Understanding Psychopathy A Little Better
I decided that I wanted to do a little studying of psychopaths, since I’m writing a novel involving serial killer. I heard about a book by journalist Jon Ronson called “The Psychopath Test” and decided to take a look at it. I learned a lot (but I won’t be doing a review of it for my own reasons):
For instance, while “psychopath” and “sociopath” are practically interchangeable terms, “psychopaths” and “serial killers” aren’t, which I think some people believe. Serial killers may suffer from any of a hole host of mental disorders besides psychopathy (bipolar, delusions, schizophrenia, psychosis, etc), or they may just be motivated by the usual suspects for committing crimes: greed, anger, or for a thrill. Psychopaths are individuals who are unable to feel emotions, probably due to a problem in their amygdala.
I also learned a few things about diagnosing psychopaths, including checklists used to identify psychopaths (which, if you should get your hands on one, you should not use thinking it’s a wonder tool for diagnosing killers; only trained professionals can really make use of those checklists, and usually in tandem with several other tools, including history of violence, interviews with patients, and several other factors. It still didn’t stop me from trying to diagnose real and fictional people, though). And the theory of psychopaths as some of the top people on Wall Street and in major corporations was explored, with some very interesting conclusions.
So, how does this relate to Snake? Well, I can say this much; my serial killer is not a psychopath (though another character certainly is!). However, he probably is suffering from another mental disorder, and I have no idea what it could be, so I’ll have to check it out once I find somebody who can give me an idea of what a profiler might think of my character based on just his murders. If you know anyone like that who could help, please don’t hesitate to tell me.