Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Correlating Psychopathy With Speech Patterns

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the goal-oriented dept.

Science 270

florescent_beige writes "Researchers from Cornell and UBC report that analysis of speech patterns using Wmatrix, along with something called the Dictionary of Affect in Language (see a demo here), shows that psychopaths speak differently from other people, at least statistically (abstract). Although they say that these differences are 'presumably beyond conscious control,' the authors do not say if the method has any predictive use. Regardless, the popular press has already gone headline-nonlinear about it."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

PR Stunt (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 years ago | (#37723676)

"Hungry like the wolf: A word-pattern analysis of the language of psychopaths," Legal and Criminological Psychology

With an irresponsible paper title like that, the authors were inviting a media circus. We're talking about research into people with mental disorder here, not a new friday night drama series.

Re:PR Stunt (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37723700)

Eh, it is difficult to predict which papers will create a media firestorm and which won't. It often only seems obvious in retrospect that a given subject will be the sort that creates a media circus. This is a form of hindsight bias.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindsight_bias [wikipedia.org] . Paper titles that are descriptive, amusing and more memorable are not a bad thing.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 3 years ago | (#37723716)

Psychopathy is not a "mental disorder." Most psychopaths don't consider themselves sick.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | about 3 years ago | (#37723724)

As do most people who have a mental disorder, unless they are directly confronted with it.

Re:PR Stunt (4, Informative)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 years ago | (#37723748)

The disorder, disease, or syndrome label works under the assumption that there is something wrong with the person in question. However, many things classed as those don't mean the person thinks incorrectly, but rather differently. It wasn't too long ago that homosexuality was considered a mental disorder in the DSM.

Re:PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724074)

So you're equating homosexuality and psychopathy?

Re:PR Stunt (2)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 3 years ago | (#37724410)

Ah, no the only one who made that connection was you. He was pointing out in the medical manual that describes mental disorders, homosexuality was classified as such until recently. I didn't really read anything else into the statement of fact.

Re:PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724296)

No, the GP is correct. Popular entertainment notwithstanding, in order for a mental state to be qualified as a disorder the DSM states that the state of mind must be considered detrimental by the owner of said mind.

A judge may rule on the state of mind of an accused and may call his disposition sick, afflicted, or perverse. But a judge can not declare disorder, only a physician can. It's one of the reasons why declaring "disorder" can be a mitigating factor in sentencing: it implies an acknowledgement of wrongdoing by the accused (theoretically -- keep the US legal system out of it please)..

Re:PR Stunt (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37723788)

And 100% of those with severe delusional disorders don't consider themselves sick. That's not the right argument for psychopathy not being illness.

Re:PR Stunt (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723808)

"Most psychopaths don't consider themselves sick."

Agreed, they consider themselves politicians.

Re:PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723902)

Although funny, you sort of missed that. It is sociopaths that are politicians, not psychopaths. Since I am in the correcting mood, I guess we really mean antisocial personality disorder (which is what they call sociopaths now).

Re:PR Stunt (1)

arielCo (995647) | about 3 years ago | (#37724208)

[Most] politicians claim to consider themselves public servants, and in reality consider themselves "winners", which is code for "sociopaths".

WHere did they find the control group? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37723932)

How do they know the control group wasn't psychopaths? Maybe what they are measuring is the speech pattern differences in relaxed "out of the closet" pyscopaths versus psychopaths in hiding.

Re:WHere did they find the control group? (2)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37724250)

Psychopathy is rare. Any decent sized random sample of college students would suffice as a control.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 3 years ago | (#37723916)

"Hungry like the wolf: A word-pattern analysis of the language of psychopaths," Legal and Criminological Psychology

With an irresponsible paper title like that, the authors were inviting a media circus. We're talking about research into people with mental disorder here, not a new friday night drama series.

I assume the title is referring to the eponymous main character of Steppenwolf, a Hermann Hesse novel about a man who might be described as a psychopath.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37723986)

I'd make a different assumption:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_Like_the_Wolf [wikipedia.org]

Re:PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724100)

That just makes you stupid and incapable of seeing past the literal.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37724166)

Insult with no argument = troll.
Weak one, though.

Re:PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723924)

To better suit the nature of psychopaths they should have called it "Hungry like the Somali: a word-pattern analysis comedy, staring me, John Carberry. Also directed by me, John Carberry"

like the wolf, hungry you are (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37723946)

As Yoda's evil twin would say.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 3 years ago | (#37724092)

Experts in this domain do not consider psychopaths as sick people! Regardless of what you and I might consider normal and not, it is not our job to determine who is and who is not sick. Are you saying that the psychopath who never committed a crime before, and only left a trail of lets say 'damaged relationships' be put in an asylum ? because if he is sick, that's where he should go!

