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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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