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Psychopaths, says neuroscientist Nobuko Nakano in her 2016 bestseller “Saikopasu” (“Psychopaths”), tend to share two personality traits. Freedom from fear and anxiety is one. Indifference to other people’s feelings is another.

In an article published last summer in Bungei Shunju magazine, Nakano briefly discussed readers’ responses to her book. Ninety percent of the readers she’d heard from said they knew at least one person who fits the psychopath mold. Psychopath is not synonymous with mass murderer. Few psychopathic types commit crimes. Many, Nakano says, play leading roles in society — as lawyers, surgeons, corporate CEOs and so on. That seems strange at first blush, less so at second.

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