Secret Psychopath Test Could Keep Dating Apps Safe

He lives next door, is an excellent liar, and is only pretending to care how your parents are doing. No, not your ex, but rather a real-life psychopath. Most don’t realize that psychopaths are rarely tucked away in high security prisons, but often live right down the street. Thankfully, Dr. Pascal Wallisch has our back, and the psychologist is hoping to protect us, the 99 percent of the population that can physically feel empathy and regret, from those who can’t.

The term psychopath is used so often in media and everyday speech that the true meaning sometimes gets lost. Beyond the Hollywood glamor, psychopathy is a psychological diagnosis affecting a small but very prominent proportion of the global population.

Related: How to spot a psychopath: music taste can offer clues

“From a psychiatry medical point of view, it's a medical condition called Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD),” James Murrough, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told Newsweek.

10_13_darkwindow Soon, it may no longer be so difficult to pick out why may be a psychopath. Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The disorder is characterized by disregard for others, constant violation of another's rights, irritability, aggression, and extremely manipulative tendencies. Overall, not a bunch of personality traits that you’d like someone with power over others to posses. At least that’s what Wallisch believes, and he’s taking an active to role develop a way to prevent this from happening.

Related: Psychopaths aren't natural liars-they're just better at learning how to do it

German born Wallisch is dedicated to understanding how lifestyle choices and perception play into our individual personalities. Now at New York University, he is currently developing a test that translates our preferences for certain musical patterns into a blueprint for our personality. By playing volunteers 50 or more short music clips and asking their opinion on each one, he can begin to see a trend in music preferences. According to Wallisch’s theory, this trend can then reveal certain personality types.

The end product will be an easy and reliable tool to help the users become more aware of the presence of those with psychopathic personality traits, whether in the workplace or on the online dating scene.

There’s no saying if the test will work or not, but is there even a need to pick out psychopaths by stealth? Modern psychology evaluations do exist and are meant to keep some potentially dangerous individuals from holding positions of power and authority, such as working in law enforcement. However, Wallisch and Murrough agree that these tests often don’t work as it’s a widely known fact that psychopaths are likely to lie and purposely manipulate otherse. 

“If they [psychopaths] are smart they would know that the right answer on a test is not that you strangled a cat when you were a kid,” Murrough said. “If you have APD you might be better than average at beating a lie detector because you don’t have that emotional reaction that the test relies on.”

Of course, even in theory, the Wallisch's test isn’t perfect. False positives exist on almost any test and, additionally, there remain ethical concerns about labeling people, and then using their diagnosis against them, all without their knowledge or consent. 

As a scientist, Wallisch says it's not his responsibility to make decisions on policy and ethics. He simply wants to supply society with the tools needed to accurately pick out psychopaths—anywhere any time—whether this is used as the prerequisite for buying a firearm or before you sign up to a dating app. It’s up to us to figure out what to do with the information and decide how many rights we give to someone who would not think twice about violating every single one of ours.

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