“Manipulative, dishonest and lacking empathy – the traits that describe a psychopath – aren’t pleasant. But the idea that they are also fiendishly clever isn’t accurate… Because many psychopaths are charming and manipulative, people have assumed they often also have above-average intelligence. Psychologists term this the ‘Hannibal Lecter myth’. Psychopaths are impulsive, have run-ins with the law and often get themselves hurt… Brian Boutwell at St. Louis University in Missouri and his colleagues analyzed 187 studies on intelligence and psychopathy. These papers include research on psychopaths in prison as well as those enjoying high-flying careers… Overall, the team found no evidence that psychopaths were more intelligent than people who don’t have psychopathic traits. In fact, psychopaths scored significantly lower on intelligence tests… The finding will help put the Hannibal Lecter myth to rest…. Psychopaths are very sensation-seeking. They don’t like to sit and read books – they end up engaging in substance abuse… Psychopaths are rather inarticulate, and swear a lot. They talk over you in brusque, aggressive style.”
Jessica Hamzelou, New Scientist, 28 January, 2017, p. 12