Re:PR Stunt (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37724242)

That requires a citation. Psychopathy is an illness, it's not presently curable and the only methods of treatment tend to just result in more abhorrent behavior. The diagnosis itself has been folded into another diagnosis and there's still some controversy as to how precisely to categorize it, but it's extremely clear that it is indeed a type of mental illness.

Some professionals do indeed consider it a moral judgment, but it's really not any more of a moral judgment than any of the other diagnoses they use on a regular basis.

first draft syndrome (3, Insightful)

epine (68316) | about 3 years ago | (#37723678)

When I was younger, I used "because" and "since" in my writing about twice as often. Never terribly pleased by the effect--that's just how it came out. They are fairly weak transitions, useful mostly if you want a weak transition which detracts less from a central element.

This excess tapered off as I became more deeply immersed in my subject matter with age and experience. In my own history, these words were sign posts of incomplete thinking.

Re:first draft syndrome (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 3 years ago | (#37723722)

My guess, reciting facts as you are learning vs. understanding a subject. A is A because of B (memorized.) vs A is A in relation to B when.... (understood)

Re:first draft syndrome (4, Funny)

fey000 (1374173) | about 3 years ago | (#37723790)

I often use the term "Kill the whores!" when excited and "Demons are coming to rape my skull!" when leaving. Does this classify me as a psychopath or just an average academic?

Re:first draft syndrome (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37723870)

I often use the term "Kill the whores!" when excited and "Demons are coming to rape my skull!" when leaving. Does this classify me as a psychopath or just an average academic?

Yes.

Re:first draft syndrome (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 3 years ago | (#37723890)

Does this classify me as a psychopath or just an average academic?

Wikipedia is your friend. [wikipedia.org]

Psychopathy (/saÉËkÉ'pÉ(TM)Îi/[1][2]) is a mental disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are very disproportionately responsible for violent crime. Though lacking empathy and emotional depth, they often manage to pass themselves off as normal people by feigning emotions and lying about their pasts.

Re:first draft syndrome (2)

flosofl (626809) | about 3 years ago | (#37723894)

Actually (to be a buzz kill and totally ruin the joke... sorry), that means you're psychotic, not psychopathic.

Re:first draft syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723940)

On the contrary, this seems to be his missing punchline.

Re:first draft syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724054)

Or possibly because you grew out of your psychopathic tendencies. :-)

Re:first draft syndrome (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37724470)

ever terribly pleased by the effect--that's just how it came out. They are fairly weak transitions,

IF you're still interested in improving the power and directness of your writing, work on removing excess "just" and "fairly" qualifiers.

Erdoki fajoh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723680)

Erdoki fajoh!

Gelmerum folpu...

What's the rate of false positives? (1)

hknust (67528) | about 3 years ago | (#37723704)

Dubious. A statistical significance to a pattern is merely an indicator of an actual relationship.

Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | about 3 years ago | (#37723718)

From TFA:

"psychopathic murderers make identifiable word choices – beyond their conscious control – when talking about their crimes."

So we aren't talking about all psychos, just the murdering ones. And apparently only about how they refer to their crimes. But they immediately make the jump to using it as a predictive tool on social media, making it sound like you could scan peoples' Facebook postings and play "spot the killer".

Seems like a troll to me. Shame on you Cornell University Press Relations.

Re:Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 3 years ago | (#37723730)

Repeat after me,

Just because A implies B, does not mean that B implies A.

( A = Identifiable word choices, B = Psychopathic Murderers ).

Re:Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723740)

Another issue is that Psycopath isn't really the term used anymore. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to use the current psychological terms!

Re:Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724050)

DSM-V is trying to continue to use the term.

Re:Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37723798)

You got A and B backward.

Literate = Psychopath... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723750)

It says that psychopaths use more connecting conjunctions than average people, words like "since" and "because".

In other words they speak better English than the average no-clause baby talk people use when they're not writing.

Yay, this means that when courts are abusing the latest research into psychopaths to decide how to punish people, intelligent people will be treated worse. They're already misusing research like this.

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 3 years ago | (#37723802)

If that applies across languages then the worst psychopaths are German philosophers who could go for entire pages without ending a sentence.

