Using Speech Patterns to Detect Psychopaths

Using Speech Patterns to Detect Psychopaths

November 22, 2011 11:05 am 1 comment

Hannibal

With regard to psychopaths, “We think the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ are about putting the mask of sanity on,” Hancock told LiveScience.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which also included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote.

As they expected, the psychopaths’ language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including “because” and “so that,” are associated with cause-and-effect statements.

“This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that ‘had’ to be done to achieve a goal),” the authors write.

And finally, while most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence.

MSNBC: How to spot psychopaths: Speech patterns give them away

Bruce Schneier writes: “I worry about people being judged by these criteria. Psychopaths make up about 1% of the population, so even a small false-positive rate can be a significant problem.”

See also: The Rise of Predictive Policing: Police Using Statistics to Predict Crime

1 Comment

  • Correlation does not equal causation. This strikes me more as something along the lines of “A larger than average number of criminals eat tomatoes. Therefore if you eat tomatoes it means you’re more likely to be a criminal”. Also, 52 people really isn’t a very big sample, and the sample is biased toward a certain slice of convicts. How might this compare to a control group of non-convicts? What about confounds?

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