Study: 'Psychopaths' Have an Impaired Sense of Smell

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    Sep 24, 2012 5:45 PM GMT
    Another way to identify the sociopaths amongst us? (and for the record I can distinguish those smells - like coffee, orange and leather - as described in the original paper - quite well thank you very much!)

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920115739.htm

    Mahmut and Stevenson looked at whether a poor sense of smell was linked to higher levels of psychopathic tendencies, among 79 non-criminal adults living in the community. First they assessed the participants' olfactory ability as well as the sensitivity of their olfactory system. They also measured subjects' levels of psychopathy, looking at four measures: manipulation; callousness; erratic lifestyles; and criminal tendencies. They also noted how much or how little they emphasized with other people's feelings.

    The researchers found that those individuals who scored highly on psychopathic traits were more likely to struggle to both identify smells and tell the difference between smells, even though they knew they were smelling something. These results show that brain areas controlling olfactory processes are less efficient in individuals with psychopathic tendencies.

    The authors conclude: "Our findings provide support for the premise that deficits in the front part of the brain may be a characteristic of non-criminal psychopaths. Olfactory measures represent a potentially interesting marker for psychopathic traits, because performance expectancies are unclear in odor tests and may therefore be less susceptible to attempts to fake good or bad responses."
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    Sep 24, 2012 6:16 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidAnother way to identify the sociopaths amongst us? (and for the record I can distinguish those smells - like coffee, orange and leather - as described in the original paper - quite well thank you very much!)

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920115739.htm

    Mahmut and Stevenson looked at whether a poor sense of smell was linked to higher levels of psychopathic tendencies, among 79 non-criminal adults living in the community. First they assessed the participants' olfactory ability as well as the sensitivity of their olfactory system. They also measured subjects' levels of psychopathy, looking at four measures: manipulation; callousness; erratic lifestyles; and criminal tendencies. They also noted how much or how little they emphasized with other people's feelings.

    The researchers found that those individuals who scored highly on psychopathic traits were more likely to struggle to both identify smells and tell the difference between smells, even though they knew they were smelling something. These results show that brain areas controlling olfactory processes are less efficient in individuals with psychopathic tendencies.

    The authors conclude: "Our findings provide support for the premise that deficits in the front part of the brain may be a characteristic of non-criminal psychopaths. Olfactory measures represent a potentially interesting marker for psychopathic traits, because performance expectancies are unclear in odor tests and may therefore be less susceptible to attempts to fake good or bad responses."


    I wonder if the opposite is true-- a person with a very sensitive sense of smell has a heightened sense of being able to discern people's feelings. icon_surprised.gif
  • mindblank

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    Sep 24, 2012 9:41 PM GMT
    Emphasise or empathise?

    There is way too much room for error in this generalisation.

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    Sep 25, 2012 2:01 AM GMT
    mindblank saidEmphasise or empathise?

    There is way too much room for error in this generalisation.

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    are you fucking retarded? icon_rolleyes.gif

    also, what an interesting find! I guess it's only natural that the brains of psychopaths are lacking in other areas as well.
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    Sep 25, 2012 2:09 AM GMT
    I'm a psychopath and my sense of smell is just fine. I love the smell of blood!

    Lol, no but this is an interesting study.
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    Sep 25, 2012 3:02 AM GMT
    riddler78 said "Another way to identify the sociopaths amongst us?

    (and for the record I can distinguish those smells - like coffee, orange and leather - as described in the original paper - quite well thank you very much!) "


    GOOD FOR YOU, riddler.

    You can fart around Southbeach without his realizing it.



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    Sep 25, 2012 3:21 AM GMT
    this is one of many research studies on psychopathy.... another finding is that they tend to have an impaired ability to discern people's emotions based on their facial expressions. Perhaps not such a surprising finding in some ways.... but still and interesting finding.
  • bischero

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    Sep 25, 2012 3:39 AM GMT
    I love all research that focuses on psychopathy. Thanks for sharing!!! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 25, 2012 4:10 AM GMT
    That also means anyone who's done too much coke would be a psycho...
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    Sep 25, 2012 5:06 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    makavelli saidThat also means anyone who's done too much coke would be a psycho...


    Stop, hun. You're incriminating yourself.


    Now...go wipe your nose and face.

