Saturday, November 10, 2012

All In

This is creepy to watch given the recent news about Paula Broadwell's affair with (now former) CIA director Petraeus -- her husband is also in the video. Breaking news -- the FBI got involved when Broadwell threatened another woman close to Petraeus via email.

It's disproportionately sociopaths at (and near) the top -- see also Lance Armstrong and Penn State scandal (especially the most recent grand jury presentment). If you watched this Daily Show segment when it first aired you probably thought Broadwell was a normal, even admirable, person. It's only under exceptional scrutiny (by the FBI, or other investigation with power to depose witnesses under oath) that the real truth comes out ...


Christopher Chang said...

Yes, this seems basically true to me. Broadwell's actions were highly destructive, but I hesitate to classify her as "sociopathic" because it's standard-issue human behavior...

LaurentMelchiorTellier said...

Very agree. My working hypothesis is that what fashion calls "sociopathy" is just the phenotype displayed by average humans when they perceive a certain kind of opportunity. Hubris is an old story.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
- Lincoln

In line with Lincoln, what's IMHO puzzling is the exceptional humans who appear to maintain high agreeableness and lack of sexualized weirdness despite privilege. These types are iMHO better classified as abnormal.

steve hsu said...

There are really two factors at work here:

1. Once you have power, you may be more tempted to do nasty things. (Power corrupts, etc.)
2. Individuals who manage to climb the power ladder (who have the drive or cunning to do so) may be more likely to be sociopaths.

Re: 2, IIRC one study has the rate of sociopathy among CEOs at about 4x that in the general population.

dwbudd said...

The term "sociopath" has a pretty precise meaning. I think it is being pretty casually (and carelessly) thrown around here.

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