Psychopath Eyes – Signs, Sanpaku Eyes, Stare And Characteristics
Psychopath Eyes – Crime dramas, thriller movies and detective stories have popularized psychopathy and given rise to many myths about its true meaning.
For example, people sometimes use the term “psychopath” interchangeably with other stigmatizing terms such as “evil”, “violent”, or “criminal”. You may have read that psychopaths do not experience emotions and do not care about the consequences of their actions.
You may have heard that a psychopath can be recognized just by looking into his eyes.
However, psychopathy is more complex than these ideas.
First, psychopathy is not a true mental health diagnosis. It is a loose term for traits commonly associated with a psychiatric diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).
People with ASPD usually:
- have no clear idea of right and wrong
- has difficulty understanding and empathizing with the feelings of others
- show a little remorse for one’s actions
These characteristics can certainly increase a person’s chances of engaging in illegal or dangerous behavior, but they do not necessarily make a person aggressive.
And the appearance of what they call you a psychopath? Is there any truth to the fact that you can recognize the psychopath in someone’s eyes? Or is this just another myth? Below is a scientifically based explanation.
How should they differ?
Psychopath Eyes – Your eyes and movements can convey a lot of information about your feelings and emotions, from joy to humor, from boredom to contempt.
While your eyes may be focused on someone you find attractive or attractive, you can quickly look away from something that scares or annoys you. Your pupils also dilate when you experience strong emotions such as fear, anger, and love (or lust).
Some experts also believe that the eyes can provide clues to basic personality traits, supporting the idea that your eyes allow you to see into your soul.
The various features of the proposed “psycho-eye” seem to echo the common belief that people with ASPD have no emotions to show.
This description includes:
- dead, flat or reptilian eyes
- very dark irises or black eyes
- non-dilated pupils
- an expression such as a smile that does not reach the eyes
- ‘soulless’ look or stare.
The “Psychopath Stare”
You may also have heard of the “psychopath stare.”
People often describe it as a lingering, predatory look, or a look that feels intrusive and uncomfortable. Maybe you feel like someone is watching you and getting your attention every time you look up.
Suggested reasons for this aspect vary.
Some people believe that people with psychopathic traits use intense eye contact to intimidate others to make it easier for them to use manipulation tactics.
Others suggest it is a way to maintain power and control during social interactions.
However, others say it’s just boring. A closer look can make you shudder, even a little scary, a reaction that is sure to be appreciated by those who like to inflict fear and pain.
But there is little evidence to support either of these ideas. It should also be noted that a diagnosis of ASPD does not automatically mean that someone enjoys hurting others.
What About Sanpaku Eyes?
According to Japanese face reading, the various elements of your face can give insight into your personality, skills, and experience.
Sanpaku, which means “three targets”, is an element of face reading.
If you look at your eyes in a mirror, you will of course see white patches (sclerae) on both sides of each iris. But if you also see white above or below the iris, your eyes are considered sanpaku: they have three whites.
Sanpaku are divided into two subtypes:
- Yin Sanpaku: It refers to the white color under the iris. Traditionally, yin-sanpaku suggests that you may be facing some kind of threat or danger from the world, or that you have a tendency to expose yourself to risk or danger.
- Yang Sanpaku: This refers to the white color of the iris. It is said that you face a lot of internal threats. In other words, you are likely to find it difficult to deal with unwanted emotions, which can negatively affect your behavior and overall well-being.
George Ohsawa is generally credited with introducing the idea of sanpaku into Western society. However, his explanation differs slightly from traditional face reading, as he suggests that sanpaku has a more negative connotation.
Yang sanpaku in particular has been associated with mental illness and psychopathic traits, including:
- Tendency toward angry or maybe violent outbursts
- Suspicion of others
- Poor self-control
A person’s normal facial expression can give clues to their personality or feelings. However, there is still no scientific evidence to support any connection between sanpaku and psychopathic traits.
What research says
Psychopath Eyes – Researchers noticed two major differences when comparing the eyes or gaze of people with ASPD characteristics with people without those characteristics.
Here is a summary of their findings.
A 2018 study examined the relationship between psychopathic traits and pupillary dilation in response to stimuli.
The researchers started by measuring primary and secondary psychopathic traits in 82 mentally ill men:
- Primary psychopathic traits refer to affective interpersonal traits and behaviors such as lack of guilt, low empathy, and manipulative tendencies.
- Secondary psychopathic traits refer to lifestyle-related antisocial behaviors such as breaking the law, behavior problems, and impulsive or risk-taking behavior.
Participants were presented with a combination of images, videos, and sound clips designed to evoke negative, positive, or neutral emotional responses.
When viewing negative images or angry faces, participants with higher levels of primary psychopathy showed less pupil dilation than other participants.
The examiners did not notice any change in pupil dilation in response to positive images or any of the audio clips. They also found no similar responses in participants who scored high on measures of secondary psychopathy but not on primary psychopathy.
A previous study by the same researchers looked at a possible association between psychopathic traits and student activity in 102 male and female students. This study did not show a clear association between psychopathic traits and decreased pupillary response.
The authors of the study offer a possible explanation that levels of psychopathy tend to be lower in community samples.
In other words, the key traits that are then associated with student responses may not show up as often or as strongly in the wider community, only in people with very high psychopathy scores.
Three separate studies challenge the so-called “psychopathic Stare”.
The results of this study show that people who score higher on psychopathy are actually less likely to make eye contact or make eye contact with others.
A 2017 study compared 30 men with at least one conviction for violence against 25 men with no convictions.
When they were shown images of faces, participants with higher bold scores on the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (a questionnaire designed to detect psychopathy) looked at the eye area more slowly. They also spend less time making eye contact.
The authors of the study suggest that this may support the link between psychopathic traits, difficulty processing emotions, and a reduced response to fear.
A 2018 study examined the association between psychopathic traits and outlook in a sample of 108 inmates. The study also found evidence that people with higher scores on interpersonal affect paid less attention to faces that express fear.
A third study published in 2020 looked at eye contact in social interactions.
In a series of face-to-face interviews with 30 adult inmates, the researchers found that those with higher affective psychopathy scores tended to make less eye contact during conversations.
Together, these results contradict the idea of a psychopathic perspective.
They also support existing research showing that people with psychopathic traits have difficulty recognizing and processing emotions, social cues, and facial expressions.
Is there a reliable way to detect psychopathy in someone?
It is almost impossible to “see” psychopathy in a person’s eyes or any other physical characteristic.
Yes, in people with certain psychopathic traits, the pupils may dilate less when faced with frightening images. However, as experts point out, in everyday life it can be less obvious, especially when you don’t know what to look for.
However, there may be other explanations for the lack of expansion. And don’t forget that diminished pupillary response doesn’t seem to apply to people with predominantly secondary psychopathic traits.
The same goes for eye contact. People may or may not make eye contact during a conversation for a variety of reasons. They can be shy or just nervous. They may have social anxiety or autism.
The research also disproves other common assumptions about psychopathy.
For example, people with ASPD may:
- experience emotions, although they often have difficulty recognizing and controlling them
- build relationships and maintain relationships with others
- regrets the undesired outcome, even if it is difficult for you to use the experience to make other decisions in the future
The Bottom Line
It’s best to avoid making assumptions about someone based on their appearance or body language. Personality disorders, like any other mental illness, manifest differently in different people.
Only trained mental health professionals have the knowledge and experience to accurately diagnose ASPD. They make this diagnosis by looking at old patterns of exploring and manipulating a person’s behavior, rather than looking them in the eye.