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Moont1de t1_iwlhlue wrote

It's amazing to me how every study on psychopathic tendencies sounds like media-baiting fluff


blue0mermaid t1_iwlgcal wrote

This is very well known. Fire starting, bed wetting, cruelty to animals.


ibettershutupagain t1_iwljfia wrote

Bed wetting is a weird one I haven't heard of that


series_hybrid t1_iwlnl8r wrote

Bed wetting is often associated with terrifying nightmares. In the dream, the child becomes extremely frightened, and literally urinate as they would in real life when shocked by an unimaginable horror.

I'm not sure how that either influences the evolution of psychopathy, or simply reflects that its roots may be present.

It highlights a powerful experience where the child feels powerless in the face of something that has power over them.


4-Vektor t1_iwlohc2 wrote

Bedwetting is also associated with neglect and abuse. Which can cause nightmares.


series_hybrid t1_iwm1gjb wrote

Many children can be exposed to the same type of abuse, with each having a different response.

However, it's understandable that neglect and abuse can foster a lack of empathy at a critical stage of development.


Electrical_Skirt21 t1_iwnvxfa wrote

Real life can be incredibly dull compared to bed-wetting nightmares. It may be hard to empathize with real problems that real people have and their real fears when you’ve been desensitized by horrific nightmares


series_hybrid t1_iwo5ag4 wrote

Interesting and insightful observation. I hadn't thought of that angle.


foul_dwimmerlaik t1_iwnybu3 wrote

The original comment refers to the MacDonald Triad, a cluster of traits that supposedly has predictive power as to whether or not a child will grow up to be a murderous psychopath.

The sad part is that bed-wetting is often a signifier of sexual abuse in children, not psychopathy.


LightMeetsEarth t1_iwo8r9q wrote

This has been debunked.


SpilledGenderFluid t1_iwopu10 wrote

Correct. The McDonald triad is more a cultural concept and not a scientific one.

Those traits can be linked to parental neglect, brutality, or abuse, which can then cause one to be prone to homicide. But that doesn't mean psychopathy.


agumonkey t1_iwo0z43 wrote

What about a strange focus on sharp / cutting shapes ? I'm always "fascinated" by the natural reflex in violent people to think of grabbing a knife right away. Seems like the brain as a natural link toward piercing / cutting (in disturbed or threatened people, not the average jolly person)


RocPSU t1_iwo79za wrote

This. Markers of budding psychopathy in children.


NikoBadman t1_iwm19yu wrote

I loved to light up small tea candles next to ant nests so that ants would attack them and die.... hmmmm


Pochusaurus t1_iwn78i7 wrote

animal cruelty and pyromania in one go


Professor-Paws t1_iworr4p wrote

Insects are particularly dissimilar to us and elicit far more disgust than things more closely related like other mammals.


chrisdh79 OP t1_iwlawun wrote

From the article: Psychopathy might be linked to pyromania. According to a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology, people with certain “dark” personality traits show a heightened interest in fire. The study examined a cluster of antisocial characteristics known as the Dark Tetrad.

There are four personality traits that make up the Dark Tetrad. They are narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism. Individuals who exhibit these traits tend to be manipulative, callous, and selfish. They often lack empathy and have a disregard for other people’s feelings. What’s more, they tend to be aggressive and take pleasure in causing pain.

Not surprisingly, people with Dark Tetrad personality traits are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. This led Caroline Wehner and her colleagues at Medical School Hamburg and Humboldt University of Berlin to wonder whether these traits were associated with the fascination with fire and the intentional act of setting a fire.

“Fire has always played an important role in humanity, either as a source of warmth and light, a means for cooking in traditional societies, or as a marker for social events and a source for entertainment in Western countries,” Wehner and her colleagues wrote.

“However, tragic cases like the recent wildfires in California and Greece or the Notre-Dame fire in 2019 also bring the destructive potential of fire to the public consciousness. When used deliberately or by accident fire causes severe damages to both humans and property… Due to this destructive potential, it is necessary to explore fire setting behavior and investigate which factors lead an individual to it.”

For their study, the researchers examined a sample of 222 psychology and medical students from German universities. The participants were presented with various fire-related situations (such as “Watching a house burn down” and “Watching a bonfire outdoors”) and were asked to rate how they would feel in each situation on a 7-point scale, which ranged from “most upsetting/absolutely horrible” (1) through “OK. doesn’t bother me” (4) to “very exciting. lovely, very nice” (7). The participants were also asked whether they had ever set a fire outside of socially accepted situations.


