Equinox: Psychopath

  • More Options

VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
Rating: 9.3/10 (42 votes cast)
Is This Documentary Broken?
(Click Here To Let Us Know)

According to popular wisdom, psychopaths are …crazed and bloodthirsty serial killers. The reality is not …all so simple. While many psychopaths do commit violent crimes, not all psychopaths are criminals and not all criminals are psychopathic. Psychopaths are found in many walks of life and are often successful in competitive professions. However they are also ruthless, manipulative and destructive.

Equinox reports on techniques developed by psychologists to work out whether a person is psychopathic and shows how brain scientists are coming close to mapping the malfunctions in the brain that cause a person to be a psychopath. In Britain one person in 200 is likely to be a psychopath. However psychopaths are thought to be responsible for half of all reported crimes and to make up between 15% and 20% of the prison population.

The programme looks at the most recent research into the brains and behaviour of psychopaths and assesses the prospects for the treatment or containment of this antisocial group of people who create such a disproportionate amount of destruction. Psychopaths who have been convicted of appalling crimes explain with disturbing clarity what motivated them in their violent and destructive behaviour. They speak without shame, guilt, remorse or empathy with their victims. Though they are articulate and, at times, plausible and charming, they lack the range of emotions experienced by the rest of society. They know the difference between right and wrong but they do not feel it.

Robert Hare, Professor of Psychology at the University of Vancouver, has devised a system of assessment called the Psychopathy Checklist. In specialised interviews, psychologists assess individuals on a scale of 0 to 40 for a series of character traits, including callousness, superficial charm, lack of empathy and many others (for more detail look at How to recognise a psychopath). Anyone whose score is greater than 26 is diagnosed as psychopathic.

Equinox: Psychopath, 9.3 out of 10 based on 42 ratings

Related Documentaries

From The Web

  • Tess V.

    I do believe that in today’s society we would like to feel we can “fix” everything, that everything is treatable. I also believe, as one of the professionals voiced in this film, that pyschopaths are not made, they are born, i.e. I don’t think that claims of childhood abuse or injury or whatever are valid. I noted throughout how the first man we saw who had purposely led/enticed his brother into a deadly chase, he spoke about doing that, it seems causing his brother’s demise, he expressed no regret about it, if anything he seemed to want our admiration of his cunning to engage the brother in killing himself in a roundabout way. There he voiced no emotion or regret. Yet, as has been pointed out, and as evidenced again by this person, they can be very manipulative. They are intelligent enough and in-touch enough with how OTHERS THINK AND FEEL that they try to mimic those thoughts and expressions, they know the RIGHT WORDS TO SAY to hopefully lead you to believe what they are telling you. In this case, this same man was very motivated (I think sometimes they may not manipulate or try to deceive you unless there is something to be gained by it, if you have nothing to offer they would feel they wasted their time trying to convince you about them, unless they do so for sport, sort of, or as a demonstration to themselves how very good they are at “doing”/reading people. But this man was motivated to be convincing and to, as he said, get in touch with his shortcomings and now he’s seen how to fix them, so you see, he is building a case for himself to be released. “You needn’t fear me or worry, I have seen my shortcomings and I now know how to fix them”. Which is b.s. frankly, he doesn’t believe or mean a word that he says, he’s doing it to use you for his own purpose or goal: freedom. Yet as someone noted, they can be quite charming so in today’s liberal society where we think everyone is good, everyone deserves a chance to be “one of us”, the temptation and the likelihood would be that we believe him, set him free to try again now that he has “seen the way”. Which would obviously be a mistake as his words were empty and hollow.

    All in all an alarming scenario especially for those who don’t even have a clue that you might be lying or manipulating. It’s the classic “users” and unwitting victims.

    Not a happy thought. Sometimes the truth “sucks”.

  • http://www.dicontiforhire.com Jeninediconti

    I give this video 2 thumbs up!!!!!! Five star! I do wish they would have covered how families must deal with psychopaths.Until they can do something about this the judicial system needs to beef up their overall education on psychopaths in the courtroom., Whether you want to call them pathological liars, narcissists, sociopaths or cluster B’s IT IS ALL THE SAME. They are very convincing, engaging charming and pleasant in a court room. I think there should be attorneys available who SPECIALIZE in representing spouses who are trying to get custody of their child. Judges do not understand how they are consistently failing children and putting them in harms way by taking a cavalier approach and refusing to order psychological evaluations on both parents especially when one even goes so far as to request if for the both of them–not one or two visits either, they need to be met with at least 8 – 10 weeks 1 -2 days a week of both parents being evaluated, tested, and even observed closely as they interact with the child separately. Maybe there will be a part 2 that explains what some of the signs are to look for in our children. I thought they were going to touch on this for a moment but they moved on to scientific testing. I have heard from a judge friend that two important signs they were educated on about adult psychopaths are to learn if the person ever abused/tortured or killed animals or was keen on playing with fire. If a person lures an innocent dog over and the person grabs the unsuspecting dog and holds it down in order to insert a firecracker into the rectum and lights it on fire, would that not be sodomizing (torturing) an animal sexually? What if this person does it in front of their two children? This man today talks about it like its a fond memory and it brings a smile to the persons face…isnt that somewhat an indicator there is no emotion attached to the pain of that animal or the children who are probably going along with it because they are the parent and feel obligated to participate by standing there and watching.

