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Correlating Psychopathy With Speech Patterns 270

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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  • Re:PR Stunt (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @10:46AM (#37723700) Homepage
    Eh, it is difficult to predict which papers will create a media firestorm and which won't. It often only seems obvious in retrospect that a given subject will be the sort that creates a media circus. This is a form of hindsight bias. []. Paper titles that are descriptive, amusing and more memorable are not a bad thing.
  • Re:PR Stunt (Score:5, Informative)

    by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @10:58AM (#37723748)
    The disorder, disease, or syndrome label works under the assumption that there is something wrong with the person in question. However, many things classed as those don't mean the person thinks incorrectly, but rather differently. It wasn't too long ago that homosexuality was considered a mental disorder in the DSM.
  • Re:DSM means little (Score:4, Informative)

    by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @06:58PM (#37726658) Journal

    A reasonable analysis would note that the behavior tends to prevent offspring and dramatically increase STD occurrence. It's thus clearly harmful, even ignoring the social effects and suicide rate. We also know it appears to be mainly caused by the womb environment, making it a birth defect.

    Funny, nothing you suggest here about the harms of homosexuality are psychological harms. You realize that the DSM is designed to classify people who are experiencing mental problems, right? So, "lack of procreativity" shouldn't be included, or else being post-vasectomy would be in the DSM. "Increased STD occurrence" shouldn't be included, or else refusing to wear a condom would be a cause for being in the DSM... as would being a teenager. Social effects and suicide rates? They examined those issues, it turns out that not all homosexuals experience social problems, nor do they all attempt suicide. In fact, some homosexuals seem to be quite well adjusted and capable of performing well in a professional career. The psychologists knew this, because they had well adjusted people working in their field.

    Leaving it out of the DSM is pure politics, not evidence-based medicine.

    It wasn't pure politics. There was a lot of politics, because the only reason why being homosexual was in the DSM was because people believed that you couldn't be homosexual without having mental, and/or social issues. As more and more psychologists came out as being homosexual, it forced the community to recognize that, hey, being homosexual did not automatically imply that the person required psychological intervention.

    Before these psychologists came out, the only homosexuals that the psychologists ever dealt with were ones who were already having "comorbid" psychological issues. So, it turns out that the psychologists thought that homosexuality automatically implied psychiatric distress was because the only people who admitted to being homosexual to them were people who were in psychiatric distress. There was a confirmation bias going on. Mentally healthy homosexuals didn't come out, and so they were hidden. And they were hidden for good reason: to avoid discrimination.

    As a total hyothetical, take for example the idea that the only time doctors ever saw an appendix was if it were inflamed and infected. They would naturally presume that the only state an appendix exists in is inflamed and infected. After all, they had never seen an uninfected appendix. Now, imagine that they finally do find someone who has died, and has an uninfected appendix. Clearly, it is now not the case that appendices are pathological. They're simply a variation of human anatomy.

    In the same way, psychologists were forced to recognize that homosexuality does not automatically present with mental health issues. Other ancillary conditions of homosexual body health are not sufficient to make homosexuality into a mental health disorder.

    As a final note: women are more susceptible to STDs, they have a higher incident of uterine, ovarian, and cervix cancer, and in fact, there are special parts of hospitals devoted solely to treating women. Does this mean being a woman should be declared a mental health disorder? No, clearly not. It's noted on their charts like being a smoker, as there are ancillary health issues that any doctor should be aware of, but "being a smoker" is not a health disorder, and neither is "being a woman". Just like "being homosexual" is not a health disorder.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky