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Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson
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19 Aug. 2004

Psychopaths come in all shapes and sizes, and there are far more of them out there than we think - many of them in the workplace, according to psychology experts.

Sharing the same character traits as sadistic killers helps `corporate psychopaths' to succeed in the short-term, and can often land them in management roles, Personnel Today's sister magazine New Scientist reports today.

Scientists warn that colleagues should be much more aware of their existence to avoid being their next corporate `victim'.

Individuals tend to be manipulative, arrogant, callous, impatient, impulsive, unreliable and superficially charming, and are prone to flying into rages.  They also break their promises, take credit for the work of others and blame everyone else when things go wrong.

The key characteristic of all psychopaths is having no conscience and lacking all signs of empathy with their fellow men.

Psychologists estimate that around 1 per cent of Britons fall into this category.  Most of them have not been in prison and have probably never been in trouble with the law.

They tend to thrive in high-powered professions, such as politics, the media, law and business, where they can dominate others as part of 'getting the job done'.

By Daniel Thomas
19 Aug. 2004

`Perceptions' note:
So, confirmation of our findings - at "Consciousness Examined".

BTW - Daniel writes as if he knows one or more corporate psychopaths - maybe too closely for comfort?

  UPDATE - Jan 2011 - `The uncomfortable truth about mind control' 

  UPDATE - Dec 2011 - `Psychopaths ... still occupying positions of power' - in UK 


`Obedience' and `Authority' Creats Psychopaths

The Milgram Experiment - "just obeying orders"

Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment using ordinary people as volunteers who were supposedly then selected as `teachers' of other apparent volunteers - but those `learners' were really actors.

Milgram intructed each `teacher' to give increasing electric shocks to the `learner' if he got answers wrong.  Although the `teacher' had tested the equipment by receiving a real 45 volt shock, the shocks applied to the `learner', all the way up to 450 volts, were fake but this was not known by the `teachers'.

The actor, in a separated shielded compartment, would simulate shock, then pain, then agony.  If the maximum shock were `applied' he would bang on the wall and go silent (simulating unconsciousness or even death).

Results :
following intructions from `authority' (man in a white coat),  65% of `teachers' continued applying shocks all the way to the maximum, which they believed might cause death.  None of the `teachers' refused to stop before reaching the `dangerous' 300 volt level.

Milgram then repeated the experiment in a) a prestigious university setting; and b) in a sleazy city back-office.

Results :
a) - in the `respectable' university setting there was more obedience, more `deadly' shocks applied;
b) - in the non-respectable setting there was less obedience, less shocks given by the volunteers.

The Stanford Prison Experiment - "power corrupts"

Stanford Prison Experiment (Documentary) - [Youtube - 29 min Video]
The story and background to Dr. Philip Zimbardo's Experiment: The Stanford Prison Experiment.

Philip Zimbardo created a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology department.  He recruited clean-cut young men as volunteers - none had criminal records and all rated "normal" on psychological tests - and he randomly assigned half of them to play the role of prisoners and the other half to play guards.  His plan was that he would step back for two weeks and observe how these model citizens interacted with each other in their new roles.

Social conditions in the mock prison deteriorated with stunning rapidity.  On the first night the prisoners staged a revolt, and the guards, feeling threatened by the insubordination of the prisoners, cracked down hard.  They began devising creative ways to discipline the prisoners, using methods such as random strip-searches, curtailed bathroom privileges, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation, and the withholding of food.

Under this pressure, prisoners began to crack.  The first one left after only thirty-six hours, screaming that he felt like he was "burning up inside."  Within six days, four more prisoners had followed his lead, one of whom had broken out in a full-body stress-related rash.  It was clear that for everyone involved the new roles had quickly become more than just a game.

So, by the time six days had passed (experiment was due to last 14 days), already the happy college kids who had begun the experiment had transformed into sullen prisoners and sadistic guards.

Zimbardo called a meeting the next morning and told everyone they could go home.  The remaining prisoners were relieved, but tellingly, the guards were upset.  They had been quite enjoying their new-found power and had no desire to give it up.

  UPDATE - 2011 - `The uncomfortable truth about mind control' 

Reference / Info Links


`Perceptions' note:
Evidence file for the `Altruist Survivor' series and `Consciousness Examined' and Nazi UK (21st Cent.) and linked pages.

Also see `Devices' for roots of `manufactured' psychos & pervs, especially among `anglo-saxons'; and `Authority' (text) for differences between humane monkeys and authority-crazed (human) psychos.


Evil in Uniform


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