Psychopaths in Media

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Topic: Psychopaths and the legitimacy of their portrayal in film and media. Specific purpose: To inform the audience of the inaccuracy of the portrayals of certain mental illnesses. Thesis: Today's socializing agent is the media, distortion of accuracy in its portrayal leads to misconceptions and misunderstandings which hinders the cultural growth and knowledge of society. 1. Introduction:

a. There are at least two million psychopaths in North America at any given moment. b. This is a problem that every single person comes into contact with at least once. c. Although many psychopaths are criminals, many more use charm and manipulation to take advantage of the people around them.

d. They manipulate people through body language, fast-talking, wit and charm. In books and movies we find psychopathy to be quite a common theme, however these representations are often exaggerated or completely inaccurate. e. Cultures and societies pass on to their members knowledge of the world. Transition : Today's socializing agent is the media, distortion of accuracy in its portrayal leads to misconceptions and misunderstandings which hinders the cultural growth and knowledge of society. 1. Body:

a. There are certain prominent characteristics observed in those mentally productive individuals.
b. In the case of a psychopath, activity (daily routine) is borne fully by the force of their personality and as their moods rise and fall, so does their productivity. c. These are called “biological fluctuations”.

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d. Many of these defy detection in the life of the average person because their mechanical routine work discloses little of their actual personality
2. Body:
a. Psychopath literally means mental illness which causes the confusion that psychopaths are disoriented or out of touch with reality as seen in other mental illnesses. b. What differentiates psychopaths from the mentally ill is that every action is one of choice.

c. Although strongly led by impulse, psychopaths are fully aware of their actions. d. Having found psychopaths not to be ill, what are they?
e. Hervey Cleckley, author of The Mask of Sanity, and creator of “Cleckley’s Checklist”, a method used for diagnosing psychopathy, states: “A psychopathic personality shows not a disorder of personality but rather a defect of personality, together with a set of defenses evolved around that defect”. (Cleckley 261)

f. These defects are said to create a new personality altogether, currently know as Antisocial Personality Disorder; It differs from an abnormal personality when one knowingly causes other people to suffer because of his or her personality. g. A personality in itself is known as a particular constellation of basic traits in a variety of structural models.

h. The specific configuration of traits known to psychopathy according to an expert generated Five-Factor Model (FFM) psychopathy prototype study are: impulsiveness, assertiveness, excitement seeking, competence and action based, also dominant, forceful and socially ascendant.

3. Body:
a. Origins of psychopathy are still unknown, but many theories are speculated. Lara 3
b. One states that the impulsiveness and isolated nature of the psychopath as well as lack of empathy or emotion may be the result of a prolonged break in the relationship with the mother in the first year of life (Giora 139)

c. Another speculation is that psychopathy is characterized by a severely underdeveloped set of inhibitions, possibly having physiological basis.
d. That along with having an innate deficit in their ability to learn from mistakes makes punishment ineffective.
e. It is suspected that brain damage to the hypothalamus and parental rejection may be responsible, meaning psychopaths need more stimulation to feel emotion. f. In “Gough’s Role Taking Theory”, (S.4 N.4) Gough drew on the interactionist perspective of sociology in which self contempt is the capacity to look on oneself as an object and emerge as the...
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