    I think the psychopaths who are not locked up are more likely the more sneaky dangerous and intelligent manipulative type of psychopaths leaving a path of destruction behind each relationship after they have been caught lying, cheating, having affairs, conning other women, lying to family, threatening, physically abusing, manipulating and l embellishing.

    This was the best video I have seen so far on cluster B type personalities. However, I know it is not likely will be able to get my child away from the person who has been diagnosed and rediagnosed, simply because he has no medical records and/or follow up visits. The courts have a time frame and we are not allowed to go back more than 10 years into medical. This person was ordered 13 years ago to vacate and never go near the child of the ex spouse.

    • bluemanchester

       I feel your pain. However, it seems as though your experience has clouded your opinion of the documentary. Anecdotal evidence like yours is invaluable in many instances. The film tries to examine the worth of varying types of approach to understanding what psychopathy  entails…lets hope through collaboration such understanding can lead to effective treatment on some level.

  • Layla

     We can all guestimate the hows and whys and whats of how a run of the mill killer ticks but its both enigmatic and interesting of learning what makes someone with no moral compass gets his kicks.

  • Layla

     I’m not really sure OJ should be groupped in with the rest of the psychopathic people. Yeah he was a batterer/charmer yada yada yada.  But then if we want to group in the fact that he had no reactions to the charges why don’t we throw in Michael Peterson who threw his wife down a flight of stairs after beating her to death with a fire poker.

    • Irenluck

       Re Peterson
      Not entirely TRUE
      he pretended( I also think he s guilty) to be emoting away in the sos call to Emergency quite a bit

      BTW Thers the Owl theory now
      any thoughts on that?
      Plus dennis the Policeman did sloppy police work
      still
      I think he s guilty,Peterson
      anyway we are missing the point here really with THIS discussion

    • Ann Rhodes

      Well, I’d argue that Michael Peterson does fit the psychopath bill, though I prefer to use the term sociopath since although it is medically the same thing it doesn’t encourage the misconception that their behavior is in any way caused by psychosis. At the very least OJ has always been a pathological narcissist, and courtesy of his success I think he felt fulfilled enough by the attention to not engage in antisocial behavior.

      One interesting anecdote is that sociopaths who end up committing violence almost always experienced head trauma at some point in their lives. What most likely happens is that children are born with genes that predispose them to sociopathy, but need certain environmental triggers (mental, emotional, and physical) as children to actually end up becoming sociopaths. So while most people can compensate for injuries related to concussions, sociopaths aren’t working off of a full deck emotionally which means they need much less triggers to get them to the antisocial point. The head trauma most serial killers experienced apparently involved the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for decision making and impulse control. Naturally any further deficits experienced by sociopaths in the emotive and impulse control spectrum would logically result in committing violence.

  • Layla

     I’m not really sure OJ should be groupped in with the rest of the psychopathic people. Yeah he was a batterer/charmer yada yada yada.  But then if we want to group in the fact that he had no reactions to the charges why don’t we throw in Michael Peterson who threw his wife down a flight of stairs after beating her to death with a fire poker.

  • http://pianopiano101.com/ Leonardoswindow

    that cocktail of symptoms makes for a great political career 

  • Stanley03061973

    THESE PEOPLE HAVENT A CLUE.ONLY IFF THEY OPENED THEIR EYES NOT THERE MOUTH THEY MIGHT LEARN,HAVE THEY EVER STOP TOO THINK SOMETHING MIGHT BE STUFFING WITH THEM,I HAVE BEEN GETTING TORMENT FOR 16 YEARS NOW BY SOME TROUBLE MAKERS,I HAVE THE BEST PROOF ON EARTH,THEY WONT GO PUBLIC WITH IT ,BECAUSE THEY DONT HAVE A CLUE,WELL I HAVE A CLUE,I KNOW EVERYTHING TOO A TEE,SOMETHING I DONT BUT MOST THINGS I DO,PLEASE GO HERE YOU WILL CHANGE YOUR HOLE LIFE,I DONT HAVE KNOW SYMPATHY FOR ANY PERSON THAT HAS GONE OUT DELIBERATLY TO KILL SOME 1 OR MANY.SUFFER YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN MIND,BURN FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE,
    PLEASE LOOK BUT BE PREPARED FOR A CHANGE.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/stanley03061973

    • Ann Rhodes

      Put down the YouTube, and stick with the Zyprexa.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eltolley Eric Tolley

        Or pick up a dictionary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Cochrane/1434597440 Paul Cochrane

    SCIENTIST HAVENT A CLUE,I WILL BE CHANGEING THE NAME TO SOLUTIONISTS,
    I WILL MAKE SURE IT GOES DOWN IN HISTORY
    http://www.youtube.com/user/stanley03061973

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Cochrane/1434597440 Paul Cochrane

    EVERY1 BECOMES A PSYCHOPATHS THEN IF YA LOOK AT THE stanford exper
    iment then these scientists havent a clue

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brent-Scott/100000551775643 Brent Scott

    Given that we know that damaged brains can sometimes physiologically compensate for whatever damage has led to a given symptom, thereby correcting it, I’m wondering why this wouldn’t be possible with psychopathy. Also, given that there tends to be some sort of basic structure with seems to dispossess the psychopath from the emotions which we would qualify as being normal, I’m wondering whether or not this structure might be broken down and rearranged so that the structure could give rise to the appropriate emotions. This is sort of a mixed physiological/psychological question.