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1 in 5 CEOs are probably not psychopaths

By JAMES COAKES Published 16th Nov 2016
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A study of 261 American CEOs by Australia's Bond University found that one in five displayed symptoms of antisocial personality disorder. The findings were presented at the Australian Psychological Society Congress in Melbourne in September and the study was deemed good enough to be published in the European Journal of Psychology.

All of this was apparently enough qualification for the media to pick it up and conflate it into a much shared story, with The Telegraph, one of the UK's most respected newspapers, running the story under the headline '1 in 5 CEOs are psychopaths'.

The signs of antisocial personality disorder that the study looked for included bosses being unable to control their anger, which can admittedly be unpleasant when you are on the receiving end of it, and blaming other people for the problems in their life. They also include exploiting and manipulating or violating the rights of others, which some may see as simple capitalism.

The reality is that many successful men and women can be unpleasant at work, where they may show a disregard for 'normal social behaviour', whatever that is. They may also go home to their families and behave quite differently. That does not mean that they have antisocial personality disorder and it really does not mean that one in five bosses is a psychopath.

Still, a headline is a headline.

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