The Psychopath Test

A Journey Through the Madness Industry

Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test captivated my curiosity from the first look as it is written about the hidden industry of madness. I felt overjoyed at the thought of me touching into one of the most sensitive realms of human morality.  l was wondering on what ground do we judge someone a mad person and lock him up in jail for the sake of public safety? What happens if there are more people with their amygdala (an area within the brain) numb to its core function of emotional responses?

As thrilled as I was at the beginning, I devoured the book and soon realized that the madness industry, in my opinion, remains quite immature. As much as I thought madness would easily be conquered by the advancement of neuroscience, the industry was plentiful of subjective judgments via unsettled standards. As shocked as I was learning about the job of psychiatrists and their messy and immature researches in this fuzzy area of society, the book provokes many thoughts.

1. Electroencephalography (EGG) to detect cognitive disorders (the emotional responses of the amygdala in this case) was once a way neuroscientists used to recognize psychopaths (or cognitive disordered patients) until lawmakers outlaw the use of electric shock used as stimulations in these researches. It makes sense to protect individuals’ right of being free from unwanted pains, but how to detect these differently born individuals?

2. The book has gone a bit further in accessing a hypothesis that a large proportion of individuals in the top corporate and governance layers are, to a certain level, psychopathic. Psychopaths are good at mirroring well-mannered behaviors and are often found charming. They have a grandiose sense of self-worth, an excessive need for stimulation, or proneness to boredom. And many more to complete the list of 20-question Hare Psychopath Checklist. The difference between psychopaths might be the context where one is in. What if he wasn’t born in a slum but a place where he would be given enough recourses to satisfy his hunger for self-recognition? According to some analysis, many corporate CEO got high scores on the Hare Psychopath Checklist.

3. ...

The world would not recognize one if one is not different and special, I guess.

By “different” here, I mean psychopathically different.

The book is stimulating, but not yet thoroughly analyzed.

Spring 2021

January 13, 2021, 3:00:00 PM


psychology, brain, neuroscience


The Psychopath Test