Sunday, June 24, 2018

First Use of "Psychopath" was for a Woman!

Psychopathy in females was historically overlooked and often went unreported because society promoted the stereotype that women were innately incapable of displaying psychopathic behaviors.   Even today, it is likely that female psychopaths are underreported because many studies and statistics are drawn from predominantly male prison populations.  While researchers are somewhat confident that about 1 out of every 100 males is psychopathic, there is greater uncertainty as to the prevalence among women.  It is inherently more difficult to ferret out the female psychopath.  She is often less violent and physically destructive, and so is less apt to come to public attention.  Ironically, the earliest documented use of the term “psychopath” in a legal proceeding was in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1885 for a woman accused of murdering a child.  At the trial, Dr. Balinsky, a psychiatrist, captured the essence of psychopathic behavior when he said: “[The psychopath] thinks logically, distinguishes good and evil, and acts according to reason.  But of all moral notions he is entirely devoid.”

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