Month: September 2016

Review of reading

This post discusses three psychology-related articles I have read recently.

The Independent reports that 1 in 5 corporate bosses are psychopaths. This rate was found in research by Nathan Brooks from Bond University in Australia, and is roughly the same as that among the prison population. Even more surprising is that the number of psychopaths (a condition often referred to as antisocial personality disorder) among the general population is just 1-4%. One possible reason for this is that the structure of the corporate world encourages cold-headed risk taking and a lack of empathy/sympathy and  this suits psychopaths, while their superficial charm can make them more likely to get hired. However the article noted that short-term success of such individuals may come at the cost of longer-term failure as they take excessive risks without regard for the consequences. Other occupations with an over-representation of psychopaths are sports and politics.

A second article was about introverts, one of the main personality traits that are recognized in psychology. According to the author, Susan Krauss-Whitbourne, many people don’t admit or acknowledge that they are introverts. She provided nine signs that might suggest that you are an introvert after all. For example, do you do your best thinking when alone? This article is helpful as it gets away from some of the inaccurate negative stereotypes of introversion, such as the idea that introverts don’t like other people. As Susan Cain said in her book ‘Quiet’, the world is set up to suit extraverts – so much so that people might convince themselves that they are one, and suffer as a result.

The third article I looked at was based on a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), which had found that 1 in 5 Americans avoid some of their colleagues because of political differences. This problem is perhaps worse at the moment due to the election year, and in addition the controversial nature of the two main presidential candidates. A significant proportion of workers also reported that their work quality had been adversely affected. Most are pragmatic, however – the survey found that over half of workers simply avoid talking about politics at work.