High IQ psychopaths

A recent study by an undergraduate student at the University of Huddersfield has posited that up to 3% of people in senior management positions may be High IQ psychopaths. The study suggested that people who display Factor One psychopathic tendencies  and higher IQs were much more likely to be able to fake their emotional responses in tests that could reveal their personality disorder, giving them free reign to climb the corporate ladder and access senior management positions.

The study started by testing the IQ of 50 students, and via the administration of the Levenson Self-Reported Psychopathy Scale, identified those students which displayed Factor One or Factor Two psychopathic tendencies.

During the study, students were evaluated using a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and had electrodes attached to their fingers. They were then shown disturbing images which would cause distress to most people (other than those who demonstrate psychopathic tendencies). The expectation would be for people with Factor One psychopathic tendencies to demonstrate little or no emotional response to the images, while people with Factor Two psychopathic tendencies would be expected to generate higher levels of emotional response due to excitement.

The results of the study were largely in line with expectations, with the exception that it was the study participants with the lowest IQs who were found to demonstrate the highest level of excitement when shown the disturbing images, as opposed to those who might display Factor Two psychopathic tendencies.

The author of the study suggests that people with Factor One psychopathic tendencies, and higher levels of IQ, are more likely to be able to fake emotional responses which might reveal their psychopathic tendencies, which in turn might explain why these types of people may be in found in greater proportions in senior managerial positions.

High IQ psychopaths in Big Business

If it is true that big business may harbor a larger number of high IQ psychopaths, this may explain why many higher performing corporate environments may be seen as being so political and backstabbing.

But the assertion that higher IQ people may also be better at faking emotional responses also suggests emotional intelligence, or at the very least, self awareness and better emotional control. As described on my previous post here, emotional intelligence and IQ are highly correlated and this new study is very simply an extension of this assertion. That is, higher IQ psychopaths are smart enough to know and recognize what they are, and are able to tone down the responses.

So could this mean that Wall Street may be harboring mass numbers of high IQ psychopaths?

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