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Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, a lack of empathy and sensitivity, and deep selfishness. Contrary to popular belief, not all psychopaths are murderers or evil individuals. Despite unattractive character traits, some have completely normal lives and may even become parents. Psychologists set out to examine how male psychopaths invest themselves in family life.
In a new study, Kristopher Brazil and Anthony Volk, researchers at Brock University, Canada, specifically examined three essential components of family life: mating (finding a partner), parental investment (caring for children). their children) and the somatic aspect. charge (which designates the fact of ensuring one’s survival, of taking care of oneself). ” Although previous studies have shown that males with higher psychopathic traits appear to invest heavily in mating effort and very little in parenting effort, no studies have examined the role of somatic effort. “Explains Brazil.
Next, the two researchers tested whether male psychopaths’ perception of the stimuli associated with each of these domains (e.g., attractive women’s faces, cute children, and different somatic activities) is in line with their actual behavior, regardless of their actual behavior. whether or not this perception reflects the time spent engaging in each of these areas. The results showed that psychopathic traits were associated with a higher mating rate and lower parental and somatic behavioral attitudes.
Fathers who don’t care about their children
This study is based on a sample of 255 young American and Canadian men between the ages of 25 and 35. To assess their level of investment in the three domains studied, the participants underwent an assessment of psychopathic traits and then were asked to answer various questionnaires regarding their somatic investment, their sexual behavior and their behavioral attitudes such as parents.
Analysis of the data revealed that psychopathic traits were associated with stronger mating attitudes and weaker parental and somatic investment attitudes. On the other hand, these effects varied according to the status of the participants: men in a relationship exhibited higher levels of somatic investment, but less investment in mating and parenting. Similarly, participants who were fathers showed higher levels of parental investment, but lower levels of mating investment.
” Males who displayed higher psychopathic traits reported spending more time and energy on mating and less time and energy on child rearing and somatic exertion. “Brazil said PsyPost. Therefore, it appears that psychopaths are able to compromise, focusing on mating at the expense of the parental and somatic domains. An attitude that obviously is not without consequences for the offspring …
The study shows that men with higher psychopathic traits were more likely to be fathers, although they admit they spend less time and energy with their children. Psychopaths could therefore be “parasitic” fathers, explains Brazil, in the sense that they have many children, but do not take care of them. We are the opposite of the typical investment model of a non-psychopathic father, emphasizes the specialist.
A study published in 2019 had already highlighted the fact that men with a high degree of psychopathy tended to have more children than less psychopathic men. Psychopaths therefore do not have particular difficulties in finding partners and having children, but in fact they do not care about them and indeed tend to create other relationships to repeat the same pattern.
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The study participants then viewed several images: photos of very attractive women, photos of particularly cute babies, as well as photos illustrating somatic activities (playing sports, eating healthy, earning money, etc.). The goal was to study how they perceived these images and what they triggered in them. They therefore had to indicate on a case-by-case basis whether they were inclined to go out with these women, to adopt these children and whether the activity presented seemed attractive to them or not.
The researchers found that psychopathic traits were associated with positive perceptions of mating signals, but rather with negative perceptions of indirect somatic signals (e.g., work and forming friendships). Conversely, they found no association between psychopathy and how they perceive direct somatic (such as exercise) or parenting cues.
” This corresponds to the levels of behavior reported for each of these domains. They love the stimuli associated with mating and dislike the stimuli associated with somatic exertion, such as working or saving money. But they haven’t shown a reduced preference for cute babies as their lesser investment by parents might suggest. “Summarizes Brazil. This could be explained by the fact that psychopaths here tend to behave like other men to maximize their chances of appearing as an ideal partner for women, who may be looking for certain parenting qualities in their future partner.
The researcher summarizes the situation as follows: either psychopaths are aware that not loving children could harm them in their search for a partner – and therefore the stimuli associated with children are perceived in a neutral way – or they think they like children. would like to have some), but in the end they don’t have the strength or the will to take care of it when they become fathers.
The authors of the study believe that further research is needed to investigate the issue and to be able to draw an evolutionary perspective on the psychopathic profile, in particular by including violent profiles and measures of evaluation of the direct entourage of psychopathic men. , as well as physiological measures (this study was based on self-assessment only). ” It would also be important to compare measures, such as physiological measures and self-assessment measures, to look for discrepancies that could help clarify how this deceptive personality style can escape detection once it is evaluated and chosen. concludes Brazil.