Psychopathy and leadership

Jerry Schuitema 

But it is not as simple as that either. Latest research conducted by Dutch neuroscientists (see BBC News report here) shows that while psychopaths do not spontaneously and instinctively respond empathetically to the emotions and distress of others, they have an empathy switch which can be turned on, not by simply witnessing distress in others, but by imagining themselves in that situation.

This gives perspective to the findings of American neuroscientist, James Fallon, a self-diagnosed psychopath who calls himself a “pro-social psychopath” (see published interview here). He distinguishes between instinctive empathy as being “emotional empathy” and the “switched on” empathy as being “cognitive empathy”.