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14th Nov 2017

Answer This One Simple Question To Reveal If You’re A Psychopath Or Not


The word ‘psychopath’ gets thrown about a lot these days. Am I really a psycho if I choose to pretend not to see my colleague on the DART so I don’t have to make small talk? Is it so wrong to admit that no, Sandra, I don’t want to see your holiday photos?

Psychopath schmychpath, eh. 

Well, apparently there’s one simple riddle that reveals how psychopathic you really are.

The Trolley Dilemma was thought up by Judith Jarvis Thomson in 1985 and has been used to analyse psychopathic tendencies in people for decades.

Here’s how it goes: 

A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people and you are standing on a footbridge next to a large stranger; your body is too light to stop the train, but if you push the stranger onto the tracks, killing him, you will save the five people. Would you push the man?

Now, if you choose to kill on man to save five people, you could argue that it’s for the greater good to actively kill one instead of doing nothing and passively letting five people die.

A utilitarian would push the man, and science shows that people who think this way have “higher scores on measures of Psychopathy, machiavellianism, and life meaninglessness.”

What would you do?

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