Psychopaths find their victims by being deeply attuned to vulnerable people, reveals a new study.
According to Dalhousie researchers, psychopaths sense their victims much like a lion hunts its most vulnerable prey.
"It's like what you'd see on Animal Planet-the lion goes after the most vulnerable, the one they have the best chance of getting," Kevin Wilson, a fourth-year science student and the lead researcher on the paper said.
The researchers with Professor Stephen Porter's Forensic Psychology Lab had tested their theory by showing slides of different faces bearing different emotions to a sample of young men.
While the faces were happy or sad, male or female, they were to describe as being in either a high- or low-paying job.
Wilson found men who scored high on a psychopathic personality questionnaire had an unusual ability to recall sad females in low-paying jobs.
He said: "What we concluded is that psychopathy is associated with a kind of 'predatory memory. They may use this to actively select their victims."
The paper "A pawn by any other name? Social information processing as a function of psychopathic traits," has been published in the Journal of Research in Personality.