If psychopaths arouse so much fascination in ordinary people, much owes it to television and movies. But to what extent do the on-screen frightening characters imprint psychopaths in real life?
Analysis published in 2013 in the scientific journal Journal of Forensic Sciences Details of the investigation conducted by psychiatrists in Belgium. They have watched no less than 400 films to choose a fictional psychopath that seems more realistic.
In the analysis, psychiatrists considered some selection criteria – such as excluding cartoon characters who were excessive or with magical powers. This left 126 potential psychopaths to be classified.
According to the article, Anton Chiguro (Javier Bardem) was one of the best on-screen psychopaths, the antagonist “Where There Is No Time for Weakness”, available on Amazon Prime. “I found a boy just like him. He was a killer in Belgium working for a criminal organization. He was very cold and frightening,” said Samuel Listest, the psychiatrist who led the search.
Lisset also explained why this character brings so much reality when playing a psychopath. “He does his job and sleeps without any problems. In my profession, I’ve met some people like that,” he added, referring to two professional killers he had already met. “They were like this: cool, smart, guilt-free, and depression-free.”
Another character mentioned in the analysis is Henry (Michael Roker), from “Henry, the Portrait of a Killer”, inspired by real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
The research explained, “In this film, the main and intriguing theme is the chaos and instability of psychopathic life, Henry’s lack of foresight, strong lack of empathy, emotional poverty, and apparent failure to plan for the future.”
Psychopaths vs. psychosis
Research also focuses on undoing the confusion of the classic film, which does not properly differentiate between psychopaths and psychosis.
Psychopaths, as the study describes, are people who are unaffected by emotions — including the pain of others — and are not necessarily violent.
On the other hand, psychosis has among its symptoms delusions, hallucinations, catatonia, disorganization of thought, urgency, and agitation of the personality. A person who suffers from delusions, for example, makes up stories that do not correspond to reality, without being aware of it.
“Some of the most famous ‘psychosis’ in movies are not psychotic but rather psychotic,” the team wrote.
In addition, there is also a good example of a psychotic personality, so that everyone can understand the difference between the two diagnoses.
“There are well-known examples of this in the films ‘Psycho’ with the character of Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and ‘Taxi Driver’ with Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). These characters, in many ways, are detached from reality and suffer from delusional thinking,” he said. to lasted.
The team believes that while many images of psychopaths are not accurate in clinical descriptions of the condition, films depicting psychopaths can be beneficial to society.
They said, “These characters, which reflect some types of our society, are very important to cinema itself and art in general, but especially to future generations of forensic psychologists and psychiatrists as pedagogical subjects.”
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