Science & Tech

Scientists have discovered how to identify a psychopath

Scientists have discovered how to identify a psychopath
This head movement will tell you if a woman is a psychopath, …
New York Post / VideoElephant

How do you spot a psychopath? According to one new study, there’s one recognisable sign.

New research suggests that levels of head movement during a conversation could be an indicator.

Scientists researching in New Mexico conducted a study by observing recordings of women in police interviews.

Just like with men, they found that the most psychopathic among those interviewed kept their heads very still during conversation.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico's Department of Psychology in Albuquerque claim to have conducted the first study into indicators of psychopaths in women.

They said in the study, Personality and Individual Differences: “Nonverbal behaviors (i.e., head dynamics) represent an important, yet understudied, form of communication that may enhance our ability to detect certain forms of psychopathology, including psychopathy.

“We believe our results help identify a unique pattern of head dynamics characteristic of women scoring high on psychopathy, specifically, exhibiting more stationary head positioning during clinical interview administration.”

Scientists involved in the study used image processing and machine learning tool to record the head movements of 213 incarcerated women who were told they were being filmed.

Lack of head movement has been analysed by scientists before as being an indicator of psychopathic tendencies in men before – but the same studies have not been conducted on women before now.

“Capturing nonverbal communication cues, such as head dynamics, in a research setting may not necessarily mirror those demonstrated during day-to-day interactions,' researchers wrote.

Meanwhile, a previous study showed a correlation between a specific coffee order and sadist or psychopathic tendencies.

Sign up for our free indy100 weekly newsletter

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings

The Conversation (0)