beneficial about a disorder that is linked to child rape and murder of innocent victims and countless ruined lives. It also bothers me that professionals who talk about psychopathy in this way are sought after by the press.

Several months ago a lovefraud reader forwarded me an article I had not seen. Nepotistic patterns of violent psychopathy: evidence for adaptation? Linda and I wrote a comment on this paper and that comment has just been published. The comment argues that psychopathy is not an adaptation but is instead a “spandrel.” The word spandrel in evolutionary psychology is analogous to the architectural term. A spandrel, (also spelled spandril or splaundrel), is The roughly triangular wall space between two adjacent arches. This space has no meaning other than it is there because of other important features.

Psychopathy as a spandrel

Psychopathy as a spandrel

In my opinion psychopathy as no meaning outside of selection for high mating effort (sex drive) and social dominance. Both of these confer advantage when they are found in people who are able to love and care for others. To understand why psychopathy exists we simply need to understand the advantages of sex drive and dominance. We do not have to assume human predators are somehow “superior” beings.

To read our paper visit Is psychopathy a disorder or an adaptation? Please recommend the article on your social network if you agree with the article. If you choose to comment please do so respecting the scientific nature of the discussion.

Just remember spandrel… scoundrel same difference!



52 Comments on "Psychopathy is a disorder, not an adaptation"

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  1. MoonDancer says:

    Dupey..I think the world is sobbing with you. What do we do? What can we do? I drive past the high school sometime’s, I see all kind’s of creepy kid’s in their black gothic attire, noses peirced, huge rings in their ears, tattoed like a colouring book, faces buried in their Iphones with a dazed angry look …i cant watch or listen to this anymore…..it will happen again and again..it’s the world that is mentally ill…



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  2. kim frederick says:

    I just saw a blip on the news, as i was drying off from my shower, getting ready for work yesterday…..kind of brushed it off….still don’t know the whole story…..what is the psychology behind this? So very sad.



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  3. ErinBrock says:

    One thing we can all do…..(or continue to do) is speak up. Not let the politicaly correct ‘thing’ get in our way of what is right.
    We can continue to educate others and point them in the direction of learning about disordered persons.
    And we see the media reporting more on Psychopaths/sociopaths when things like this occur.

    It is here….it is in our world…..and it’s only going to get worse because we have allowed ourselves to be silenced and we’ve ‘taught’ people ‘how’ to treat us as a society.
    There are NO consequences for bad behaviors.
    There is no money to keep criminals in jail.
    Hence, the non law abiders are not afraid of ‘what’ will happen, like the rest of us are.

    If we break it down to our own experiences calling BS on someone…..and we get chastized and silenced. We are taught to accept and most ‘go away’ and shut up.
    We can’t let this happen.
    We’ve got to continue to have our voices.

    We must stop enabeling bad behaviors……as a society.
    Only then……will things start to change.

    We all have a voice….and we can use it. If ‘collectively’ you see bad behaviors, talk about it, report it, keep notes and keep watch on the person.

    I also believe that if more people were armed up……the criminals would think twice about doing the gun crimes.
    This is why home invasions have decreased….the morons don’t want to crash into a home where someone ‘may’ be armed and THEY get shot!
    They look for ‘easy bait’. And THEY are the ones making the judgements on ‘easy’.

    Being armed won’t stop someone from shooting up a theatre or a school or casino etc…..but it sure could slow em down if more people pulled out thier guns and ended it before more damage was done to innocents.



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  4. fixerupper says:

    EinBrock wrote:
    We must stop enabeling bad behaviors……as a society.
    Only then……will things start to change.”

    Enabling – as in not participating in the process. Staying home – not voting – avoiding town meetings – letting the spath politicians lie and cheat and steal and not be held accountable.



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  5. Truthspeak says:

    Dupey, I had to turn off the news because I couldn’t stop crying. It’s a pain and horror that I can’t even being to imagine.

    Erin Brock, yes, yes, yes. It’s about time for people to start screaming from rooftops for Legal Reform, accountability, and severe consequences. This shooter didn’t wake up, yesterday morning, and suddenly make a decision that shooting his parents, innocent people, and then himself would be preferable to going to work or college classes. This is something that had been escalating for a long, long time and there were probably VERY clear indications that this young man was disturbed, at the very least, and disordered, most likely.

    Fixerupper, precisely. Enabling is the societal equivalent of turning the other cheek – which is a gross misinterpretation to mean, “It’s not my business, so I’m not going to get involved.”

    Labeling is another excuse. “She’s been diagnosed ADHD, so we’re going to medicate her, give her an easy IEP, and shove her through the educational hoops to graduation.” Bullsh*t. If there were a poster child for adult ADHD, I would be it. I had to learn how to focus because there were certain expectations set forth for me. And, I thank GOD that Ritalin wasn’t the “in-thing” for people like me when I was a child!

    What a horrible tragedy, and the news is beginning to broadcast interviews with survivors and talk about how these teachers sacrificed their lives to protect their students. I’m so very, very sick for these people – they will need YEARS of help to heal from this vicious massacre.

    Brightest blessings



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  6. Truthspeak says:

    As a strict aside, this terrible tragedy certainly puts my issues into perspective. I may have been emotionally and financially ruined, but I’m still alive and I have the choice to recover, or not. These innocent people didn’t have a choice.

    Individual lives, a community, and a Nation were shattered, yesterday, by the foolish choices actions of a selfish nutbag. I have much to be grateful for, today, and I feel grievous loss that will forever alter the face of our culture.

    Brightest blessings



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  7. edge of sanity says:

    Psychopathy is a mental disorder. I too was a lucky one. The ex spath told me that his spath brother was going for skeet lessons, and our heads would be blown off. I was also threatened with a home invasion. God was truly protecting me. Disordered families keep their secrets under wrap. They have their inner circle. The spath flees when he knows the mask is unveiling, and you have found out. Everyone speaks of the addictive relationship with a spath, but what is so addictive about being emotionally abused, physically abused, and raped of your personality?
    Our inner soul must heal from the aftermath, but it does not mean we will never trust again. We know the red flags,
    and are now aware of them.



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