Recently I went to a comedy show as a part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

I think the comedian was Daniel Sloss.

Part of his act details a “Sociopath Test” his family once read about in a newspaper; I’ve found and pasted it below:

This is a genuine psychological test. It is a story about a girl. While at the funeral of her own mother, she met a guy whom she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy she believed him to be, that she fell in love with him then and there. But after the funeral, he disappeared, and try as she might, she could not find him. A few days later, the girl killed her own sister. What is her motive in killing her sister?

If you are able to tell the answer almost immediately, you are a sociopath.

The answer is that she killed her sister in the hopes of seeing the guy again at her sister’s funeral.

So let’s assume the test was somehow valid (and it isn’t) – most people would need some kind of reassurance that it isn’t real, accurate or effective.

But I believe that that’s not enough. People can be fooled easily enough simply by any figure of authority that simply insists that this test is true and accurate.

The first thing you should do is analyse the reason you didn’t get the “correct” answer straight away. My reasoning was that I was still trying to analyse who this man was and why he was at the funeral. For example – maybe he was an imposter, maybe he didn’t know the family at all? The answer assumes that he must be a family friend, or someone otherwise close enough that he would have genuinely been invited to the mother’s funeral and one would reasonably expect that he would also be invited to the sister’s funeral.

But these are assumptions that my brain did not make. Because I am precise.

And this anecdote alone should show that such a test cannot be reliable, for you have to make a possibly incorrect assumption in order to determine what is apparently the “right” answer.

For this reason, any rational and logical person who hears this from a friend, or reads this in a magazine should instantly be able to deduct, without the opinion of a professional or expert, that this test is inaccurate and untrue, and not representative of anything other than gullibility.

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