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corporate psychopath screening
by rubble rouser
Thursday Sep 5th, 2002 6:02 AM
I had a laugh over this article, from a Canadian news agency. Its from mainstream media but I'm sure the IMC audience will appreciate it. Its certainly not typical.
Expert warns of dangers of the corporate psychopath
Call for screening to prevent scandals

Michael MacDonald
The Canadian Press

Thursday, August 29, 2002

ST. JOHN'S - Corporate executives should be screened for psychopathic behaviour disorders, just as teachers and police are, a leading Canadian researcher says.

"Why wouldn't we want to screen for them?" Robert Hare said yesterday after a speech to 150 members of the Canadian Police Association. "We screen ... police, teachers. Why not people who are going to handle hundreds of billions of dollars?"

Dr. Hare, a world-renowned expert on psychopaths, made his remarks at the conclusion of a sobering presentation littered with photos of Mafia hit men and sex offenders.

He then turned his attention to a little-known subset of psychopaths: the corporate kind.

He suggested some of the recent blue-chip accounting scandals could have been prevented if all chief executives were screened for psychopathic behaviour.

The problem, he said, is corporate headhunters rely on rÈsumÈs and standard face-to-face interviews, which reveal little about a candidate's psychological profile.

"The average psychopath has no trouble moving through that process," Dr. Hare, who teaches at the University of British Columbia, said. "That's not even a hurdle."

Dr. Hare estimates that about 1% of the population -- about 300,000 people in Canada -- are clinical psychopaths.

He is working on a survey he calls a B-Scan, a rough checklist to help recruiters spot psychopathic character traits among potential employees.

It is loosely based on a 90-item checklist called a P-Scan, which Dr. Hare developed for police, prosecutors, corrections personnel and hostage negotiators.

Through his research, he has found psychopaths share a cluster of personality traits, which are reflected in their relationships, emotions and way of life.

As well as having no hint of a conscience, psychopaths have a barren emotional life marked by few close relationships, impulsive behaviour and an inflated sense of self. They are deceitful, short-tempered and display early behavioural problems that later become anti- social.

"They also crave excitement and are irresponsible.

"They are the central star in their universe," Dr. Hare told the crowd as photos of well-known business executives flashed on the big screen behind him.

Most of the pictures were taken from recent newspaper articles related to the collapse of energy trader Enron Corp. and telecom giant WorldCom Inc.

The deceptive accounting practices and fraudulent dealings of these and other companies in the United States and Canada have led to huge losses on the stock market, massive layoffs and a string of court cases.

"These are callous, cold-blooded individuals. They don't care that you have thoughts and feelings. They have no sense of guilt and remorse."

But the arrogant, manipulative behaviour of psychopaths often makes them prime candidates for promotion within large corporations built on ruthless competition. As well, psychopaths have been known to excel as politicians and lawyers, Dr. Hare said, drawing loud laughter from the crowd.

"They have to make decisions very quickly, and they can't worry too much about the potential impact on individuals," he said.

More important, their utter lack of empathy makes them perfect for carrying out budget cuts and layoffs.

"That's when the psychopath moves in: rightsizing, downsizing, upsizing. When there's chaos, when the rules no longer apply -- enter, stage right, the psychopath. A psychopath flourishes in that atmosphere."

by this thing here
Thursday Sep 5th, 2002 8:24 AM
>But the arrogant, manipulative behaviour of psychopaths often makes them prime candidates for promotion within large corporations built on ruthless competition.<

that quote says it all. i don't think this is that much of a joke. in a sense, one MUST become a psychopath in order to survive and stay employed in the "professional" work environment. a conscious, any empathic feelings whatsoever, are seen as a danger both to a career and to the corporation itself.

if you've never had any personal involvement with someone who has a psychopathic personality, there's no way you could understand this. if you have (as this author has), it all makes perfect sense...

the common knowledge is that psychopaths are supposed to be insane serial killers. that is completely false. hollywood bullshit. they are usually highly intelligent and talented as hell, but they have no conscious whatsoever. no empathy at all, so they hurt and lie and manipulate at will.

what's interesting is if a capitalist society begins to institutionalize and professionalize psychopathy as neccessary and sought after traits for its successful and powerful leaders.