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723838)

Sounds like someone is upset they didn't get an A in their philosophy classes for not being able to follow Heidegger's investigations on language....

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723996)

Hegel->Striner->Nietzsche->Hitler
Hegel->Marx->Stalin
Leo Strauss->Dick Cheney & D. Rumsfeld.

I think maybe German philosophers are the worst

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723816)

Typical Psychopath speech patterns:

"Let me clear"
"Make no mistake."
"Change isn't easy. "
"It won't happen overnight. "
"There will be setbacks and false starts."
"Raise taxes."

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (2)

nothousebroken (2481470) | about 3 years ago | (#37723862)

To continue your point. TFA says: "psychopaths often use cause-and-effect descriptors"

So do scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 3 years ago | (#37724010)

A lot of people in the top echelons of Al-Qaeda are/were trained engineers and doctors.

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (2)

swalve (1980968) | about 3 years ago | (#37724456)

For their emotions and actions. "I killed the bunny because Mary wouldn't take her underpants off." It is a deviation from the average (greater than the standard deviation, I assume). Whatever the causes are, psychopaths feel a greater than normal need to justify their behavior and feelings via external references.

Re:Literate = Psychopath... (2)

pdworkin (149070) | about 3 years ago | (#37724140)

It's virtually impossible to draw conclusions about any paper from its abstract. Has anyone seen the full text? If so, can you report to us how this experiment was conducted, what the data were, and how they were analyzed? If not, we are all shouting down a well.

All psychopaths... (2)

s-whs (959229) | about 3 years ago | (#37723780)

I think this is true for all of them. A psychopath just doesn't give a damn about anyone else. This is what you can identify him by.

I have no doubt that the biggest a-holes you can think of are all psychopaths. Possibly more or less by definition even though psychopaths/socipaths can be recognized by brain pattern.

I said it before on slashdot, that a good way to know someone is like this, even when he tries to hide his nature to fit in as psychopaths/sociopaths do, is by looking at reversible arguments.

George W.Bush for example when the elections were not settled and he said that Gore should let him get on with what he needed to do... As the vote count was close, Gore could have given the exact argument to Bush. Of course such reversible arguments are non-arguments, and such a-holes like Bush use them because they can't hide their identity well enough. They have a set of ways of acting and reacting which fools some people, but not those who take note.

A Horizon programme (BBC, UK) recently talked about psychopaths in "Are you good or are you evil" and these people are often in boards of companies, or high level bosses or whatever. A way they said they could identify these psychopaths is by the fact that half the people working for such a person hates him, the other half think he (she?) is great. This already shows the claim they made psychopaths are hard to spot is BS. People who look at the way people speak, the feeling/emotion in it I mean, know immediately when someone is a psychopath.

Re:All psychopaths... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723876)

To paraphrase Judge Judy:

Q: How can you tell when a politician/CEO is a psychopath?

A: Their lips are moving.

Re:All psychopaths... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723888)

"I think this is true for all of them. A psychopath just doesn't give a damn about anyone else. This is what you can identify him by. "

You can't identify them easily, they can fake empathy and remorse quite well.
There are over 12 million psychopaths in the United States, 4% of the population.
Remember that, if you boast having 4000 Facebook friends, over a hundred of them are psychopaths.

All of them! Every last one of them! (0)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#37723906)

Ah. So by your analysis it seems, psychopaths are someone who you disagree with politically, may use a particular form of argument that most polticians use at some point or that a lot of people who've met them don't like.

Thus, Martin Luther King must have been a psychopath because quite a number of people (politicians and officials), especially in the south disgreed with him politically, didn't like him regardless that they'd met with him and he used a wide variety of argument styles as needed for his cause.

So, you have figured out how easy it is to find psychopaths where trained professionals fail. Maybe you should get a grant and write a paper. You'll make millions advising law enforcement and mental health care centers.

But, isn't it a little more likely you're just rationalizing your preexisting viewpoints?

Re:All of them! Every last one of them! (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 3 years ago | (#37724402)

I think the point is, you don't get into positions of great power like that without stepping on a lot of people and totally throwing out your innate sense of right and wrong...which you probably didn't have in the first place. That goes for both Bush and Gore.

Re:All psychopaths... (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 3 years ago | (#37723920)

If you're going to argue from hindsight that a certain behavior is/was a predictor for psychopathy, you need to pick a target who's been formally identified as a psychopath. Bush may have been an ass, but so far as I know he's not been diagnosed as a psychopath (neither has Gore, again as far as I know). So using either of them in your argument is just political grandstanding and detracts from your argument, IMO.

