A psychopath is defined as an anti-social personality disorder. The individual who is identified as a psychopath would show signs of manipulation and violation towards others. While it is not an official diagnosis, different tests can be done to tell if a person is a psychopath or not.
According to researchers, since psychopaths are devoid of feeling any empathy, they are also immune to the sympathetic response. Additionally, they found out that psychopaths are resistant to contagious yawns and startling.
Is That Person a Psychopath?
If you know someone who is quite nasty and vile and are wondering why they are that way, you might want to try the yawn test on them.
According to Brian Rundle, a behavioral scientist at Baylor University, people with psychopathic personality traits do not always catch the contagious yawn. It is said that the process of yawning when you see someone else doing it is a very primitive response. If someone near you yawns, you are more likely to yawn too. This behavior is also seen in other mammals like chimps and dogs. In addition, normal people find it difficult to resist yawning.
Rundle also points that this test is not the definitive way to diagnose psychopaths. It will take more than just a yawning test to give a definitive diagnosis. (Source: Today)
Brian Rundle’s Study on the Yawn Test
Rundle and his team gathered 135 students for the study. The subjects were made to fill out a standard assessment called the Psychopathic Personality Inventory. The questions in the evaluation were specifically designed to identify traits such as selfishness, cruelty, aggression, impulsivity, aggression, and empathy.
Students that scored 50 percent and below were categorized as normal. Some subjects in the study scored extremely low, and some reached the 90th percentile.
People high in psychopathic traits may just be hard to connect with, it doesn’t mean they are malicious individuals.Brian Rundle
The next part of the study was the yawning test. The subjects were asked to sit in front of a screen in a dark room with noise-canceling headphones. They watched videos of different facial expressions; laughing, yawning, and neutral. Their reactions were then recorded with electrodes attached to several points on their face.
Subjects that scored low on the assessment were twice as likely to yawn than those who scored high. The number of participants in the study was not enough to make a conclusion. Further research is needed with a larger population. (Source: Today)
Why Do We Yawn?
Scientists don’t know why we yawn. What they do know is that certain parts of our brain are involved in the process. Steven Platek, an associate professor of psychology at the Georgia Gwinnett College, said that contagious yawning is one of the most instinctual kinds of empathic processes.
I tell my friends jokingly, if you’re looking for a romantic partner, one of the things you can do is test them for contagious yawning. It’s associated with empathy and the one thing you want is someone empathetic and caring, i.e., not someone who is sociopathic.Steven Platek