all that being said, it is not all the fault of a psychopath, professional or otherwise. they all grow up in utterly lost and fucked up households. parents can ruin children for life, more than drugs or violence.
by rubble rouser
Thursday Sep 5th, 2002 8:33 AM
yes you're right ... it really isn't funny. I guess my sense of humour can be a bit black, a bit morbid at times. I didn't really intend to detract from the seriousness of the situation it's just sometimes all you can do to cope sometimes is laugh, you know?
by Darragh Scully
(darragh_scully [at] Monday Nov 4th, 2002 4:26 AM
Hare is definatley right, Psycopath can be anywere, there like cammeleons, and no one really knows why.

You could say that they have no emotion on one hand but then they do seem to enjoy spending the money the rip of and well thats a emotion just not a acceptable one really. I wonder if Fastow at Enron is a psychopath. I know that Robin Sarah Greenburg who established the Western Womens Financial Services PTY LTD. in WA in 1987 (Brown, B., 1998. Scams and Swindlers: Investment disasters and how to avoid them: true stories from the ASIC. Australia: Australian print group) may be a prime candidate for a study relating to corporte psychopaths, though there is also the need to focus on the FLEDGLING PSYCHOPATH a concept coined by yours truly, ( see because psychopaths arent made there created and you can easily pick em young though if there well protected by lots of cash and fancy red tape you may as well trying to study saddam huissain. Though if you like our good freinds at the psychiatery buildings you realise that these guys are the kind of guys who have the power to study just about anyone. I often wonder if they make it all up just to become famous, but no its real, pscyhopaths are real so watch out because there reading these comments and they are wanting to rip us to shreds because it makes them so angry when they find out that the things they do are going to ruin there superficial charm that they so need to make them selves feel better, talk about vanity. Who cares you damned psychopaths should read the bible and learn to be comfortable with your self. And dont start to copy all the things you read about in the bible and no that is not God talking to you so you cant use God as an excuse for ripping me off or killing me either.

by Anne Rufiange
Monday Nov 18th, 2002 10:56 PM
I work with batterers and research indicates that about 40% are psychopaths, However in custody cases professionals continue to send them to counseling to fix them and eventually in 70% of the cases judges grant them custody. ( their characteristics explain why)researchers are clear on the fact that they play the therapy game well. Bip programs are not counseling but they do hold batterers accountable. our family courts often send children to live with the psychopath in these cases.
by pointer
Monday Nov 18th, 2002 11:08 PM
Click here:
by darragh scully
(darragh_scully [at] Thursday Nov 28th, 2002 11:50 PM
Recent research has shown that CEO's have an overactive cingulate cortex. These individuals may need to take the drug Depakote. Brain immaging scans have shown how CEOs and other groups of individuals with brain dysfunctions can be screened with the brain scans. If you want to check it out see the following web site by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.,
<a href=" "> for a comprehensive list of some excelent Brain scan research.

darragh scully

if you read about the psychopath in the following page

you will see that there is good research that states the psychopath has reduced levels of anxiety. This has been mostly related to temporal lobe dysfuntion and the inability to process emotional responses and diminished startle responses and diminished orienting response's in comparison to normal control subjects in experiments. However less has been said about the relationship of psychopathy and white collar crime in reference to the Basil ganglia. The basil ganglia is often associated with Parkinsons disease (for more information on the basil ganglia see )

The following section is an excerpt from Daniel G. Amen, M.D who is a clinical neuroscientist, a psychiatrist, and the medical director of The Amen Clinics in California.
The page can be viewed at

Low and High Motivation.
"Of interest, however, some of the most highly motivated individuals we have scanned, such as CEOs of companies, also have significant increased activity in this part of the brain. One of our theories is the excessive basal ganglia activity may be associated with heightened anxiety or it may be associated with increased motivation. If you do not use the increased dopamine to get things done, you are more likely to feel anxiety and tension. Some people can use this increased activity in the form of motivation to be the “movers” in our society. My mother, for example, who like me has increased activity in this part of the brain, does tend to be a bit anxious, but she is a woman on the go. She plays golf 4-5 times a week, raised seven children without appearing stressed and is always up “doing something” for other people. Using the increased energy and drive from increased activity basal ganglia activity is likely essential to not feeling terribly anxious.

