Sociopath Focus of New Youtube Series

Laura Studebaker and Audrey Pak sit down to watch Shane Dawson's new series.

Laura Studebaker and Audrey Pak sit down to watch Shane Dawson's new series.

Nicole Kennedy and Erika Riedel

Youtuber Shane Dawson, known for his investigative videos on internet personalities, has recently released a series that examines the mental state of vlogger Jake Paul, who has a reputation of being insensitive, aggressive, and considerably insane in the videos he posts.

Dawson claims that Paul’s belligerent behavior may categorize him as a sociopath.

A sociopath is someone with a personality disorder that causes them to lack empathy.

During the series Dawson consults with a mental health professional and analyzes Paul’s videos, which often showcase pranks that could be harmful to himself or others.

The fact that 1 in 25 people may be sociopaths, according to Dawson’s therapy expert, surprised sophomore Kate Dendinger. “You think that mental illness is a rare thing so when I found out so many people have this condition I was really surprised… The scary thing is it started to make me wonder how many people I know of or even know well are sociopaths and don’t feel empathy,” she said.

Yet sophomore Connor Sullivan, who also viewed Dawson’s series, believes that sociopaths “don’t really want to hurt anyone” after watching the videos.

According to Sullivan, the controversial subject matter of Dawson’s videos “didn’t bother [him].” Sullivan believes the illnesses described may make people prone to being manipulative and lacking in empathy, but it doesn’t make them “bad people.”

AP Psychology teacher Steven Dyer is skeptical of Dawson’s claims regarding mental illness.

“I don’t think that at a teen’s age someone would be able to exhibit those symptoms. That type of mental disorder develops over time. I would say that someone would be able to grow into that by the time they are in their 20s or 30s,” said Dyer.

Dyer added, “People accusing others of being sociopaths is invalid because most likely, the accuser doesn’t know what the term ‘sociopath’ even truly means.” According to Dyer, “sociopath” is a blanket term for a wide-rance of symptoms.

Dyer thinks accusing other students of being sociopaths is “definitely not healthy” and reckless. “I don’t think I have encountered anybody at this school that totally lacks empathy,” said Dyer.

Dyer does agree that teen in particular are in need of more understanding regarding mental health issues. “If you get the stigma around mental health away it can be really beneficial. People ignoring and refusing to talk about these issues isn’t going to make it go away. Being aware of mental health issues is very important,” he said.

While Dawson’s intentions may not be all about raising awareness, his series has contributed to an important conversation.