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Correlating Psychopathy With Speech Patterns 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the goal-oriented dept.
florescent_beige writes "Researchers from Cornell and UBC report that analysis of speech patterns using Wmatrix, along with something called the Dictionary of Affect in Language (see a demo here), shows that psychopaths speak differently from other people, at least statistically (abstract). Although they say that these differences are 'presumably beyond conscious control,' the authors do not say if the method has any predictive use. Regardless, the popular press has already gone headline-nonlinear about it."
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Correlating Psychopathy With Speech Patterns

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 15, 2011 @10:58AM (#37723750)

    It says that psychopaths use more connecting conjunctions than average people, words like "since" and "because".

    In other words they speak better English than the average no-clause baby talk people use when they're not writing.

    Yay, this means that when courts are abusing the latest research into psychopaths to decide how to punish people, intelligent people will be treated worse. They're already misusing research like this.

  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv...vadiv@@@neverbox...com> on Saturday October 15, 2011 @11:55PM (#37728140) Homepage

    Yeah, I have the feeling trying to talk about this here is a losing battle, because no one seems to know what a psychopath is, but you're correct.

    Psychopaths have trouble because they don't actually have any empathy. Psychopaths do not have to kill people, or anything like that. They simply are utterly uncaring about how other people feel in any respect. (And most of them are smart enough to fake otherwise.)

    Because they do not understand stuff that is obvious to everyone, they often end up explaining why they did something that was just obvious to everyone.

    And this isn't just bad things. Psychopaths often do good things because people are watching, and they know that society says that's what they're 'supposed' to do. But they don't actually think that.

    So when you ask them about why they held a door for an old person, their actual reason is 'Because I looked good doing that', but they obviously can't say that, so they'll come up with some sort of reason that doesn't make much sense.

    Whereas normal people say, "Uh, because she was having trouble with it, duh."

    Normal people automatically act towards each other in a certain way. Even criminals _feel_ that way, even if they ignore it. Psychopaths are doing mostly the same thing, but by rote. They learned the rules and follow them.

    For psychopaths, explaining behavior in moral terms is like someone with literally no sense of humor trying to explain jokes. You could study jokes, and why and how they're funny, and laugh at the right places and fool people, but, in the end, if asked to explain, your explanations of any specific joke are distinguishable from people with actual sense of humor, at least with enough analysis.

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