Scientific research

New research on why people who tell small lies graduate to big lies

good lies


An article in the New York Times reviews new research on how the brain reacts to lies. Essentially, when someone continues to lie, “the negative emotional signals initially associated with lying decrease as the brain becomes desensitized.”

Why big liars often start out as small ones, on NYTimes.com.

The story did not say that the research had anything to do with personality disorders. But it certainly makes sense with sociopaths — the more they lie, the easier it becomes, and they tell more lies.

And then there’s this — sociopaths like the sense of power and control that they experience when people believe their lies. So not only does the negative reinforcement fade, but the positive reinforcement of winning escalates.

Maybe it’s like an addiction — in order to get the same rush, they have to tell bigger lies. Now that’s scary.




Domestic violence and brain trauma

brainMany women who endured domestic violence suffer from headaches, memory loss, and confused thinking. The cause may be traumatic brain injuries due to blows to the head. Women may be exposed to the same type of head injuries as football players.

Fists not football: Brain injuries seen in domestic assaults, on Foxnews.com.

How Dr. Bob Hare began studying psychopaths, and what he learned

Robert hare

Robert Hare (University of British Columbia)

When Dr. Robert Hare started his job as a young prison psychologist, the first prisoner he met was a psychopath, although Hare didn’t know it yet. In an interview published in Discover Magazine, Hare describes the encounter with a man he calls “Ray:”

“He was extremely predatory, looked at me like I was food,” recalls Hare. “With his eyes, he nailed me to the wall.” Then Ray pulled out a crude, handmade knife and waved it at Hare. When Hare refrained from pressing the panic button, Ray said he planned to use his weapon on another inmate. Hare felt that Ray was testing him, so he chose not to report the prisoner or the contraband weapon to other staff.

Hare wanted to solve the puzzle of the inmate’s smooth-talking but dangerous personality. After years of research, Hare developed the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R), now the most accepted tool for measuring a person’s level of psychopathy.

Child abuse is America’s biggest public health crisis, and if you had a sociopathic parent, it could explain what happened to you

ace_pyramid_400x308Yesterday I was standing in line, horrified at how a man in front of me was treating his two little girls.

The girls looked to be about two and four years old. One of them was in a stroller. He yelled at the older girl — I don’t know why. When she started crying, he yelled at her again, threatening to hit her if she didn’t stop crying.

No matter what the kids did — dropped a blanket on the floor, touched the stanchion rope — the guy yelled.

If this father was treating his kids this way in public — what in the world was he doing at home?

Make no mistake — the guy was engaging in child abuse, and the kids will likely suffer from it for the rest of their lives.

Victims of Sociopaths and Victim Blamers

FlawedFrameworksSearching for inspiration for this post, I stumbled across some pretty unattractive, “victim blaming” directed to someone who had been involved in a relationship with a person who is likely a sociopath.

Victim Blaming 

I find victim blaming unattractive for humanitarian and moral reasons, but I also find a deep irony in victim blaming—that the person accusing others of naivety and a lack of insight about human behavior, is in fact, themselves, displaying profound naivety and a lack of insight about human behavior. It’s as if they are assuming that all people have the same experiences and opportunities, hence if someone is deceived by a sociopath, it can only be due to that person’s inherent weak character, poor choices or some other negative characteristics.  The victim blamer often uses the fact they were not deceived by a sociopath as evidence of their inherently superior character and decision making.

How Sociopaths Fool You Into Thinking They’re You’re Friend


Chapter 4
Richard Parker Is Not Your Friend

Psychopathic expert Kent Kiehl has contributed enormously to the field. He says that every adult psychopath he has ever worked with was different as a child, and not in a good way. When he looks through their prison files, he finds all kinds of stories about how much trouble they caused, how they never connected with friends, how they didn’t join teams, and how they were ultimately the black sheep of their families.

Sounds like what you would expect, right? A psychopath is not and never was your friend.

Here’s my issue. Kiehl works with prisoners.

Prisoners have been caught.

And so when you believe him—which is likely, since he’s an expert—and assume that all psychopaths have been caught causing trouble all their lives, then you are going to be wide open to the psychopaths who were darling children. Whose family photo album would show a smiling young charmer standing in front of a trophy case. Whose darker activities were never detected.

Silly science: Researchers say liking bitter foods is linked to antisocial personality traits


Like arugula? You may be a sociopath!

Every day, my breakfast is topped with curry powder, which contains turmeric, which is bitter. I must have my coffee in the morning. For lunch I usually eat a salad containing arugula and radishes. I love using fresh herbs from my garden, such as parsley, basil and cilantro. And I’d love to eat dark chocolate every day, but I resist that.

All of the foods I mentioned are bitter, so I must be a sociopath.

Researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria say that they’ve found an association between people who say they like bitter foods and antisocial personality traits.

According to reports on Science Direct and Medical Daily, almost 1,000 people — all Americans — were handed long lists of foods and asked how much they liked them. (Apparently nobody ate any food for this research.)

Therapy Satisfaction Survey: Did you seek counseling because of a difficult relationship? How did it go?

If you’ve found your way to Lovefraud, most likely it’s because you experienced an abusive or destructive relationship.

Did you also seek professional counseling?

If so, Lovefraud wants to know about your experience. We are collecting data for a scientific research paper about the experiences of people who seek therapy in the context of an abusive relationship.

Your relationship could have been with anybody:

  • Partner
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Boss
  • Other

The survey will ask you questions like:

  • What aspects of the therapy were helpful or not helpful?
  • Did you engage in couples or joint counseling?
  • How satisfied were you with the services you received?

It has multiple-choice questions and some questions where you can describe your experience however you like. It should take less than 45 minutes to complete.

Posted in: Scientific research

Overt and covert narcissists

man in maskAccording to an article by Scott Barry Kaufman on the Scientific American Blog, there are two types of narcissists:

“While the ‘overt’ narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention,” he writes, “‘covert’ narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.”

Researchers have developed the Maladaptive Covert Narcissism Scale. It has 23 statements, and people are supposed to rate the degree to which the statements describe them. Kaufman includes the scale in this article — does it apply to anyone you know?

23 signs you’re secretly a narcissist masquerading as a sensitive introvert, on Blogs.ScientificAmerican.com.

Link provided by a Lovefraud reader.


Posted in: Scientific research

How your brain enables you to be deceived

brainWhen we finally catch on that everything a sociopath told us was a lie, most of us are furious with ourselves for not seeing the deception.

We should cut ourselves some slack. A documentary that aired on the History channel explains why our brains misinterprets what we observe, and/or totally misses what is going on around us.

“We believe first, and ask questions later,” says science writer Jeff Wise in the show.

Your Bleeped Up Brain: Deception, on History.com.

Link provided by a Lovefraud reader.

Posted in: Scientific research