Say you're writing a story that involves a murder, and you need to work up a profile of your killer. Obviously, your killer is a bad guy. The question is: How bad? (BTW, If you're thinking about a psychopath, I HOPE you're thinking about a fictional one! If not, this info may be even more important to you...)
There was a study published in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology that compared fourteen male psychopathic-murderers to thirty-eight NON-psychopathic-murderers. The non-psychopaths talked about normal things (like their families), and either calmly accepted responsibility for what they'd done or exhibited some contrition.
The psychopaths, in contrast, all repeated the phrase that they "did it because of" (whatever), thus justifying their horrific act. This kind of disconnect MARKS the psychopath, and they are conscious of it from a young age, so they'll spin great tales to convince you how justified their actions were.
And guess what else they did? They all talked a lot more about self-gratification: Delicious food, great sex, making a lot of money. It wasn't uncommon for them to remember a fabulous meal... even on the days they were committing murder!
Julie (Okay, Lee typed it...)