A critical review on Osumi & Ohira (2010), The positive side of psychopathy: Emotional detachment in psychopathy and rational decision-making in the ultimatum game. IntroductionOsumi & Ohira (2010), the authors of the article, “The positive side of psychopathy: Emotional detachment in psychopathy and rational decision-making in the ultimatum game, agree that individuals with psychopathy show anti-social, selfish and un-empathetic behaviors. This in turn makes it hard for them to have healthy relationships with other people. On the other hand in this article Osumi & Ohira (2010), also try to prove that psychopathy has its positive side.
Osumi & Ohira explain that studies conducted recently in economics show that people who are emotional or not psychopathic are more likely to make irrational decisions as compared to psychopathic individuals. This is mainly because psychopathic individuals do not use their emotions when they are making decisions thus psychopathic individuals are more likely to make rational decisions that are not influenced by feelings. In order to prove these findings Osumi and Ohira conducted a study that aimed at testing if psychopathy has positive influence in the social settings.
The study carried out by Osumi and Ohira looked at college students with both high and low aspects of psychopathy made their decisions in the ultimatum game. This game shows the differences between economic utility and fairness. This study also looked at the electrodermal responses to both the far and the unfair offers of both groups. After this study, it was established that as compared to students with low tendencies of psychopathy, the students who showed a high tendency of psychopathic behaviour more often took up economic utility by choosing unfair offers.
While controls more often showed an exctrodermal response to unfair offers as compared to the fair offers, individuals with high psychopathic tendencies did not show the same difference between the two kinds of offers. The findings of this study show that despite the fact that individuals with psychopathy are insensitive to unfairness, they can make rational decision to take up unfair offers. Therefore, psychopathy can be rational and positive in certain social settings (Osumi & Ohira, 2010). A review of the articleThe background of this article focuses on a general overview of psychopathy based on the perspectives of different authors.
Osumi and Ohira review several literatures to show that nature of psychopathy. According to Benning, Patrick, & Iacono (2005), psychopathy is an “affective impairment. ” People with psychopathy fail to show an electrodermal response, they also show small activation of the affective neural circuit when it comes to responding to the distress of other people. A number of researchers like Blair (1995) and Lykken (1995) suggest that the luck of affectiveness in the distress of other people can contribute to deviant behaviors.
Other studies conducted by Mitchell, Colledge, Leonard & Blair (2002), show that people with psychopathic tendencies tend to make disadvantageous decisions. Osumi and Ohira further illustrate that according to Trivers (1971), people with psychopathy often shows anti-social behaviors that are against social norms and as a result people with psychopathy cannot have healthy relationships with other people. Therefore people with psychopathic tendencies are often regarded as social misfits. On the other hand, Lykken (1995) explains that there are several aspects of psychopathy like charm, boldness and false charm among many other aspects that usually seen in people who are successful in academics and business.
Therefore, psychopathy is not only a social maladaption, it also contributes to some kind of success. It is somehow a mystery how psychopathy involves negative aspects such as selfishness and anti-social behaviour while at the same time bringing contribution to successful achievements (Lykken, 1995).