Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Can mental illness make people less prone to cognitive biases?

One of the usual methods of attack against me and my effectiveness is to attack my mental health status. The left wing, and more recently the ferals on the West Coast, like to say that because I suffer from a mental illness then somehow what I say can be discounted as the mad rambling of a mental idiot.

I have never hidden or shied away from honesty around my depression. My belief is that other can learn from it and they do. Several times a month people email me or phone to discuss my past posts on depression and medication. That honesty and openess though is often held against me.

However there is some evidence to suggest that sufferers from mental illness are less prone to cognitive biases.

Madness and irrationality may seem inextricably related. “You are crazy!” we say, when someone tells us about their risk-taking behaviour or their self-defeating actions. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) describe people with depression, autism, schizophrenia, dementia, and personality disorders as people who infringe norms of rationality. But not all people diagnosed with a mental disorder behave irrationally, and not all people who behave irrationally are diagnosed with a mental disorder.  Read more »

So who is the sociopath?

Andrew Little continues to defame Judith Collins, though he is now doing it inside parliament, because he is too cowardly to repeat the following outside of the parliament.

From Hansard: General Debate 20 June 2012

It was bad enough that there was a privacy breach to begin with. It was bad enough that ACC did not seem to respond effectively, and it is bad enough that since the privacy breach there have been even more privacy breaches. But none of this compares to the prevarication, the evasion, and the dissembling that has gone on in this House with the Minister failing and refusing to front up, and no wonder. It is quite clear that her conduct is not the conduct of a reasonable and responsible Minister. Her conduct is the conduct of a sociopath, Ms Tolley. Maurice Williamson understands that, because he has worked with too many of them for too long. He knows sociopathic conduct when he sees it.

Here is what is going on. All we wanted was straight answers, but Judith Collins needs to understand that it is not just what is said in this House that counts; it is what is said around the well-heeled, well-fashioned dining tables of the middle class around New Zealand. They are not called the chattering classes for nothing, I can tell you. They are chattering—they are chattering. What they are saying is that Judith Collins, when she got the news of the mass privacy breach, called the chief executive and the chairman of the board to her office in Auckland and asked them what was going on. She gave them a dressing down. She balled them out, gave them a dressing down, and said: “It’s not just a question of sorting out the privacy. I want you to go after Michelle Boag—go after Michelle Boag.” That is her plan—that is her plan.

Without a shred of proof he has made up details of a meeting, used rumour and innuendo to smear and besmirch Judith Collins. However the worst aspect of his disgusting little speech in the General Debate was his calling Judith Collins a sociopath.

The old school yard taunt of it “takes one to know one” echos in my mind.

Wikipedia says DSM-IV defines a sociopath as someone with a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

I have highlighted the areas in bold that Andrew Little has exhibited in recent weeks in parliament. Coincidentally none of those attributes are anything I have ever seen displayed by Judith Collins.

The World Health Organisation says a sociopath exhibits 3 or more of the following:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

Once again it appears as though Andrew Little has struck out. Judith Collins exhibits precisely none of the aforementioned attributes.

However, when you add the WHO descriptors to those of DSM-IV it becomes apparent that Andrew Little is confused. There is however one MP that precisely fits the description of a sociopath, particularly when you look at the WHO and the DSM-IV indicators together.

Based on the evidence it appears that Andrew Little was in fact talking about Trevor Mallard.

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