"In doing our brain imaging work, we have seen that the basal ganglia must also be involved in setting the body’s idle or anxiety level. When we see too much activity in the basal ganglia it is often associated with anxiety, tension, increased awareness and heightened fear. When there is too little activity in this part of the brain, there are often problems with motivation, energy and get-up-and-go."

As mentioned, motivation tends to be low in dopamine deficient states, such as ADD. Interestingly, when serotonin levels are raised too high decreased motivation also becomes a problem. Physicians know that when they overshoot the dose of serotonin enhancing antidepressants (such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox) lowered motivation is often the result. Many people have told me they stopped these medications because they stopped doing things that were important to their business or home life. Once CEO told me he stopped taking Zoloft because he wasn’t keeping up with his paperwork and he really didn’t care. “That’s not like me,” he said.

Heightened dopamine or basal ganglia states may cause anxiety as mentioned above, but it may also cause increased or even excessive motivation. In our experience with many CEOs of corporations, they often have enhanced basal ganglia activity. They also tend to work excessive hours. In fact, weekends tend to be the hardest time for these people. During the week, they charge through each day, getting things done. On the weekend, during unstructured time they often complain of feeling restless, anxious and out-of-sorts. Relaxation is foreign to them. In fact, it is downright uncomfortable. Workaholics may be made in the basal ganglia. Their internal idle or energy level doesn’t allow them to rest. Of course, there is a positive correlate. Many of the people in society who make things happen, are driven by a basal ganglia that keeps them working for long periods of time. The most successful people I know do not work a standard workweek." (Amen, 2002)

Dr Amen has put a cap on a possible cause of some of the traits of psychopath in that there are links to the motivation aspects of high achievement personality and narcisism and delerium of grandeur etc. As one CEO has said they dont feel good when taking zoloft (seronotonin increases I think with Zoloft) because for some reason they cant keep up with the high standards they set them selves. This is possibly a good indicator of what makes a succesfull psychopath successful. However as Turvey would say maybe something changes and then the psycho undergoes a de-evolution in his modus operandi, for example Bartol has described how the psychopath suffers from a dramitically swifter loss of inhibition when consuming alcohol than normals and the real psychopathic tendencies are enhanced much more quicly in that situation for a pscyopath. In a CEO however the matter of de-evolution in often related to low market stats which means the CEO is about to get the chop, (for more information of de-evoulution aspects of corporate and comercial crime see
and ).

My point is that it is related to burning out when someone cant keep up with the pace they will cheat to maintain there high self image. Its a very good example of how moral dilema and Prisoner dillema has evolved also.

Anyway in my book you can read about it. (when I write it that is)

by Det. Deadly Serious
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 12:30 AM
Deadly serious was here and was impresed with agent darragh_scully and his observations.

