Motivated Manipulators? A NLP Analysis of Psychopathic Speech

AbstractPsychopaths have long been associated with a unique ability to manipulate others (Hare, 1999). According to the "bottleneck" hypothesis of psychopathy (Newman & Baskin-Sommers, 2012), psychopaths' cognitive abilities are directly related to goal-directed behavior. To shed more light on language production in psychopathy, two language production studies were completed contrasting content and fluency under different motivational and difficulty conditions. Individuals high in psychopathy (HP) were less fluent but maintained a more complex lexicon than their low psychopathy counterparts when under high cognitive load and low motivation. Yet when HP individuals were under low cognitive load and high motivation, they were more fluent, but used a less complex lexicon. Furthermore, the HP group produced more emotional language in both conditions. The results suggest that HP individuals' language production is inherently related to motivation and they attempt to balance fluency and complexity when cognitive load is increased.

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