Re:All psychopaths... (5, Funny)

flosofl (626809) | about 3 years ago | (#37723934)

Your relationship with Logic makes me think you met it once at a party, shook its hand to be polite, and then moved on to talk to all the interesting people never giving it a second thought.

Re:All psychopaths... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724096)

Isn't it a mistake to conflate psychopathy and sociopathy? Both are linked to antisocial personality disorder, but it's not at all given that they're the same thing.

Re:All psychopaths... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724350)

I think this is true for all of them. A psychopath just doesn't give a damn about anyone else. This is what you can identify him by.

I thought that was considered to be the Human instinct - survival. I guess psychopaths are the ones that verbalize it and possibly implementing it instead of ONLY implementing it, like every Human does.

I can already see it... "Joe said he did things 'because' of something else all of the time. Over 1 million times, easy. Then one day he killed a person. We should have known all along that he was a psychopath!"

So, in other words, I shouldn't speak what is truly on my mind if I don't want to be viewed as a psychopath. Gotcha.

Re:Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37723982)

Inconveniently(but understandably) the population available for research tends to skew very heavily toward the sorts of psychopaths whose behavior gets them sent to prison for violent crimes.

There is abundant reason to suspect that a fair few somewhat smarter ones, who exhibit many of the same undesirable traits but know that overt violent crime usually isn't the best way to get what you want, walk among us; but locating them and convincing them to sit down for some research is tricky. The ones doing time for murder, on the other hand, aren't going anywhere and are conveniently concentrated.

It's a very unfortunate sampling bias, because the ones you can't study are exactly the ones it would be most useful to know more about. While dangerous, people prone to impulsive violence tend get weeded out by police or internecine violence comparatively quickly. The ones that are less overtly dangerous, and/or prefer legal hobbies, are not so convenient.

Re:Not psychopaths, just the murdering ones (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | about 3 years ago | (#37724138)

Seriously, the homicidal ones are a relatively small percentage of the actual APD population. It is just a larger proportion of that population than murderers in general are in the general population. Most that want people to die seem to settle on provoking reckless or suicidal behavior in others, and frequently indirectly at that. Think of it as the ultimate troll. None of that messy legal stuff happens if someone blows their own brains out or hugs a tree at 100 mph. Heck, the general consensus on such matters is usually along the lines of "He/she should have just shut up and taken it."

About time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723728)

It's about time we found more people to lock up! I mean there's been a serious drought of convictions in the last century...

How about we lock up those who lock people up? That would be new and exciting.

Re:About time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723764)

...and recursive

Liver and fava beans (1)

Steve1952 (651150) | about 3 years ago | (#37723738)

There may be something to this. Certainly if I hear someone using the terms "liver", "fava beans" and "chianti" too often in a conversation, I start to get worried.

Re:Liver and fava beans (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | about 3 years ago | (#37723860)

There may be something to this. Certainly if I hear someone using the terms "liver", "fava beans" and "chianti" too often in a conversation, I start to get worried.

I see that your bad keyword to sentence ratio is 150%.
Thanks for warning me not to go to your house for dinner.

Re:Liver and fava beans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723904)

You just can't trust actors.

Re:Liver and fava beans (2)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#37724368)

It's the "ffffssssfffssssffffsssffffsss" noise that usually tips me off.

Since a young age, I have used Linux because... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723772)

Since a young age, I have used Linux because it makes me feel physically empowered.

Also, because my friends use Linux, I feel like I am a part of something, since they use it too.

Because of the power and speed of Linux, I feel superior to those Windows and Mac users, since they are locked into a small box, where I would like them to stay...

Re:Since a young age, I have used Linux because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723812)

The second comma should be removed, otherwise you should be able to remove the middle section and have a complete/correct sentence.

Re:Since a young age, I have used Linux because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724034)

Because of the power and speed of Linux, I feel superior to those Windows and Mac users, since they are locked into a small box, where I would like them to stay... screaming... forever...

Fixed

Very Useful (0)

glorybe (946151) | about 3 years ago | (#37723804)

Not only could such a device be used to spot budding psychopaths and get them into treatment and observation it could also could get these types out of sensitive positions. The last thing we need is a general in the military with strong psychopathic tendencies and the ability to order a strike with modern weapons. Obviously psychopaths do not ask to be such and deserve respect and treatment but they also need to be in a controlled lifestyle such that Jack does not pop out of the box.

