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Think You Might Be Dating A Psychopath? See If They Are Immune To Contagious Yawning

Think You Might Be Dating A Psychopath? See If They Are Immune To Contagious Yawning

Experts believe that up to 1.6 percent of U.S. residents are psychopaths. Additionally, some studies suggest that as many as 12 million Americans have sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies. In other words, it is not only possible, but actually likely, that you have met a psychopath- and you might even be dating one.

Some of the latest research into psychopathic behavior indicates that these individuals are much less likely to be susceptible to the so-called ‘contagious yawn’. Scientists discovered a long time ago that the main reason people near you end up yawning in response to your yawn is because they feel empathy for your tiredness. Of course, not everyone will yawn along with you in every situation, but what does it mean if they never do?

A research team, led by Brian Rundle, recently published the results of a study they conducted with 135 individuals. Participants who rated the highest on the ‘cold-heartedness’ scale of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised test were also the least likely to yawn in response to others. This does not mean that they never exhibited the contagious yawn. However, it does showcase the possibility that people who very infrequently yawn with others could potentially have psychopathic traits.

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According to the Huffington Post, Rundle characterized psychopaths as being “partly defined by a lack of empathy and compassionate understanding of the feelings of others.” Rundle went on to make it clear that a lack of contagious yawning is not enough to classify someone as a psychopath. To date, the research has been limited to only one study. Therefore, it is not possible to make a firm determination about anyone based on whether or not they tend to yawn along with others. It is something you should be aware of, though, especially if you have other reasons to suspect that your partner might be a psychopath.

What Are the Main Traits of a Psychopath?

If someone is a psychopath, they are likely to have a charming personality that helps hide their lack of empathy and emotional attachments. These individuals are able to gain trust easily because they are typically masterful at manipulating others. Although they do not feel the same emotions as non-psychopaths, they will learn early on that it is vital to mimic the behavior of everyone else. Due to this, psychopaths can end up in long-term careers and relationships without the people around them recognizing them for who they really are.

Is There A Difference between a Psychopath and a Sociopath?

A lot of people use the terms psychopath and sociopath interchangeably, but the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has them listed as separate conditions that are both classified as Antisocial Personality Disorders. Psychology Today says that there are numerous similarities and differences between the two conditions.

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Psychopaths and sociopaths both tend to have an inability to feel remorse, and they may completely disregard the rights and feelings of others. It is also common for these individuals to have a violent personality, and they do not feel connected to social mores or laws.

The main difference between psychopaths and sociopaths is their ability to fit in with the general public. As previously mentioned, psychopaths can have successful careers and fool people into believing that they are just like everyone else. On the contrary, sociopaths tend to have a lot of difficulty holding onto a job, and they are also prone to emotional outbursts. A sociopath can form a close relationship with one person or a small group, but they will not care about the rest of society.

From a criminal standpoint, sociopaths are much more likely to be caught and prosecuted because they tend to do things on the spur of the moment without any planning. Meanwhile, psychopaths are methodical and will have every minor detail planned out before they break the law.

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How Does Someone Become a Psychopath?

Brain scans have shown that people who are psychopaths actually have a different brain from those who do not have this disorder. Scans have shown that psychopaths have low activity in key areas within the temporal and frontal lobes, which are the areas responsible for morality, empathy and self-control. With this in mind, it would be reasonable to assume that everyone with the psychopathic brain is easily identifiable as a psychopath- but this is not actually the case.

In one fascinating instance, a neuroscientist studying the brains of psychopaths discovered that his brain featured the key indicators of psychopathic traits too. This was surprising because the man in question, James Fallon, has a stable, successful career and family life, and he has never engaged in any violent behavior. Fallon does admit that he manipulates others and is motivated by power, but he does not appear to have many of the other traits that people immediately attach to psychopaths.

Some researchers believe that people with the psychopathic brain need a trigger event such as a traumatic childhood before they will turn violent or become a criminal. It is also well-known that these individuals lack impulse control, which can lead to gambling and drug abuse. Current statistics also indicate that 24 percent of high school students abuse prescription medication. The number of psychopaths among this group is almost certainly very high, and they are also more likely to pressure others into engaging in risky behaviors.

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Is Your Partner a Psychopath?

Because psychopaths are so clever and manipulative, it can be really difficult to determine if you are dating one. So be sure to pay close attention to whether or not they yawn along with you at least part of the time. You can also learn a lot more about this personality disorder by adding a book such as The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson to your summer reading list.

Featured photo credit: Image by www.christiancrush.com via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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