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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Psychopaths, Politicians Share Some Traits, Psychologist Says

September 05, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Politicians and criminal psychopaths share some important behavioral characteristics, a leading British psychologist said Wednesday. "Psychopaths lie easily. They get pleasure from duping people, whereas politicians lie for a purpose," David Cook, a lecturer at Glasgow's Caledonian University, said at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in York. Cook and colleagues interviewed 105 repeat offenders in Scottish prisons and found that a combination of social and biological factors contributed to psychopathic behavior. "Difficult childhoods tended to be a common thread," Cook said. "Psychopaths tend to be grandiose, they don't feel remorse, they don't feel guilt and they don't maintain stable relationships," he added. Politicians share those characteristics, he said.

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