Chad_richard t1_iwmx46w wrote

Is it not normal to find watching the fireplace relaxing?


agumonkey t1_iwo0p6l wrote

I think they describe a different emotional state. As a kid I was fascinated by fire, and was curious to see how things would interact with it (orange peel for instance).. I think this is the kind of overly curious trait they're after.


jordimercadering t1_iwodjaw wrote

Curiosity might be an ingredient but my uninformed opinion is that it's more related to the power to control a destructive force. Somehow it is natural or evolutive to know that something that is very harmful is not hurting you at all. At some point we learn that harm to others ends up in harm to you through more complex patterns. We only resort to harm others to obtain something in life threatening circumstances or when the person lacks this bit in their mind (a psychopath). A fireplace is the least destructive fire. Completely different emotion vs. seeing someone else's house burn, seeing something loved be destroyed.


agumonkey t1_iwpisdc wrote

Very sensible analysis. How I saw what Chad_richard said would tap more into simpler senses: sight and temperature.. a dancing glow of light that keeps you warm is something your brain will like to stare at.


Strazdas1 t1_iwpenv2 wrote

watching a fireplace vs torching a house for relaxation is a bit different.


ghidfg t1_iwpbeip wrote

yeah its hypnotic. I can sit and stare at a campfire for hours


LeonMann t1_iwlm6t7 wrote

I know someone who was heavily abused by a middle school teacher.

Later in life they found out that the guy was leaving in a retirement home with early onset dementia.

He went to visit pretending to be a favorite student but was actually killing the guy over the course of a week or two with some poison make sure that he made up in his kitchen.

Anyway he told us this one night while out camping we all remember how bad the guy was treated but man it's heavy on my conscience ever since I just don't know what to do with information.

Crazy thing is the dude stared into the fire the entire time without breaking to look away as he told us the entire story.


Different-Pie6928 t1_iwle5lp wrote

I thought that this was already established through Mcdonald triad.


Strazdas1 t1_iwpekvd wrote

McDonald triad has been discredited as it shows signs of abuse rather than psychopathy.


ermghoti t1_iwlrvhe wrote

What about an intense desire for TP for one's bunghole, particularly when triggered by caffeine ingestion?


Professor-Paws t1_iwosen5 wrote

Caffeine has been known to cause psychosis in otherwise healthy people so Beavis's state might have been down to that or he might have had a dissociative fugue considering it appeared to be another personality.


stlfiremaz t1_iwlh3bm wrote

As a certified arson investigator I find that interesting.


series_hybrid t1_iwloend wrote

I have a theory that it doesn't do much involve a fascination with fire per se, but rather that a child who is evolving as a sociopath and possibly a psychopath, seeks power over others.

Guns are unavailable to most children, and even readily available knives leave fingerprints and blood.

A fire is powerful and destructive, and children would easily see how they could set a fire and "get away with it".

The question then becomes...if a psychopath had fire available plus other methods of striking fear into others, would they still choose fire?


agumonkey t1_iwo1col wrote

> "get away with it".

that's an interesting model. Kids early on want to get away with it, they can resort to lies very very young.. so fire as a free escape trick would tap into the same logic.


series_hybrid t1_iwo5oe3 wrote

I think everyone has heard of an example similar to the child who ate the oreo cookies, and when the three kids were asked who ate them, they all three said "not me" of them has black cookie crumbs between their teeth.

Even a "good" kid is curious about how to exert some little bit of control in their lives, and getting away with some minor offense can be exhilarating.


agumonkey t1_iwpienz wrote

yeah but in a way "fire" would just be "the ultimate control" and this is also a very recurrent desire in humans. We all want to have silver bullet solutions, infinite money, eternal youth, invicibility


Icy_Presentation9229 t1_iwo1jth wrote

A true psychopath doesn't want to use a gun. When people see a gun, they want to scream and guns are inherently too load. Also, you don't have power over a gun, the gun does. "what am i without this machine but flesh?"

With a knife, no one screams when they see a knife. With a knife you have full power over the individual. It is raw physical strength with an object that is merciless and silent.

That's what I've gathered, anyways.


series_hybrid t1_iwo5z5b wrote

That makes sense. If some children were terrorized when they were small and helpless, sometimes one of them can develop a desire to find out what it would feel like to be the person wielding the power of terror.


Strazdas1 t1_iwpesu8 wrote

>With a knife you have full power over the individual.

