Born to Be Conned

first_imgThe New York Times:THERE’S an adage you hear most any time you mention con artists: You can’t cheat an honest man. It’s a comforting defense against vulnerability, but is it actually true?No, as it turns out; honesty has precious little to do with it. Equally blameless is greed, at least in the traditional sense. What matters instead is greed of a different sort: a deep need to believe in a version of the world where everything really is for the best — at least when it comes to us.Robin Lloyd wasn’t looking to get rich. She was just a poor college student who thought she’d finally caught a break. It was 1982, and Ms. Lloyd was making her first trip to New York City. On Day 1 she fell for what, to a hardened New Yorker, would seem impossible: a game of three-card monte. On a Broadway sidewalk, a loud man behind a cardboard box was doing something at lightning speed with three playing cards, telling the crowd to “follow the lady.” Guess where she went correctly, and you could easily double your cash.…Delroy L. Paulhus, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who specializes in what have come to be known as the dark triad traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy), suggests that “Machiavellian” is a better descriptor for what con artists do than “psychopath.”Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >last_img


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