Study: Cats May Legitimately Be Psychopaths

WGN News Now

A new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality has determined domestic cats display the traits associated with the definition of being a psychopath; callous, unemotional, and morally depraved to name a few.

Researchers surveyed cat owners to measure the range of their pet’s psychopathic tendencies such as running around the house for no reason, not feeling guilty about misbehaving, or being undeterred by punishment. The study’s author writes these traits may be a product of the evolutionary process, noting that the domesticated cat’s ancestors would have used them for survival. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Within an evolutionary framework, behaviors associated with survival in threatening contexts (e.g., climbing, attacking, hissing) may have been genetically selected for in the ancestors of today’s domestic cat. These behaviors may be conceptually related to psychopathy, and may still form part of the typical cat personality structure (Bergmüller, 2010).

From an evolutionary perspective, psychopathy is a product of evolutionary pressures which, through a complex interaction of environmental and genetic factors, lead some individuals to pursue a life history strategy that is manipulative and predatory (Mealey, 1995).

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