Is it likely that a potential psychopathic killer will telegraph his intentions in advance by the basic words he uses to describe his deeds? Possibly, according to new research involving 52 murderers now incarcerated in maximum security prisons in Canada.

In a ground-breaking study of 14 psychopaths and 38 other murderers who did not have major psychiatric disorders, researchers found telling clues that clearly distinguished the two groups — simply the words they used in often-chilling interviews with clinical psychologist Michael Woodworth of the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. Previous work had determined that some of the men were psychopaths and the others were not, thus providing a chance to search for language differences between the two groups.

Psychopaths generally are unable to feel empathy or remorse, are egocentric and often abusive of others. They often appear healthy because they can fake the emotions others expect them to feel.

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