Re:Very Useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723962)

Dear glorybe,

We have analysyed your message and will shortly be detatching officers to retrieve you.

Hugs and Kisses,

Your friendly pre-cog unit
Building a safer, less psychotic society

Pre-crime by bad grammar, oh noes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723834)

I actually think this is rather spot on. I often see psychopaths on Something Awful, Portal of Evil, Encyclopedia Dramatica talk like the person in this facebook screencap: http://twitpic.com/7065mw

Obviously pointless (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#37723854)

I mean, who thought you could seriously learn about psychopathic killers from a bunch of talking heads [youtube.com] ?

A Different Analytical Method w/ Predictive Power (0)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about 3 years ago | (#37723878)

I have a different method for detecting psychopathy. It has predictive power.

Those who work for the government, big banks, big oil, and the other oligarchs are psychopaths. As a bonus, they're easy to find. So let's round them up and commit them so they can get the treatment they need.

Re:A Different Analytical Method w/ Predictive Pow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724204)

Those who "work for" big oil? Everyone from the CEO down to the roughnecks and gas station attendants? If not, how do you know where to draw the line?

Oh, that's right, you weren't making a serious diagnostic suggestion, you were just going for cheap resonant hate.

This just in: if psychopaths' lack of empathy enables them to unfairly profit at others' expense, your capitalist system is fundamentally broken, since the most basic assumption of standard capitalist economics is that actors are characterized by rational self-interest, which is precisely what psychopaths have. So instead of bitching about the psychopaths who exploit the flaws in your system, and leaving the flaws there, fix the goddamn system! On /., of all places, where we routinely mock Sony et al. for this same blame-is-easier-than-competence routine, why isn't this obvious?

Re:A Different Analytical Method w/ Predictive Pow (1)

phatlipmojo (106574) | about 3 years ago | (#37724222)

I work for the government, you insensitive clod!

Witch hunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723892)

Since this is a poorly conceived exercise concocted because a few academics were looking for more government funding, I will not pay attention to it because it will obviously lead to a witch hunt since some people simply make different word choices than others.

And if backwards you speak, a Jedi you must be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723918)

Or perhaps they could try correlating how you speak to what you majored in in college. Maybe there's even a secondary correlation between majoring in English and psychopathy?

Speech analysis, welcome. (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 years ago | (#37723928)

Hello, speech analysis, I am proud to welcome you to the select club of phrenology, graphology, astrology and numerology.

Re:Speech analysis, welcome. (4, Insightful)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 3 years ago | (#37723970)

Hello, speech analysis, I am proud to welcome you to the select club of phrenology, graphology, astrology and numerology.

and economics.

Re:Speech analysis, welcome. (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37724406)

And computer 'science'. Don't get me started on those guys.

Media outlets need to research the research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723930)

A very important distinction here: "psychopathic murderers make identifiable word choices – beyond their conscious control – when talking about their crimes", and from the abstract, "This study used statistical text analysis to examine the features of crime narratives provided by psychopathic homicide offenders. Psychopathic speech was predicted to reflect an instrumental/predatory world view, unique socioemotional needs, and a poverty of affect". This study was only looking at how a specific type of already identified criminal discussed the crimes they committed and then concluding that those word choices matched up with an already established set of diagnostic criteria. You wouldn't be able to take that and generalize it to everyday speaking patterns. Also, there were only 14 "psychopaths" used in the research and 38 controls. That's far from what I'd call a comprehensive study. There is no way, at this point, that this could be called more than coorelational evidence. Not only that, there is an assumption in the research (that these speech patterns are "beyond conscious control") that is untested and could be a bias in the research. The CBS article obviously is meant to be sensationalist, which is terribly irresponsible. Maybe they should learn some basics of research methodology before making conclusions about a study (or at least pay for and read the entire research before jumping to any conclusions. It is obvious they didn't go any further than the abstract, because that's all they quote from). But I suppose it's my own fault for being surprised that a news outlet is jumping to radical conclusions about something before they have all the information (or a basic understanding of what they are reporting about).

Conceptual metaphors sucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37723936)

I suspect that all psychologists are unfamiliar with, or readily dislike conceptual metaphors.

Managerial speech patterns (1)

happyfeet2000 (1208074) | about 3 years ago | (#37723942)

It would be interesting to compare high level managerÂs speech patterns against the results of this study...