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  • bischero

    Posts: 847

    Sep 25, 2012 5:30 AM GMT
    makavelli saidThat also means anyone who's done too much coke would be a psycho...


    No. Loss in olfactory sensation does not equal increase in psychopathy. An example would be tremor - just because you suffer some sort of tremor does not mean that you have Parkinson's disease.


    You're born with psychopathy. You're not born someone who uses coke (most of the time, anyway).
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    Sep 25, 2012 5:31 AM GMT
    ZbmwM5 saidthis is one of many research studies on psychopathy.... another finding is that they tend to have an impaired ability to discern people's emotions based on their facial expressions. Perhaps not such a surprising finding in some ways.... but still and interesting finding.


    I'm not sure if that study is true... psychopaths are very observant individuals who can learn what ticks people off and what makes them happy faster than other people would. While they are not good at experiencing the emotions that the others are experiencing through sympathy/empathy, they pretty much learn to observe and identify people's emotions from their gestures and facial expressions to a point where they can mimic it or use it to their advantage whenever necessary.
  • bischero

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    Sep 25, 2012 5:36 AM GMT
    stevee90 said
    ZbmwM5 saidthis is one of many research studies on psychopathy.... another finding is that they tend to have an impaired ability to discern people's emotions based on their facial expressions. Perhaps not such a surprising finding in some ways.... but still and interesting finding.


    I'm not sure if that study is true... psychopaths are very observant individuals who can learn what ticks people off and what makes them happy faster than other people would. While they are not good at experiencing the emotions that the others are experiencing through sympathy/empathy, they pretty much learn to observe and identify people's emotions from their gestures and facial expressions to a point where they can mimic it or use it to their advantage whenever necessary.


    You're right. Seems like the jury is still out. Re:

    Pham, Thierry H. Philippot, Pierre ; Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol 24(4), Aug, 2010. pp. 445-459. [Journal Article] Abstract: To examine whether psychopaths exhibit specific deficits in nonverbal emotional processing, 20 criminal psychopaths, 23 criminal nonpsychopaths, both groups identified with Hare's (2003) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, and 25 noncriminals completed the facial affect recognition test developed by Philippot et al. (1999). All participants were males. The criminal psychopaths and nonpsy-chopaths were confined in a high-security prison. Forty slides were presented on a computer screen, each representing a male or a female actor portraying facial expressions of happiness, anger, sadness, fear, or disgust. Facial stimuli varied in emotional intensity (0%, 30%, 70%, and 100%). Overall, both criminal groups were less accurate than controls in decoding facial expression of emotion. Analysis of covariance showed that this effect is accounted for by differences in level of education of the participants. While criminal nonpsychopaths did not differ from criminal psychopaths in term of overall accuracy, they were less accurate for amygdalian emotion than for nonamygdalian ones. Criminal psychopaths' performance, however, was not affected by the amygdalian nature of the facial display. This pattern of results is opposed to the Blair's amygdalian hypothesis.


    Erickson, Shannon C. ; Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, Vol 71(1-B), 2010. pp. 655. [Dissertation] Abstract: Past research has implicated facial affect recognition (FAR) impairments and emotion processing deficiencies as associated features of psychopathy. Blair has put forth a model of psychopathy that considers the role that FAR impairments may have in the development of this personality disorder in the Violence Inhibition Mechanism (VIM) and the Integrated Emotions System (IES) models. The present study examined the impact of affective priming on accuracy and response times (RT's) in the identification of emotional expressions in high psychopathy and low psychopathy participants. The expected deficits in the identification of distress cues were not evidenced among psychopaths. Psychopaths generally had slower response times in identifying emotions. There was a differential effect between the groups with psychopathic individuals demonstrating a facilitative effect for the neutral prime whereas the fear prime resulted in either no differences or in increased RT's for several emotions. Possible theoretical explanations and methodological considerations for the current results are discussed. Further empirical questions and research avenues are considered.


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    Note: the most recent one, however, was a dissertation thesis. The study did not come from a peer reviewed journal.
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    Sep 25, 2012 5:42 AM GMT
    I have a highly impaired lack of smell. This does not bode well!
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    Sep 25, 2012 5:55 AM GMT
    Drama queens have an impaired sense of judgement... is there a connection?