William Cleckley and Cora Cleckley. His younger sister, Connor Cleckley, was schooled for some time in England e. Headington School, Oxford and would later marry and be widowed by Aquilla J. Cleckley then earned his M. After several years of psychiatric practice in the Veterans Administration , he became professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Medical College of Georgia and in the Chief of psychiatry and neurology at University Hospital in Augusta. In , Cleckley was appointed clinical professor of psychiatry and neurology at the medical college and became founding chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior.
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Main article: History of psychopathy In the s, Philippe Pinel first used the French term manie sans delire "mania without delirium" to designate those individuals engaging in deviant behavior but exhibiting no signs of a cognitive disorder such as hallucinations or delusions. Although the meaning of the term has changed through numerous writings on the subject over time, the writing of Cleckley and his use of the label "psychopath" in The Mask of Sanity brought the term into popular usage.
Cleckley says in the preface that the book "grew out of an old conviction which increased during several years while I sat at staff meetings in a large neuropsychiatric hospital".
He added that after commencing full-time teaching duties he found similar patients to be as prevalent in a general hospital, outpatient clinic and the community. In later editions he explains that the basic concepts presented in were based primarily on "adult male psychopaths hospitalized in a closed institution" for several years. Cleckley had worked for a number of years at a United States Veterans military Administration hospital, before taking up full-time teaching responsibilities at the University of Georgia School of Medicine.
The second edition published in , Cleckley has described as a "new and much larger book", based on more diverse clinical observations, feedback and literature reviews. The third edition in he describes as having fewer changes and additions, but important clarifications to key concepts such as the hypothesis of a core semantic deficit. A fourth edition was published in The preface does not specify the changes made. Unlike the first edition it states: "Dr.
Corbett H. Thigpen , my medical associate of many years, has played a major part in the development and the revision of this work. Cleckley, his second wife, naming her as well as Hervey M. Cleckley and copyrighted to her rather than Mosby as for all prior initial releases which have been repeat published in various different years. Initial outline[ edit ] The Mask of Sanity begins in Section One, "An Outline of the Problem", by considering the concept of sanity , which Cleckley describes as protean.
He notes that many types of people hold beliefs that he and much of society would consider irrational, such as mysticism , pseudoscience , praising of unintelligible or immoral works e. He argues, however, that these are personal freedoms and such groups are usually capable of leading useful lives in harmony with others. This he says distinguishes it from psychosis once fully developed and from psychopathy.
He considers the terms sociopathic personality and antisocial personality, as adopted by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ; the relationship to the overall category of personality disorder ; and the earlier widespread concept of "constitutional psychopathic inferiority", disputing its hereditary assumptions.
He states that the main purpose of the book is to bring a few cases before other psychiatrists, and also to raise the profile among the public, to enable better management of psychopaths. Prevalence[ edit ] Cleckley argues under a subsection titled "Not as single spies but in battalions" a phrase appearing in Hamlet  , that although reliable statistics are hard to come by, there are various reasons to suspect both psychiatric and prison admission rates are an underestimate, and the incidence of the condition is in his opinion "exceedingly high".
He concludes they have "records of the utmost folly and misery and idleness over many years" and if considering the number in every community who are protected by relatives, "the prevalence of this disorder is seen to be appalling. He also says his method takes inspiration from that used in an earlier work, The Psychology of Insanity by English physician Bernard Hart first edition published in and now open access .
For example, the psychopath can typically tell vivid, lifelike, plausible stories that are completely fraudulent, without evincing any element of delusion.
When confronted with a lie, the psychopath is unflappable and can often effortlessly pass it off as a joke. In another typical case history, the psychopath is hospitalized for psychiatric treatment but because of his constant trouble-making, leaving wards in an uproar, the hospital is finally forced to turn him over to the police.
Eventually, the police become so sick of his repeated antics that they try to hospitalize him again. Also included are six vignettes of "Incomplete manifestations or suggestions of the disorder" in non-patients, such as "The businessman", "The gentleman" or "The physician". He criticises the tenets of faculty psychology now known as modularity of mind , arguing that such things as intelligence, morality and emotions are not separate parts in the brain but separate concepts we apply.
He notes the confusingly broad literal meaning and practical usage of the terms psychopathic personality or personality disorder, giving the example of the most authoritative textbook of the second quarter of the century, Psychopathic Personalities, by German psychiatrist Eugen Kahn. He rails against the counterculture antihero and gives as an example the novelist Alan Harrington  for suggesting a socially necessary role for psychopathy in modern times, calling the idea "perverse and degenerate".
He also criticizes Freudian -inspired ideas about antisocial acts being caused by unconscious guilt. He also disagrees with theories of neurotic, emotional or paranoid problems in subtypes of psychopathy, as in his concept there is always a relative or complete lack of this.
