Monday, September 3, 2012

Psychopaths and Speech

One of the main reasons I am highly optimistic that we will once and for all come to terms with the danger posed by psychopathology upon society is the fact that psychopaths are so very similar in how their pathology manifests. Regardless of ethnicity, social status or level of education, psychopaths have a similar underlying nature and a collection of predictable behavioural traits common to all.

One of these traits is how they process and use language. Anyone who has been in a close relationship with a psychopath will attest to their unusual, almost scripted use of language and how they seem to implement the same script over and over again, as well as the manner in which they can contradict themselves within the same sentence. They tend to pause during questioning in order to invent yet another cover story and place special emphasis upon delivering a ‘word salad’ to bewilder and disorientate the listener. When in a debate or argument they deflect by putting the other person in a position of having to defend their humanity, intellect or ethics before the subject at hand can even be discussed—which it never is, as the psychopath ignores the person who is fruitlessly trying to communicate with them.

Psychopaths also tend to perform idiosyncratic vocal mannerisms, such as humming, whistling, making and/or speaking in strange, obnoxious or ‘cartoon style’ voices to a far greater degree than a non-psychopath would. It is often one of the things many targets recall from their past relationship with a psychopath. This has also been noted for some time among researchers and criminal psychologists. There are most certainly distinctive characteristics in how psychopaths use speech and this has now been scientifically determined for the first time using computers.

One has to wonder why it took so long for this research to be undertaken; it would seem that it should have been carried out long before now considering the vast repository of recorded interviews, interrogations and court statements made by psychopaths over the decades. As is the case with so much of the research into psychopathology, the basic groundwork into simply identifying these predators tends to take second place to complex clinical studies, genetic and neurological research.

In October 2011, a new study was published which finally gave validation to how psychopaths use language in a way very different to the rest of the population. Fourteen psychopaths were identified during interviews with fifty-two convicted murderers by Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University. Please bear in mind that although this research—like nearly all such studies—was undertaken on convicted criminal psychopaths, the findings are equally applicable to your psychopathic ex-spouse or the psychopath bully at work. You will, if you think back, find the results of Hancock and his research team also resonate deeply with your own experiences in a relationship with a psychopath.

The researchers asked the subjects to describe their crimes in detail; specialised software programs were then used to analyse their use of words and phrasing. It was discovered that the psychopaths spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, focusing their rationale on basic needs, such as food, drink and money.

This is interesting for me as it validates the basic premise laid out in my previous book that psychopaths are ‘all business’—no matter what the business is—from marriage to murder to hostile corporate takeover. The endgame, in terms of the psychopaths’ needs and desires, is the only consideration. The personal, psychological, and emotional impact on targets are never an issue with the psychopath.

Likewise, concepts such as ethics and compassion are looked upon by psychopaths as obstacles to their objectives.

from: DEFEATED DEMONS freedom from consciousness parasites in psychopathic society by Thomas Sheridan copyright 2012


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  2. Fascinating yet frightening! the whistling and humming is something to think about in terms of how children use those two actions to soothe themselves. My 6 year old use to hummmm herself to sleep when she was little. I liken it to that of a Monk chanting a mantra with long drawn out humming to rattle the inner vibrations. Perhaps these Psychopaths are doing the same?

    I also think about the reptilian brain or the more primal/early childhood nature, like the basic set of tools when you start out in life.. Also, aside of possibly soothing themselves they could be deflecting other peoples vibrations, maintaining their own, or simply using it to distract or annoy people. As far as the character voices, I've always found this to be strange to the point of being uncomfortable and getting the creeps when I hear people do this (mostly males)

    Maybe this character voice is just the child inside the adult psychopath or It might be a way to charm people, learned very early in childhood? Just some thoughts I wanted to share with you. - Jaime (Fan since 2010)