Around one in five corporate bosses are psychopaths – a proportion similar to that among prisoners – according to a new study. Research conducted by forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks from Bond University found 21 per cent of 261 corporate professionals had clinically significant psychopathic traits. Characteristics such as an inability to empathize, superficiality and insincerity are all associated with the condition.

Around one in five corporate bosses are psychopaths – a proportion similar to that among prisoners – according to a new study.

Research conducted by forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks from Bond University found 21 per cent of 261 corporate professionals had clinically significant psychopathic traits.

Characteristics such as an inability to empathise, superficiality and insincerity are all associated with the condition.

 Mr Brooks said the findings suggested businesses should screen employees according to their personality features, rather than simply their skills.

A type of “successful psychopath” who may be inclined to unethical or illegal practices has been allowed into the top ranks of companies because of the way firms hire, according to Mr Brooks.

Along with researchers Katarina Fritzon of Bond University and Simon Croom of the University of San Diego, Mr Brooks presented the study at the Australian Psychological Society’s annual congress in Melbourne.

“We’ve looked at around 1,000 people, and the supply chain management study that involved 261 corporate professionals – was the most interesting,” he told ABC.

Mr Brookes says that figure “shared similarities to what we would find in a prison population”.

In the general population, around 1 per cent are psychopaths, although some studies put the figure at 4 per cent.

Scott Lilienfeld, from Atkanta’s Emory University, who was also presenting on psychopathy at the APS Congress, told Australiannews site news.au: “[Psychopaths] are over-represented in certain occupations: politics, business, high-risk sport. The research on that is in the preliminary stages.

“Being a psychopath might predispose someone to short-term success. They tend to be charming and flamboyant, which makes it easier to be successful in the short-run, although that may be purchased at expense of long-term failure.”

Psychologist Kevin Dutton of Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology has conducted the ‘Great British Psychopath Survey’ and has discovered the top ten professions with the most psychopaths.

The list includes some professions which totally make sense, and some which must be some kind of dastardly mistake (Journalist, what do you mean?).

1. CEO

2. Lawyer

3. Media (TV/Radio)

4. Salesperson

5. Surgeon

6. Journalist (Oi, BACK OFF)

7. Police Officer

8. Clergyperson

9. Chef

10. Civil Servant

Many of these jobs make sense, given the traits of psychopathy include being self-confident, egocentric, fearless, cold-hearted and charming.

Press release from the Australian Psychological Society

Source: One in five CEOs are psychopaths, new study finds | The Independent

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