For those that don’t know, Channel 4 is a public service television network that broadcasts throughout the United Kingdom.
Earlier this month, on Saturday, December 14, 2013, Channel 4 aired Psychopath Night.
Psychopath Night is an approximately 90-minute show that engages many leading experts, psychopaths/sociopaths themselves – including convicted serial killer Charles Albright and a supposed sociopathic lawyer who goes by the pseudonym M.E. Thomas – and even the parent of a child psychopath, in order to explore a number of areas relating to psychopathy.
Below is the trailer for the episode:
The areas explored include:
- How psychopaths think and behave
- How psychopaths manage to con so many people (including a vivid portrayal of how the infamous Hillside Strangler, Kenneth Bianchi, bamboozled even psychiatrists)
- How to recognize a psychopath despite the “mask” they sometimes wear
- What psychopaths do for a living
- White collar psychopathy and the prevalence and influence of psychopaths in powerful positions
- Well-known people, including a sports star, that score highly on a psychopathy scale
- Some psychological experiments that help distinguish between those that rate higher and lower on measures of psychopathic traits
- Why some psychopaths are physically violent and others physically non-violent
- The role of childhood trauma in psychopathy
- How society should deal with psychopaths, including child psychopaths
- Whether psychopaths can be healed
- The top, most realistic psychopaths in film as selected by a panel of experts
- Why we maintain such a fascination with psychopaths
The experts featured in the episode include many of the most respected in the world in this field, some of whom have also been featured before on this blog and others of whom are likely to be featured at some point in the future. They include:
- Michael Stone, originator of the “Gradations of Evil” Scale
- John Eden, M.E. Thomas’ psychiatrist
- Bob Johnson, who claims, quite controversially, to have discovered a way to heal psychopaths
- Retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole
- Neuroscientist James Fallon
- Neuroscience Journalist Maia Szalavitz
- English soccer star David James
One of the highlights of the episode, for me, was getting to see James Fallon and Kevin Dutton interact as they discussed some of the psychopath-related films and characters that most impressed them. As someone who advocates for the field of ponerology, at least in part, as a way of promoting stronger ties between those from disparate backgrounds and disciplines that are interested in the roots of harmful behavior, this was just the kind of conversation I imagine and of which I hope to see more.
The lowlight for me was that the episode didn’t discuss quite enough the implications of psychopathy in the area of politics.
Also, I’m always a bit antsy when Kevin Dutton begins giving his usual spiel about the “good side” of psychopathy. But, since it was done in the context of an episode that covered the topic from many angles in a balanced way, I could live with it.
Overall, I found the episode to be extremely well done and valuable.
For a long time, I’ve looked for one concise and intriguing resource – especially a video resource – that I could use to introduce this topic to members of the general public. I had hoped that I Am Fishead would turn out to be that resource. But, unfortunately, despite starting off well, it ultimately had too many shortcomings, which I’ve documented in my review of it, for me to recommend it for that purpose. However, I think that in Channel 4’s Psychopath Night I’ve finally found at least one such video resource.
In an hour and a half, Psychopath Night manages to touch on just about all of the most important aspects and implications of psychopathy, to introduce and share the views of many of the most respected “big names” in the field and to explore the various sides of related controversies without leaning too far to one side on any of them.
Psychopath Night Resources
Channel 4 offers an Episode Guide to Psychopath Night.
Channel 4 also has the entire episode of Psychopath Night available on its site for those able to view it.
If you are unable to watch the episode on Channel 4’s site, then, luckily, it has been posted to YouTube in 6 segments, which I’ve embedded below.
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Tags: bob johnson, channel 4, charles albright, child psychopathy, david james, essi viding, films, gradations of evil scale, hillside strangler, james fallon, john eden, kenneth bianchi, kevin dutton, m.e. thomas, maia szalavitz, mary ellen o’toole, michael stone, oliver james, paul babiak, paul frick, psychopath night, robert hare
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