He says the new DSM "personality disorder, antisocial type" offers an accurate term equivalent to psychopathy which he thinks will also continue as a term for a long time. He notes that schizoid disorders may appear more similar, and might be more accurately called "masked schizophrenia", which he notes can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from psychopathy. He finds the diagnosis of "psychosis with psychopathic personality" unnecessarily confusing.
He declares, "There is little point in devoting space to detailed accounts of paranoid or cyclothymic personalities. In the fifth edition he describes long ago changing his opinion and now agreeing with the psychiatrist Richard L. Jenkins that this would stretch the definition of psychosis too far. However, despite the general picture of weak-willed and inconsistent antisocial behavior, he also states, at least in later editions, that some may develop drives towards the most serious or sadistic crimes.
He suggests this is a somewhat separate additional pathology but does not explain why or how. Cleckely considers that the concept of delinquency has much in common with his concept of psychopathy, and argues that it could be considered a mild version if it continues for a long time and is generalized. He notes that many respectable mature productive citizens can look back on short periods of unprovoked social misconduct, including such things as property damage, racism , bestiality , voyeurism , rebellion, and promiscuity.
On the other hand, he notes prolonged but prescribed behavioral disorder in the case of a woman who remained for some time "irrationally promiscuous and bisexual ", but who had plausible psychological reasons for her behavior and was otherwise functional in her work and life. He also notes he no longer considers that homosexuality should be classed as sexual psychopathy, on the grounds that many homosexuals seem to be able to live productive lives in society.
He considers that sexual fetishes are not particularly consistent with psychopaths, as the latter tend to have weak drives. However, paradoxically, he then states that psychopathy can be associated with particular sadistic drives and often be responsible for the most serious sex crimes. Other conditions[ edit ] He distinguishes psychopaths from non-psychopathic alcoholics , who by contrast have a purpose for drinking such as to avoid reality, and may want and try to change, whereas the psychopath appears to drink simply to behave outrageously and get into trouble.
He also separates psychoneurotics though accepts there may sometimes be overlap and " mental defectives " who unlike the psychopath will test poorly on theoretical intelligence tests as well as in behavior in life. The psychopath does not suffer from any obvious mental disorder but in the end seems to deliberately court failure and disaster for no obvious reason and despite intelligence, in what Cleckley calls a social and spiritual suicide.
Cleckley then considers whether psychopathy may be erratic genius. In surveying some noted literary works embodying what he describes as "malignantly perverse attitudes", such as by Paul Verlaine , Dostoevski , Marquis de Sade , Baudelaire and Swinburne some associated with the Decadent movement , he suggests that it might be a form of psychopathy, and might appeal to similarly disordered people or to "new cults of intellectual defeatists and deviates" such as certain avant garde groups.
However he concludes that such artworks and sexual deviations are more likely due to schizoid disorder with misanthropy and life perversion, whereas the "true psychopath" would not labor to produce art extolling pathologic or perverse attitudes; on the contrary, they would tend to superficially proclaim belief in a normal, moral life. However, Cleckley then suggests that initial potential for greatness and emotional depth may cause problems, such as being more affected by problems in life, that then leads into psychopathy.
Fiction and ancient history[ edit ] Cleckley then surveys numerous characters in fictional works that he considers to be portrayals of psychopathy.
He concludes by addressing figures in history, excluding Adolf Hitler and others from his definition but highlighting Alcibiades , a military general and politician in Ancient Greece. He describes a fascination with him growing out an old conviction in the "paradoxical" nature of his life, since learning of it in high school. He concludes that Alcibiades "had the gift of every talent except that of using them consistently to achieve any sensible aim or in behalf of any discernible cause" and he "may have been a spectacular example of
The Mask of Sanity Quotes
Start your review of The Mask of Sanity Write a review Shelves: non-fiction , my-book , social-sciences I wanted to read Hervey Cleckleys The Mask of Sanity because it is referenced in other psychopathology books as the leader of psychopathology for its time. Robert D. Hares Without Conscience, a book on psychopaths Ive read a few times, references it and I thought I would check it out. To be clear, I read the fourth edition. I found this book fascinating for probably all the wrong reasons. To put this book in its proper perspective, the bulk of the book research and writing was done in Women, for the most part, were expected to get married and have children.
Hervey M. Cleckley
They do so convincingly because they believe their own lies. After all their life is nothing but a lie, a sham, how can we possibly assume they know anything different. All I wanted was for him to leave me alone. Part of the hurt and damage was done because others could but would not see what was actually happening. He would always try to ingratiate himself to others it was sickening. Usually psychopaths put on the nicest act, and you look like the harpy and bitch, and so everyone takes their side, it is a horror story, a psychopath can be very charming, and manipulative and manipulate the smartest of people.