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CCATP #599 — Dr. Devon Polaschek on Psychopaths

This week we’re joined by Dr. Devon Polaschek. Dr. Polaschek is the Joint Director of the New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science at the University of Waikato. I will further embarrass her by mentioning that she was recently awarded with a Queen’s Birthday honour (as in Queen Elizabeth). Dr. Polaschek has has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to criminal psychology.

In this interview, we talk about Devon’s work with imprisoned psychopaths and her successful efforts to rehabilitate them. It’s a fascinating discussion of the perspective of psychopaths: how they differ from other criminals and the ways in which they are similar.

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3 thoughts on “CCATP #599 — Dr. Devon Polaschek on Psychopaths

  1. David Bennett - June 21, 2019

    I can imagine nurse Rached might make people worse.

    A great interview, and great interviewing.

    One thing you didn’t talk about (or maybe you did and I missed it) is ‘putting yourself in the position of the victim’ and feeling empathy for their situation.

    I am surprised to learn that sociopaths can be remoulded. I had the idea that they were walled off from any empathy and that that was that.

  2. podfeet - June 21, 2019

    Glad you found it interesting, David, and thanks for the compliment on my interviewing chops! Devon was actually the first person to ever compliment that particular skill to me.

    Empathy for the victim is not a subject to be dismissed but wasn’t the topic of discussion. That might fit into a discussion of whether criminals _should_ ever be released, while this was a discussion of how they could be rehabilitated and released with the highest chance of not being reincarcerated.

    And one terminology correction. We were talking about psychopaths, not sociopaths. I have no idea whether sociopaths can be remoulded!

  3. David Bennett - June 21, 2019

    A psychiatric nurse wrote something that stuck with me – namely that these people change their moral stance to suit their objectives rather than having a set of moral values that dictate their behaviour.

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