Researcher warns that social media is empowering corporate psychopaths

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 11:09AM
Marc Wilson warns that psychopaths can be found in all parts of life. (Photo / NZ Herald)

There's fear social media could be encouraging corporate psychopaths.

Victoria University psychology Professor Marc Wilson told Mike Hosking whether they're in prison or gainfully employed, people use social networks in a slightly different way depending on how psychopathic they are.

He says people who have characteristics of psychopaths tend to spend more time on social networks.

"Cause it provides a platform for self aggrandisement, they tend to post more selfies and they tend to take more time editing those photos that presents them in a way that makes them look as good as possible."

He says psychopaths use social networks to make their achievements look better in order to get them jobs, then move on to other organisations when they're found out.

Wilson says some psychopaths are found in normal walks of life, but have managed to avoid detection because they don't have the impulsive and disorganised behaviour that brings them to the attention of the police.

"There are a number of case studies and Enron, the energy company in the US, which was categorised before its decline by psychopathic behaviour."

He says whether social media causes people to become psychopaths or whether they're like that already is unclear.

Wilson adds a combination of psychopathic traits is known as a cheater-defector strategy.

"Our reputations are the things that gain us entry to opportunities, and we continue to enjoy those opportunities until our reputations are sullied, and in the case of the corporate psychopath, that means moving on to another organisation."

Those people turn out to be not everything they say, and are sometimes given a golden handshake to get rid of them, Wilson says. 

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