Psychopaths have a personality disorder that makes them immune to feelings. As a consequence, they cannot adopt a proper social behavior. Instead, they develop egotistical features that allow them to survive in a community with their lack of remorse and empathy. A new study indicates that such people are not born liars. Instead, they are best learners when it comes to the art of telling a lie.
Scientists Recorded the Lies of Their 52 Participants with fMRI
Previous research showed that psychopaths develop weaker functions in the part of the brain that deals with personality, decision-making, and social skills. Therefore, they linked such traits of the brain to psychopathic disorder.
However, the new study that appeared in the journal Translational Psychiatry started from the assumption that psychopaths are not natural liars. Instead, their neural networks that are in charge of executive cognitive processing might be superior.
Therefore, Tatia Lee from the University of Hong Kong carried out a small experiment with 52 students. Out of this total of participants, 29 scored high on psychopathic tests, while the others had low results.
The practical part of the experiment consisted of participants being invited to tell a lie. First off, they received a series of photos. Students had to say in which images they see someone they know. However, scientists present at the experiment were the ones that told participants to either lie or tell the truth. Their answers were recorded with fMRI.
Psychopaths Proved to Be Best Learners at Telling Lies
The results indicated that those with strong psychopathic traits were faster at lying than those with normal grades. These students used to speed up their false responses while the others kept an average answer time the whole time.
“The stark contrast between individuals with high and low levels of psychopathic traits in lying performance following two training sessions is remarkable.”
So far, it was unclear why psychopaths are known for their tendency to manipulate. However, this study indicates that in the lack of emotional intelligence, they are best learners when it comes to lies. The act of telling a lie requires control, memory, and attention.
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