Here’s an interesting interview with the author of a new book on psychopaths. Psychopaths are, of course, frequently discussed on this blog; they are essentially individuals untroubled by the concerns of morality. The author makes an interesting observation:
Psychopaths and Buddhists, in terms of their performance in the lab, have certain characteristics in common. They’re good at living in the present. They’re mindful. Both are calm under pressure. They focus on the positive. But also, both are good at mind reading. They’re very good at picking up on micro-expressions, basically lightning-fast changes in facial scenery; our brain downloads onto the muscles of our face before it decides on the real picture that it wants to project to the world. These micro-expressions are invisible to most of our naked eyes. But it seems that expert Buddhist meditators are able to pick them up, probably because they are able to slow down their perception. There’s a recent study that seems to show that psychopaths are also good at picking up on micro-expressions. We don’t really know the reason for that, but it could be that psychopaths might spend more time just studying us.