Author Douglas E. Richards has a master's degree in genetic engineering and was Director of Biotechnology Licensing at Bristol-Myers Squibb. He discussed the latest scientific findings about the nature of psychopaths, as well as studies about happiness, and personality. During his research, Richards was stunned to find out that 1% of the population are considered psychopathic, and such people can be found in many walks of life. A psychopath exhibits a range of specific behaviors and traits-- they are absolutely without conscience or empathy, they're ruthless and cold-blooded, and do not fully experience emotions, he detailed.
Yet, conversely, psychopaths can be incredibly charming, and often are brilliant liars and manipulators. "If they're caught in a lie, it doesn't faze them at all," because they don't have any shame, embarrassment, or self-consciousness, and will just create a bigger lie, he explained. "They can even fool people who study them for a living," are cool as a cucumber under pressure, never take blame for anything, and have the ability to zero in on people's weaknesses, he added. Psychopaths are chillingly sane, while psychotics are out of touch with reality, Richards continued. Brain studies have shown that psychopaths have fewer connections between the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for feelings like empathy and guilt.
Regarding the science of happiness, Richards reported the surprising finding that life circumstances (including financial) only play a small role (10%) in a person's well being, and that genetic predispositions of personality have a much larger effect (50%). The remaining 40% is under a person's control-- behaviors and actions which can influence happiness. Rather than material possessions and wealth, happiness seems to come from effort and challenge, being fully engaged in an activity, and feeling better about oneself from growing and learning, he said.
In the first hour, actor and musician Bill Mumy joined George in the studio to talk about his latest projects. He's been writing a new comic book, Curse of the Mumy, for Bluewater Productions, as part of their book series in which iconic TV characters/stars from the 1960s are turned into superheroes. He's also working on a fantasy novel with his former Lost in Space co-star Angela Cartwright, appearing in Marc Zicree's Space Command movie, and has a new music CD, Illuminations.