Do psychopathic people help us to survive?


The evolutionary framework of psychopathic traits has been broadly discussed in the literature. This paper aims at bringing a new perspective to the analysis of the evolutionary adaptiveness of psychopathic traits through the use of an agent-based model. The model presented here focuses on some of the most defining aspects of psychopathy, namely selfishness, risk-seeking attitudes and anti-social behaviours, and explores whether these traits are evolutionarily advantageous when both environmental and social conditions vary. We modelled two agent types: selfish risk-seekers and generous riskaverse individuals. Our model show that selfish risk-seekers outperform generous risk-averse individual when the combination of social and environmental conditions is moderately challenging. Results support the theory that key aspects of psychopathic traits are not dysfunctional but rather evolutionarily advantageous for individuals.

MPDEE 2018