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THE CORPORATE PSYCHOPATHS THEORY OF THE BIG FINANCIAL CRISIS: clinical implications of evolutionary approaches Ambrogio Pennati, MD (firstname.lastname@example.org) , President, IML* Mara Bertini, MD, (email@example.com), Steering Committee, IML*Alessandro Baffigi, PsyD, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Steering Committee, IML* *Integrational Mind Labs, Milano (http://integrationalmindlabs.it)
PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS A psychopath is a person without conscience, empathy or even an ability to experience the range of human emotions. Their ability to feel is confined to a narrow range of primitive proto- emotions such as anger, frustration and rage. Psychopaths will tend to be pathological liars and expert manipulators victimizing family, friends and strangers. Often they are charming, charismatic, popular and admired, if not loved, by members of both genders. They are not mentally ill, not delusional, and may often be more coldly rational and intelligent than non-psychopaths. They are likely to be promiscuous and to abandon partners without remorse. They are prone to entitlement, grandiosity and find nothing wrong with themselves. They typically blame others for the consequences of their actions and engage in moral reasoning that is glib and superficial if not absurd. They usually have little fear of consequences and enjoy risk as they need novelty, stimulation and living on the edge to compensate for their emotional vacuity
EVOLUTIONARY ANALYSIS: A SKETCH Psychopaths seem to try to maximize their efforts when trying to find opportunities to copulate more than the normal population, while completely disregarding their partners and the offspring. Psychopaths look at Status symbols (money, social and professional position, luxury goods) as the best ways to reach the top of the ―sexual ―food chain‖‖ Post-modern economy (dominant role of finance, increase in size and complexity of big corporation) generated a lot of ―ecological niches‖ for psychopaths (frequent changes of jobs, focus on short-term results, high-risk economical strategies, depersonalization of professional relationships) Money, if considered a memetic social construction, seems to generate addictive behaviors, spreading itself like a virus by mean of psychopathic behaviors
PSYCHOPATHS AND FINANCE ―Psychopathy is mistakenly regarded as an all or nothing affair: you either are a psychopath or you arent. If that were the case, saying that 10% of people on Wall Street are psychopaths could actually be somewhat comforting, since it implies that the remaining 90% are not and so shouldnt cause us any concern.‖ ―That yes-or-no approach dangerously ignores the fact that psychopathic behavior exists on a continuum. A great deal of damage can be done by individuals who fall in between folks who are "normal" and true psychopaths. These are individuals who would never be diagnosed as a psychopath, but whose behavior to varying degrees can be just as deceptive, dangerous, and remorseless as that of a full-blown psychopath. These individuals are sub-clinical psychopaths, what my colleague James Silver and I refer to as "almost psychopaths" in our upcoming book, Almost a Psychopath.‖ ―Two things should be noted about the claimed estimate that 10% of people in the financial services industry are psychopaths. First, it is just that — an estimate — and not based on a scientific study. Second, it is likely an overestimate of true psychopaths in the industry, but an underestimate of those who fall into the "almost" category. Formal studies indicate that as much as 15% of the general population can be characterized as almost psychopaths. And if we consider that the financial services industry may select for people with characteristics of psychopathy, it is fair to say that the number of people in the industry who fall into the "almost" range is at least that high. As such, individuals predisposed to fraud, deceit, manipulation, and insider trading may be far more numerous than the 10% estimate that has attracted so much attention.‖Ronald Schouten, MD, JD | 3:54 PM March 14, 2012, Harvard Business Review blog(http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/03/psychopaths_on_wall_street.html)
SCREENING Temperament Character Inventory/ Temperament Character Inventory Revised by R. Cloninger. (Italian version available) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), developed by Robert Hare and colleagues. People who are "normal" invariably score a few points on such scales. True psychopaths score in the top 25%. (training needed)(Italian version available) Psychopathic Personality Inventory - Revised (PPI- R), developed by Scott Lilienfeld and colleaugues. Rather than focusing exclusively on antisocial or criminal behaviors, the PPI- R measures the continuum of psychopathic personality traits present in a range of individuals and can be used in both clinical (e.g. forensic) and non-clinical (e.g. student, community) settings. Time-saving and cost-effective. (Italian version available)
PREVENTION AND CARE OF DAMAGE Sensitization of normal population and professional people, financial firms and big corporations management about the damage inflicted by psychopathic behaviors by mean of Sharing knowledge about psychopathy (books, web, SN) Implementing effective strategies in detecting, insulate and punish psychopaths by legal ways Implementing effective supportive treatment for the victims (often deceived, shamed and burdened by sense of guilt) (group and individual settings)
Essential Bibliography Babiak P, Neumann CS, Hare RD.: Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk. Behav Sci Law. 2010 Mar-Apr;28(2):174-93 Boddy CR: The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis. Journal of Business Ethics 102:255–259, 2011. Duntley JD, Shackelford TK: Evolutionary Forensic Psychology. Oxford University Press, 2008. Ferguson N: The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. The Penguin Press, New York, 2008. Hare, R. D., & Neumann, C. S.: Psychopathy as a clinical and empirical construct. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 4, 217-246; 2008 Hare, R.D.: Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us . New York: Guilford Press, 1999. Hasker K, Tahmilci A: The Rise of Money: An Evolutionary Analysis of the Origins of Money.Economics Department, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, 2008 Malterer, M. B., Lilienfeld, S. O., Neumann, C. S., & Newman, J. P. (2010). Concurrent validity of the psychopathic personality inventory with offender and community samples. Assessment, 17(1), 3-15, 2010. Schouten, R; Silver, JD: Almost a Psychopath. Hazelden, Harvard Health Publication, 2012.