This Question Lets You Know If You're A Psycho Or Not!

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Here's the question scientists recently developed to diagnose if someone has antisocial personality disorder:

First of all, let's explain what antisocial personality disorder is:

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Psychopathy is one of the hardest personality disorders to diagnose. Psychopaths may seem good-natured, normal and maybe even attractive, but these people lack conscience and empathy. These characteristics cause psychopaths to be manipulative, unbalanced and prone to commit crimes.

People who suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder can be either very good or very bad, depending on their disposition.

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Psychopaths are generally creative, impulsive, noble, emotionally flexible, successful and productive people; but sometimes they can turn into selfish people who create problems and drama.

So how can you tell if you're a psychopath or not?

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It's impossible to answer this question without seeing a psychiatrist, but psychologist Kevin Dutton of Oxford University believes that we can tell if a person is a psychopath by asking only one question.

We start with a preliminary question:

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You see a train going full speed, approaching five people who are stuck on train tracks. Fortunately there is a switch next to you, if you flick it, the train will change its course and you will save the people. But there is a catch; someone else who is trapped on a different pair of tracks will be run over by the train and be killed.

Would you flick the switch?

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If you flick the switch, one person will die; if you don't flick it, five people are going to die. The logical conclusion would be to flick the switch to save more people's lives, but you also knowingly kill one person. Don't be scared, most people say they would flick the switch. Now comes the main question...

The second question describes a similar process but with only one difference:

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The same train is approaching five people stuck on train tracks; but this time there is no switch to flick. Instead, there is someone of a large stature next to you with whom you've never talked to before. If you push this person on the tracks the train will run over them and you'll be able to save five people. Would you push that person on the tracks?

In both situations, you have to make the decision to kill someone to save more people.

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The first situation is concerned with a dilemma that isn't personal and it has to do with making the logical choice, whereas in the second situation there is a personal dilemma that forces us into a strong sense of empathy and consideration of what people might think of our action. Kevin Dutton says that because of this, people who choose to push the person next to them on the train tracks have a high chance of having antisocial personality disorder.

Based on this example, Dutton says that psychopaths have the potential to save life as much as taking it.

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Most people who have antisocial personality disorder choose to push the person next to them on the train tracks, but it doesn't mean you're definitely a psychopath if you choose to do so too. The aim of the question is to understand when faced with this situation whether you make a logical decision by pushing empathy into the background or whether you are devoid of empathy completely.

Therefore, based on the two examples, we are faced with another criterion when trying to diagnose antisocial personality disorder.

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The choice you make in the first example is related to the prefrontal cortex of the brain and has to do with a judgement and rational thought process called "cold empathy." The choice you make in the second example is related to the brain's amygdala, which is the center of "hot empathy" and shows our capacity for how much we can feel what others are feeling. People with antisocial personality disorder cannot see a difference between the two examples. For them, one person dies and five people live in both situations. Even though when we look at it objectively, the situations are the same, not being able to see the difference between the two points to a significant mental difference.

According to Dutton, there's no difference between the thought processes of psychopaths and non-psychopaths when it comes to non-personal dilemmas.

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The subject starts to change when we get to the second example. Dutton's thoughts on the subject are as follows:

"Imagine that I were to hook you up to a brain scanner, a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, and were to present you with those two dilemmas, okay.  What would I observe as you went about trying to solve them?  Well, at the precise moment that the nature of the dilemma switches from impersonal to personal, I would see the emotion center of your brain, your amygdala and related brain circuits, the medial orbital frontal cortex for example, light up like a pinball machine.  I would witness the moment in other words when emotion puts its money in the slot."

Here's the video where Kevin Dutton explains the subject:

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