Small physical signs can be subtle warning signs that you are in the company of a psychopath.
The personality traits indicative of psychopathy include antisocial behavior, ruthlessness, deceit, and interpersonal manipulation.
But studies suggest that people who don’t yawn when they see someone else do it score higher on psychopathic traits.
The theory is that contagious yawning is driven by empathy – something psychopaths lack. Meanwhile, research suggests there are four other telltale physical signs you’re dealing with a psychopath.
Studies suggest that people who don’t yawn when they see someone else do it score higher on psychopathic traits (Stock)
Less likely to yawn contagiously
A study conducted by Baylor University in Texas in 2015 analyzed 135 college students who were tested for traits such as Machiavellian self-centeredness (a tendency to consider only personal needs), cold-heartedness, and defiant nonconformity.
As is well known, most people will yawn if someone around them is yawning and showing signs of fatigue. The students were shown video clips of people using different facial expressions, including yawning.
Those who scored high on coolness were less likely to yawn.
Brian Rundle, a PhD student involved in the study, told The Times: ‘One of the main pieces of evidence is that (contagious yawning) is strongly linked to empathy.
“While this is a very interesting finding, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you if you don’t suffer from a contagious yawn.
“There is some evidence that in baboons, dogs or chimpanzees, the alpha male tends to yawn first,” he added.
“Sitting around the campfire encourages everyone else to yawn, and instead of going to bed at different times, they all do it at once.”
Other signs include hand gestures that psychopaths like Charles Manson may use to emphasize what they want you to hear and downplay what they don’t want.
Limited head movements
This physical feature was discovered by a team from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Scientists developed a specific algorithm that analyzes head movements and tested it on 507 detainees during recorded conversations, ranging in length from one to two hours.
Inmates with “severe and life-course-resistant antisocial behavior” had a more rigid and focused head orientation during the session, they found.
The results are interesting because excessive nonverbal cues such as head movements, blinking, and hand gestures have been linked to cheating.
As far back as 900 B.C., deceitful people were observed to fidget excessively, according to the study.
A stationary attitude may be a deliberate tactic used by psychopaths to prevent these possible clues from appearing.
Talk mainly about food, money and sex
Most people like to talk about food, but psychopaths tend to take it to another level.
Cornell University researchers compared accounts of 14 imprisoned psychopathic male killers with those of 38 convicted killers who had not been diagnosed as psychopathic.
During the interviews, scientists asked each participant to discuss their crime in detail.
While the psychopathic inmates were expected to show no remorse for their crimes, scientists were surprised to find that they were twice as likely as non-psychopaths to discuss three topics: food, money, and sex.
The non-psychopaths used more words about social needs, including family, religion, and spirituality.
Bernie Madoff is known for a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the fortunes of people – both rich and poor
Raised hand gestures
Many people talk with their hands, but psychopaths are more likely to use beat hand gestures – quick movements of the hand that usually go up and down.
These individuals use these movements to manipulate those around them into emphasizing the part of a sentence they want us to hear or downplaying something they don’t want.
Psychopaths may have a tendency to fidget more, such as scratching their head or pulling jewelry, to divert someone’s attention from inconsistencies in their conversation.
Unusual sleeping habits
When the rest of the world settles for the night, psychopaths prepare to do something creative and productive.
Dr. Paul Hokemeyer told Rush: “Some psychopaths have incredible minds that they have to keep super stimulated.”
Australian researchers found in 2013 that a preference for staying up late or into the early hours is directly linked to antisocial behavior and so-called Dark Triad characteristics.
The Dark Triad’s traits include narcissistic and selfish actions, cunning or deceitful Machiavellian behavior, and psychopathic tendencies.
The article by Dr Peter Jonason from the University of Sydney surveyed 263 students online.
Participants were asked about their chronotypes. A person’s chronotype represents what time of day their hormone levels, temperature, brain function, eating, and sleeping are most active, changing, or reaching a certain level.
People who are more active and feel more alert in the morning are referred to as ‘larks’, while those who prefer late evening hours are referred to as ‘owls’.
Questions included, “How did you feel for the first half hour after you woke up?”
People were then rated on a narcissism scale and asked to what extent they agreed with statements such as “I have a natural ability to influence people.”
In addition, they were asked how they felt about statements on the psychopathy scale, for example, “I think I can beat a lie detector,” and on a Machiavellian scale, such as, “It’s hard to move forward without taking turns here and there. . .’
Across the 263 students, the darker a participant’s personality score, the more likely they were to be an “owl,” saying they functioned more effectively in the evenings