Friday, May 13, 2005

That explains it

The New York Times, in an op-ed titled The Tipping Point, states what most of us already know from experience. Prominent public people, especially chief executives or high-level politicians, are just this side of nuts, or prison. We've had several executives recently on trial for stepping over that line, and not a few politicians too.

There has been anecdotal and case-study evidence suggesting that successful business executives share personality characteristics with psychopaths. The question is, are the characteristics that make up personality disorders fundamentally different from the characteristics of extreme personalities we see in everyday life, or do they differ only in degree?

A 2001 study found that mental patients, prison inmates and business executives shared many traits, according to the article. However, there were some differences:

The executives were significantly more likely to demonstrate characteristics associated with histrionic personality disorder, like superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulativeness. They were also significantly less likely to demonstrate physical aggression, irresponsibility with work and finances, lack of remorse and impulsiveness.