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How To Spot A Psychopath? 7 Non-Verbal Signs Of Psychopathy And Their Meanings

Psychopathic Stare

Are you a big fan of true crime documentaries or a psychological thriller aficionado? How quickly can you identify a psychopathic stare and these non-verbal signs of psychopathy?

Before making the rookie mistake of tagging anyone who annoys you as a psychopath, let’s cover our bases, shall we? According to research, “psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior.” In simpler words, people with psychopathic nature, tend to exhibit the following traits:

  • Lack Of conscience or the sense of right and wrong
  • Difficulty to empathize or attune with others’ emotions
  • Lack of guilt or remorse

Contrary to what you might have seen on those cop shows, although people with a psychopathic nature are at a greater risk of landing on the wrong side of the law, it doesn’t mean that psychopathic tendencies necessarily make someone violent or harmful.

That being said there have been many infamous personalities who ended up doing awful things owing to their psychopathic traits. So it won’t be a terrible idea to learn to identify the behaviors of a psychopath and save yourself from getting involved with another potential Ted Bundy.

How To Spot A Psychopath?

Watch out for the non-verbal signs of psychopathy
To know more about psychopathic nature, watch out for the non-verbal signs of psychopathy

Psychopaths are cunning and manipulative people who are exceptionally skillful at using underhand tactics to get what they want. Oftentimes they inveigle themselves into our lives and leave a trail of toxic drama, conflicts, pain, accusations, and doubts in their wake.  

Brain scans can clearly differentiate people who have psychopathic tendencies from those who don’t. But as you cannot request a scan report every time you suspect someone to be a little off, these non-verbal signs of psychopathy can come in handy.

Read: 10 signs you have a toxic daughter-in-law

7 Non-Verbal Signs Of Psychopathy

You must have heard about the psychopathic stare which is a telltale sign of a psychopath. But is there any truth to it? Aren’t psychopaths deviously careful to mask their true intentions?

Yes, psychopaths are known for being the perfect chameleon but, they sometimes send out non verbal cues of psychopathy like the psychopathic stare that give them away. If you are quick to catch these non-verbal signs of psychopathy, you will successfully unmask them.

1. Psychopathic Stare

Who doesn’t fear the unsettling and intense stare of a psychopath? The lifeless psychopathic stare is a predatory gaze that lingers on for a long time making you feel uncomfortable and uneasy.

When psychopaths fix their piercing eyes on someone they are talking to, their heads usually don’t move. A stationary head coupled with a lingering gaze is one of the main non-verbal signs of psychopathy.

But why do psychopaths do that? The reason is that when we move our heads during a conversation, it conveys our emotions. We nod in agreement, shake our heads in dissent, cock our heads when we are intrigued.

Our eye movements also reveal our feelings and moods, like anger, disdain, boredom, and so on. We look away when we are appalled by something and look intently when something arouses our interest.

This is what a true psychopath avoids. They have mastered the art of concealing their emotions and keeping their heads still while penetrating others with their stare during conversations is like an involuntary reflex for them.

And as for the prolonged psychopathic stare, there can be several possible reasons:

  • To startle or catch others off guard
  • To maintain their upper hand or control over the conversation
  • To enjoy the fear that others feel under their stare
non-verbal signs of psychopathy
A stationary head with a staring gaze are two non-verbal signs of psychopathy and common behaviors of a psychopath

2. Pupil Dilation

A study confirms that there is a strong connection between psychopathic traits and pupil dilation in response to external stimuli. When we undergo strong emotions such as fear, rage, lust, hatred, or love our pupils dilate. But psychopaths are unfazed by any kind of emotional stimuli and as a result, their pupils do not dilate.

3. Invasion Of Personal Space

Invasion of personal space is one of the non-verbal signs of psychopathy
Invasion of personal space is one of the non-verbal signs of psychopathy

Psychopaths are essentially cold-hearted people who are callous in nature. Although a psychopath knows how to hide this trait from others, research proves that there is a direct link between callousness and a lack of interpersonal distance.

Your average psychopath will disrespect any personal space between you and them. They will tend to stand too close for comfort and will make you uncomfortable with the close proximity of their presence.

They might do this for the following reasons:

  • They get a chance to engage in aggressive behavior
  • They are not afraid to stand near strangers.
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Rose Burke

Hi everyone! I am a wandering soul trying to find my way in this matrix. I am into literature, movies, psychology, occult, tarot, mysticism, and all that jazz. I am an ambivert, love traveling and making new friends, yet very selective about who gets access into my energy bubble. Love pets, foods, rainy days, ghost stories, chocolate, and cancelled plans. Live and let live is my motto.View Author posts