Re:Managerial speech patterns (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about 3 years ago | (#37724286)

Tell me Clarice, have the lambs stopped right-sizing?

a curious notion.. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 years ago | (#37723950)

Can we use something like IBM's Watson to realtime parse and evaluate political rhetoric?

A "Psyco Score" at the bottom of the screen during election debates would be quite novel...

Re:a curious notion.. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#37724332)

Do you really want to blow up the machine? I'm not sure it can handle their load of BS.

Here's how you change your speech patterns (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 3 years ago | (#37723980)

For the budding psychopaths out there who want to "fit in" better with society, here's how to change your speech patterns.

1) Join Toastmasters along with someone you see frequently (a significant other, close friend, or coworker).

It's cheap, and they will teach you ways to improve your speech - how to recognize disfluencies, for instance.

2) Play a game with your partner where every time they hear you make a mistake, they say "ding!". That's all - just "ding!" every time they hear a problem.

(For what it's worth I've found that GF's are particularly good at noticing such flaws.)

It takes a week or two, but the constant feedback will eventually sink in and you'll be able to hold long conversations without saying "ah", "um", "you know", and so on.

3) Rhythm, meter, and pauses are more difficult. Find a newscaster whose vocal style you like and record one of their broadcasts.

It doesn't matter whether you agree with their point of view, only that you like their vocal variety. (You could choose Rush Limbaugh, for instance.) I chose Morley Safer.

Edit the broadcasts into individual sentences and rip these to a CD as individual tracks. While you are driving to work, play a sentence on infinite repeat. Recite the sentence along with the speaker over and over. Try to recite it exactly, mimicking the pauses and intonations.

You'll spend a few iterations just remembering the words. Once you know the words, your ear will start to pick out subtle emphasis and pauses used by the speaker. You'll start to learn when to pause (after prepositions, for instance), where to put emphasis to make a point, and so on.

When you get bored, switch to another sentence.

Don't do the mimicry thing more than a couple of weeks or you'll end up sounding *exactly* like the broadcaster. Switch to another one, mix it up a little.

As a side effect of all this, people will view your method of speech as more meaningful, you will be perceived as more reliable and confident, and people will give you greater respect.

Re:Here's how you change your speech patterns (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37724046)

Unfortunately, in step 2, your proposed psychopath was unable to resist murdering his opponent after the first ding. Poor impulse control in that population makes this kind of long term plan very unlikely to be useful.

But what if (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 3 years ago | (#37723984)

The psychopath uses a teleprompter?

Re:But what if (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37724344)

Then you have a trial in the Senate and impeach him.

fuck you (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#37724002)

no fucking way word patterns indicate psychopathology you ignorant motherfucker

i'll take a fucking broomstick and ram it down your fucking gullet if i hear one fucking peep from your ignorant piehole about word patterns indicating a propensity for psychopathology and then rape your mother with the same fucking broomstick. are fucking listening to me?

Re:fuck you (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 3 years ago | (#37724426)

Are you talking to me?

Makes sense (2)

Fished (574624) | about 3 years ago | (#37724130)

We already know that excessive pauses in acting predict stupid commercials for Internet Startups and really bad science fiction. Damn... You... Khhaaaaannnn!!!!

Sure sign of psychopathy (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#37724164)

"Vote for me, and I'll set you free!"

Does this sound like the words of a psycho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724168)

Ah, because the world is round, it turns me on
Because the world is round, ah

Because the wind is high, it blows my mind
Because the wind is high, ah

Love is old, love is new
Love is all, love is you

Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry
Because the sky is blue, ah, ah, ah, ah

What happens with playing rap albums for analysis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724174)

What does this algorithm do when you play rap albums into it? Does it identify Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre, and all those rappers as psychopaths? Society considers them to be mainstream entertainment, gives them an exalted position, and showers them with wealth.

Crap pseudo-science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724236)

See subject.

wow! (5, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 3 years ago | (#37724244)

psychopaths used more conjunctions such as “because “ or “since,”

Sounds like another attempt to label left-brain people as psychopaths.

Illegal use (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#37724326)

This would never be allowed to be used in America. God forbid politicians and CEOs hear about this technology.

Very simple speech pattern analysis actualy (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 3 years ago | (#37724366)

The real meat of their software is a small routine that counts references to Huey Lewis, any mention of this artist more than 3 times in a 10 minute period results in a 100% match.

Re:Very simple speech pattern analysis actualy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37724482)

Huey Lewis made bland music and was overrated, there might be a joke there but not for this article.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?