I was reading something on Slashdot about HP dumping Board member George Keyworth for leaking things to the press. The issue wasn't that he was dumped, it was that pretexting was used to get his phone records. This being Slashdot, the idea that all CEOs and politicians are sociopaths quickly came up. This is how it supposedly works: no normal human being would be willing to cut jobs, sell out their colleagues, keep saying what people want to hear with no guilt from lying, and otherwise do the things that lands you on top of the corporate ladder or in Congress. In order to be successful at those things, you have to lack empathy with others â€“ hence, you're a sociopath. Very intelligent sociopaths can be surprisingly charismatic â€“ they learn can learn, and exploit, social graces even if they don't feel bound to them. Is there any evidence to back this up? There's a book called The Sociopath Next Door, written by a clinical psychologist, but I haven't read it. A search of the literature doesn't show much, although I have to admit I'm not familiar with the technical terms to use in searching academic journals. I did find one piece of related evidence. A magazine was able to run a Voight-Kampff test on the candidates for mayor of San Franscisco. They determined that the majority were replicants, and not human beings at all. What do you think? Are politicians and CEOs really amoral enough to be called sociopaths, or do these jobs select for sociopathic tendencies? Or is it just an intelligent way of saying their jerks and we're jealous of them?