Unless he carries mace.


CarlPeligro t1_iwpl5iw wrote

For future reference, there is no difference between a sociopath and a psychopath.

Per psychologist (and psychopath!) James Fallon, the only difference between the two is that sociologists prefer the term "sociopath" and psychologists prefer the term "psychopath." But the two words describe the exact same phenomenon.


unicornpicnic t1_iwlfa8z wrote

I love fire. And I also read psychopaths love the taste of coffee and I love that, too. Should I be worried?


Herb_Eaversmelled t1_iwlmu72 wrote

I used to love playing with fire as a kid. A lot of it boils down to curiosity. I’m a curious person in general and love “seeing what will happen if I do x” so it’s not an absolute guarantee that someone will be a psychopath. If you’re burning property, harming animals, etc. then that would be a red flag but simple curiosity is normal especially in little boys.


-downtone_ t1_iwm5ohv wrote

If you like to burn things for the destruction or pain it causes, yes.


unicornpicnic t1_iwmwy53 wrote

Nah, it’s not for destruction. I just like looking at fire.


azazelcrowley t1_iwpenfl wrote

“My preliminary findings indicate that humans are not universally fascinated by fire. On the contrary, this fascination is a consequence of inadequate experience with fire during development.” University of California, Daniel Fessler.

"Where fire is generally used in day-to-day activities, people only become interested in fire until they master their control of it. At that point there is a significant dropoff of interest. In modern civilization, where that is not the case, interest in looking at fire and being mesmerized by watching it persists throughout life."

I would wager if you watch pyrotechnicians and other fire-users in a modern civilization you will notice they don't fire-watch in the same way others do. Tribal folks apparently don't behave this way.


Strazdas1 t1_iwpeun2 wrote

Nah, worrying is not something psychopaths do.


tnnrk t1_iwmhkmq wrote

Hmmmm I guess I’m a psychopath


LtP42 t1_iwoimvx wrote

The flame is it’s own reflection


DanteCoal t1_iwm3v57 wrote

Next thing you're gonna try to tell us is that people with violent tendencies are associated with an interest in hitting.


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NegotiationHot98 t1_iwlh6hv wrote

Then firefighters are the least psychopathic


Grey___Goo_MH t1_iwljfey wrote

Just ignore the entire history of firefighters starting fires or charging upon arrival


Strazdas1 t1_iwpewnx wrote

Dont all firefighters charge before arrival (via being funded by taxes)?


Grey___Goo_MH t1_iwq37vi wrote

In the past firefighters would arrive to a fire ask around who the owner was then negotiate a price to fight the fires if the price couldn’t be meet then they drive away often times the fire was deliberately set to make money ie extortion

Sure let’s say taxes are similar


piranhabait89 t1_iwot2n9 wrote

Investigate those that started with charmander.


[deleted] t1_iwlj80f wrote

In addition to murdering small animals like dr oz.


[deleted] t1_iwlmlpg wrote



Baud_Olofsson t1_iwpmzke wrote

The Macdonald triad is junk science and not based on any evidence.


mrlolloran t1_iwm2nod wrote

“I know” -people who went to summer camp


Ap5p t1_iwm40ew wrote

Through the darkness of future past,
the magician longs to see,
one chance out between two worlds


bigstankfoot t1_iwo82zc wrote

I remember going through a faze as a boy where I was obsessed with fire. Looking back it was about the same time that I was a dangerous child with a developing frontal lobe where I would try to impress my friends and girls doing mean and dangerous things. I'm not sure what but there has to be a connection there somewhere?


TheArmed501st t1_iworlix wrote

Whats next? Being deaf leads to deafness?


jinglesan t1_iwnkwqb wrote

My former partner had a very self-centred, but apparently charming ex - the kind of person that doesn't have much skill in the area but has talked his way into high-end jobs in design and branding. Kinda' wins the contracts so his underlings can do all the work.

Over time I got to hear more and more odd things about him, like he ignored the existence of their son for the first year or so, apparently because he hated not being the centre of attention.

More weird stuff emerged about him, but apparently at the age of 15 he and his brother set fire to a live rabbit in their garden and he watched it burn alive. He also performatively bangs on about being a vegan but then eats meat and dairy outside of his house.

The worst part about this rabbit burner is he called his son with his new wife... Bunny.


Professor-Paws t1_iwossji wrote

Sounds more NPD or histrionic with the attention thing. There's what's called Million subtypes to personality disorders though so there's a few flavours.