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The Mind of a Dictator

American neuroscientist James Fallon leads the audience on a fascinating tour of a hypothetical dictator’s brain. Since almost no studies have been conducted on the brain chemistry of tyrants, Fallon uses the results of tests performed on psychopaths, who share many of the same personality traits as dictators, as a foundation for his theories. Virtually all dictators can be classified as psychopaths—they exhibit malignant narcissism, lie pathologically, and many are involved in murder. Fallon reveals that psychopaths only form a small percentage of the population, but when one rises to power the results can be disastrous, and he warns how societies and cultures steeped in violence can trigger the expression of psychopathic tendencies.

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