The psychopath does feel powerful when he lies. The lies are his source of power to manipulate another person’s reality. I propose however, that the delight a psychopath feels is from playing the game because his boredom is temporarily relieved. The game always involves lies and deception in the pursuit of some objective and it focuses him like a predator focused on its prey. This focus gives him pleasure. It’s the thrill of the chase that makes him feel alive.
Dr. Eckman’s research centered on face and body language. It’s my understanding that his description of “duper’s delight” was related to his observation of a fleeting smile, a “micro-expression” that appeared on some liar’s faces as they were attempting to manipulate another with lies. To Dr. Eckman, this expression seemed inappropriate for the situation.
We’ve all known people who laugh when they’re nervous. Perhaps the laughing is “bypassed anxiety” similar to the “bypassed shame” of narcissism. The psychopath’s game, when the stakes are raised, might induce him to smile or laugh to relieve the unacknowledged stress.
It’s possible that these micro-expressions may be a fleeting, bypassed, nervous reaction in the psychopath as the game ramps up. That would fit with their tendency to bypass emotions.
On the other hand, I have witnessed a psychopath go from raging mad and abusive to suddenly grinning from ear to ear when he thought he was about to win the game. It was one of the most demonic expressions I had ever seen and I can’t begin to imagine what evil blood lust he might have been feeling at that moment.« Back to Glossary Index