How to spot a psychopath

Kristine Tarbert

Have you ever thought about how easy it is for you to lie?

Turns out if it’s something you’ve learned to do without a second thought then you might have some other psychopathic traits as well.

New research suggests that people with psychopathic traits can learn how to be deceitful and manipulative faster than people without.

After doing a study with 52 students, researchers say psychopaths find it much easier to lie because their brains don’t have to work hard at resolving moral dilemmas.

Researchers say psychopaths find it easy to learn how to lie. Photo: Getty

Of all the students, 23 showed low levels of psychopathic traits and 29 showed high levels of psychopathic traits.

So to find out if the individuals with higher levels found it easier to learn how to lie than the others, the students in both groups were shown a series of photographs of familiar and unfamiliar faces.

They were directed to give either an honest or dishonest response when asked if they knew the person or not – and researchers measured their reaction times and brain activity.

The participants then completed a two-session training exercise on lying before repeating the task.

Source: Giphy

Dr Tatia Lee, lead researcher from the University of Hong Kong, explains that during lying the 'true' information needs to be suppressed and reversed.

“Lying requires a series of processes in the brain including attention, working memory, inhibitory control and conflict resolution which we found to be reduced in individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits,” she says.

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“By contrast, in individuals with low levels of psychopathic traits this lie-related brain activity increased.

“The additional 'effort' it took their brains to process untruthful responses may be one of the reasons why they didn't improve their lying speed.”

Psychopaths can lie quicker. Photo: Getty

So if you’re wondering how else to spot a psychopath, according to the Daily Mail, there are a number of different traits to look out for.

Common signs include superficial charm, a grandiose notion of self-worth, the need for stimulation and impulsiveness, pathological lying, the ability to manipulate others and a lack of remorse and empathy.

But despite the popular association, not all psychopaths become killers.

Source: Giphy

Experts claim people usually find psychopaths intriguing, because psychopaths tend to do a lot of acting to deceive, or mimic normal reactions, sometimes changing their views and reactions quickly.

So keep an eye out for slip-ups in their tone of voice or body language to show their emotional responses are false.

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