Kenneth Lay was the founder and former CEO of Enron, a large energy company that went bankrupt in 2001, creating $60 billion in investment losses and wiping out $2.1 billion in the pension plans of thousands of workers. Lay was charged with 11 counts of conspiracy, insider trading, securities fraud, and lying to auditors. Prosecuters charged that he knew his company was in deep trouble and was aware of fraudulent accounting practices, and that he hid losses from investors until the company collapsed. During this time, Lay began dumping his own stock before Enron collapsed, even while encouraging others, including company workers, to buy more. During his trial, Lay claimed he never knew of the accounting fraud. He portrayed himself as a trusting man who was let down by corrupt staff, especially former finance chief Andrew Fastow, now serving 10 years in prison for his role in the Enron collapse. At times during his trial, Lay became combative and hostile, insisting that others were responsible. At other times he claimed that the collapse of Enron was the most painful experience of his life, even going so far as to say the experience was equivalent to the death of a loved one. In 2006 he was convicted and might have served up to 45 years in jail if he had not died suddenly of a heart attack before sentencing took place.
Kenneth Lay exhibited several characteristics consistent with the antisocial personality and psychopathy. He was a charming person who could convince others to buy his company's stock, even though he knew his company was in deep trouble and was secretly selling his own shares. Self-assured and confident, he used his personal charisma to dupe others out of billions of dollars. He repeatedly tried to shift the blame for his company's collapse onto others. When faced with evidence of his responsibility, he became combative and hostile and was easily irritated on the witness stand. He expressed no remorse for destroying the life savings of thousands of Enron workers. And finally, he tried to play the "poor me" card to garner sympathy from the jury by pointing out all the pain and suffering he had endured.
The lack of remorse and guilt feelings and indif ference to the suffering of others is the hallmark of the antisocial mind. The antisocial person can be ruthless, without the normal levels of human compassion, charity , or social concern. See A Closer Look on pages 634-635 for current theories and research on how people become antisocial and the psychological forces that keep them that way . Table 19.2 summarizes the key characteristics of the antisocial personality disorder . Also included are typical beliefs or thoughts that someone with this disorder might have.
A concept related to antisocial personality disorder is psychopathy, which was a term coined toward the middle of the last century (Cleckley , 1941) to describe people who are superficially charming and intelligent, but are also deceitful, unable t feel remorse or care for others, impulsive, and lacking in shame, guilt, and fear . Psychopathy and antisocial personality are similar notions, but there are important distinctions so they should not be used interchangeably . The antisocial personality designation places emphasis on observable behaviors, such as chronic lying, repeated criminal behavior, and conflicts with authorit . The psychopathy designation places emphasis on more subjective characteristics, such as the incapacity to feel guilt, a high degree of superficial charm, or having callous social attitudes. The distinction can get blurred, since the DSM-IV also includes a subjective criterion, "lack of remorse," in its definition of antisocial personality disorde . However, the concept of psychopathy is mainly a research construct, pioneered by the scientific work of psychologist Robert Hare. He developed a measure of the construct called the Psychopathy Checklist, which contains two major clusters of symptoms. One cluster
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