Video: My Old Man’s a Psychopath

If we believe the movies, psychopath = evil killer. However, in these videos Dr Kevin Dutton explains that psychopathic traits are not always sinister. Kevin uses his own father, a fearless trader, as positive example of a psychopath we can learn from.

This video was produced by in conjunction with Harvey Thorneycroft Ltd.

Video Transcript:

You know, it’s funny. I started studying Psychopaths, really, to figure out my Old Man.

My Old Man was a market trader. He didn’t work in the stock market, he was a bit like Del Boy, he worked on the street, he was selling all kinds of crap to anybody. He was one of the most persuasive men I ever mate, he could sell shaving cream to the Taliban, this guy, he really, really could.

He was ruthless, he was fearless, he was charming. He wasn’t naturally violent, but of course you don’t need to be violent to be a psychopath.

I never once saw him embarrassed, never, ever, once and I’ll give you a good story which kind of sums up my old man:
I always remember, I was about nine or ten and I used to help him on the market stall all over London. We’d finish on a Saturday and he took me for an Indian meal at a local restaurant. We were sitting in the restaurant and just as he was about to pay the bill he suddenly picked up a spoon and tinkled it against his glass. At which point the whole restaurant goes quiet. My Old Man gets to his feet and his says:
“Thank you folks for coming. I’d just like you all to know that you’re all equally welcome here and it’s to nice to see you – I know some of you have come from a long way away, and some of you have come from just round the corner, but wonderful to see you all. Oh and there’s a little party occurring in the King’s Arms pub just across the road and it would be great to see you there.”
At which point, my Old Man starts to clap. At which point, the whole restaurant starts to clap.

So what we’ve got here is a restaurant that hasn’t seen us before, haven’t seen each other before, all applauding wildly, because, they didn’t want to be seen as the gatecrashers to the party — that was the genius behind it. So, remember, I’m only about nine or ten, we’re walking out the restaurant and I say to my Old Man:
“Dad, we’re not really going to the pub are we?”
And he goes:
“No, no. Course we’re not Son, but let me tell you something… that lot in the restaurant are: my mate Malcom, he’s just taken over his landlord, he’ll make a few quid tonight.”

Now that, is the kind of thing my Old Man would do without batting an eye, without flinching. Can you imagine how much money I would have to pay you to even think about getting up and doing that? And that really, was one of the reasons once I started Psychology that I started getting into studying it forensically, because I always had suspicions about my Dad. He never got into anything too criminal, but I often wondered what made him tick? What was his personality? And I have no doubt whatsoever now that he would be quite high on the Psychopathic Spectrum.

Gawd Bless Him.