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Some presidents may possess psychopathic traits WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 15:12 PM

Some presidents may possess psychopathic traits No matter who occupies the Oval Office or what political party he belongs to, there will always be those who think he is crazy. Whether or not a president is actually insane, many of the nation's most notable leaders have possessed a personality trait that is typically found in psychopaths, according to new research from Emory University.

In a study, the results of which appear in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," University researchers found that individuals who possessed the fearless dominance trait were more likely to receive better ratings for their presidential performance, Emory's eScienceCommons reported. Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were among the former leaders who not only had this trait, but handled themselves well in the areas of crisis management and persuasiveness.

According to Scott Lilienfeld, the study's lead author, those who possess a trait like fearless dominance may engage in "reckless criminality and violence," or be responsible for "skillful leadership" when faced with a crisis.

"My mentor, David Lykken, argued that psychopaths and heroes are 'twigs off of the same branch,'" said Lilienfeld, as quoted by TIME. "It may be that the fearless dominance or boldness that sometimes gives rise to psychopathy might also sometimes give rise to heroism."

If individuals are curious to see if they too possess fearless dominance, or any other trait, they may want to take a personality test.


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