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The two key traits of a psychopath are being callous and unemotional.

Being callous means having a cruel disregard for others.

Callous people lack compassion, are cold-blooded and heartless.

On top of this, psychopaths typically have difficulty responding to the emotions of others in a normal way — they also appear unemotional themselves.

For example, psychopaths tend to show no feeling when they see others in pain.

Despite popular belief, being a psychopath does not automatically make someone a criminal — although it does help.

Common signs of a psychopath

Around one in 200 people is a psychopath.

However, many more people than that share some traits with psychopaths.

Common signs of psychopaths include:

Causes of psychopathy

Psychopathy is probably a result of many different factors interacting.

Some of the main ones are:

It is striking that all criminal psychopaths have a history of grotesque physical and/or psychological abuse during childhood.


There are few systematic treatments for all psychopaths, only for specific types, such as violent offenders.

Most psychopaths are not interested in changing themselves because they believe there is nothing wrong with them.

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