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08 November 2010

Why psychopaths cheat, take risks

Impaired understanding of why people need to take precautions may explain why psychopaths cheat and take risks even though they know right from wrong, a new study suggests.

Impaired understanding of how social contracts work and why people need to take precautions may explain why psychopaths cheat and take risks even though they know right from wrong, a new study suggests.

The researchers presented 67 prisoners - some psychopaths, some not - with a series of problems based on three types of rules: descriptive rules (for example, "If a person is from California, then that person will be patient"); social contracts ("If you borrow my motorcycle, then you have to wash it"); and precautions ("If you work with tuberculosis patients, then you must wear a surgical mask").

 
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