Did Scully kill his psychologist or was it just an evil ploy to inflitrate the forensic psychology units in WA...
the truth is out there
by Agent Johnson
(dick_tracy101 [at] Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 12:34 AM
I to have been infiltrating the psychiateric wards looking for a man who is pretending to be another man agent scully watch out because the psychos are growing in number. Please consult you DSM IV tr for more information on my whereabouts should you feel the need to help me....
by Qwest Spy
Friday Jan 10th, 2003 10:25 AM
I worked for Qwest Communications in Denver, CO. for the last 3 years when Joe Nachio was in command. Although I never worked side by side with Joe Nachio, the people who did often described his personality as a psychopath as detailed in this article. I and most people at the company did not know the definition of a psychopath but after reading this article I'm sure most of them would agree with me that Nachio fits the profile. Unfortunately, I think psychopaths like psychopaths. So most of the managers at Qwest and the people who got promoted were psychopaths.
by Darragh Scully
(darragh_scully) Tuesday Jan 14th, 2003 2:47 AM
This is a message to Mr. Is it a case then of ' CFO's of a feather commit fraud together'. It is very hard to say really though I dont think its entirly true. In many cases the Big shots surround themselves with individuals that fit whats called the 'sychophant association profile'. For example read the following point "High status individuals may be seen as controlling their choice of employees for the purpose of facilitating trust violations. Robin Greenberg of the Western Women’s Group pty ltd (Brown, 1998) used her high status position as a qualified company director to defraud her clients of millions of dollars. This was achieved by surrounding herself with employees that could not challenge her authority even though Brown (1998) notes that some of Greenbergs employees would be described as innocent accessories. Duffield and Grabowski (2001) have labelled this as sycophant association: Greenbergs employees would be describe as organised conformists whom are easily dominated."LINKWhite collar and commercial crime: a new era in theory. As can be seen the politics of the organisation is the major barrier to catching the Mr Big. This is a systems analyst concept were it is accepted that every thing is dictated by some form of political structure. Although it is not very clear what are the characteristics of one vest on employing individuals with sychophant personalities, however the IOMA would say that one should look for the records of terminated employess and similar industrial litigation aspects to asses the cleareance and neutralization of individuals that may create a strain on the gameplaying ambit of the Corporate Fraudster.
by Deadly Serious
Wednesday Feb 12th, 2003 12:05 AM
I recently got out of prison and got a job in the supreme court (as if thats not bad enought). I found out that I am entitled to 6 free therapy sessions with a qualified psychologist. So I got the interview set up an then I quit my Job. Now all I have to do is wait till she finnishes work one day and whamo, just let her have it ted bundy style. You know being a psychopath is fun.
by Art Vandelet
(Bodiligan [at] Wednesday Jul 2nd, 2003 5:22 PM
I'm not really sure what to say to you people. It appears you are all in some twisted way pissed at psychopaths and would like to prevent them from entering corperate and political arenas. Why? As stated in a few of your little comments, psychopaths have there place, and, in many respects, are superior to you people. Depriving said people of any chance of corperate advancement would, ultamately deprive shareholders of money. Did it ever occur to you that Enron, Adelphi, Worldcom, and Tyco stock may have never reached their past zenith had it not been for these "evildoers." Feel free to vent at my email address.
by JK
(jdaria [at] Friday Aug 8th, 2003 10:38 PM
Psychopaths like psychopaths right?
Consciousness will make you understand that a psychopaths do harms to other people (mostly harmless people), that's why we (most harmless people who get harmed) do not like them.
Psychopaths is not only in a killing field game, many of them are serial bully (yes you can find them also in the offices). The law against bully is not as hard as the law against the killer yet. So those psychopaths like find a paradise to practice their misbehaviour in harming other (their target), and yet at the same time the company itself protect them in the name of corporate policy. This is not funny at all and this is a serious matter (especially for those who get harmed). Too bad many people still believe one tiny spider in their house is more dangerous than a psychopath in their office.
by Brown
(king_of_baverrr [at] Tuesday Mar 2nd, 2004 5:29 AM
Darragh, I am currently writing a dissertation on Corporate Governance and the conflict against corporate psychopaths/narcissism and greed. The offenders tend to be CEOs and CFOs and I am trying to find out if the Corporate Governance system will be able to put a stop to them. I have recently read nearly all of your articles on your site and have found them to be extremely useful and I intend to reference them in my work. Please do not hesitate to email me if you wish to talk about the topic as it is one which I have found very interesting as of late
by darragh
(darragh_scully [at] Tuesday Mar 30th, 2004 3:20 AM
Thanks Brown. I am glad someone is finding what I did at uni usefull. Wow. A reference in a dissertation.
by Quirks and Quarks: CBC Radio
Saturday Sep 30th, 2006 12:39 PM
Listen to Quirks and Quarks, September 30, 2006: Inside the Mind of a Psychopath.

Alfred Hitchcock made movies about them; Truman Capote was obsessed by them; and newspapers just can't get enough of them. Why are we so obsessed with psychopaths? And just why do they do the terrible things they do? Well, scientists have been asking the same questions. And the answers may surprise you.

Researchers have been trying to get inside the head of a psychopath - literally - to find out if their brains are different from yours and mine. We'll find out what they've discovered.

You can download a MP3 to play on Windows Media Player. This has a number of specialists who share their study, including Dr. Hare.