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Having read a miniscule amount about concepts like secondary psychopathy and conscientiousness, I am wondering about how and why psychologists have decided (or maybe the field of psychology has) that eschewing social norms is a sign of selfishness—if I have understood or characterised that means of measurement correctly.

From my point of view, the norms of any particular society as a whole cannot be relied upon to be a good indicator of what it is right or wrong to do. Many, if not most, societies inadvertently endorse behaviour which causes extreme suffering to others without any due justification.

In the face of this huge problem facing any moral individual, whereby their inadvertant actions, if they are not thought through (but are merely followed through because they are expected), may cause or contribute to massive suffering to others, why should anyone think it morally correct or psychologically 'beneficial' to fall back on or adhere to social or societal norms?

How would someone who didn't care about reporting their neighbour for harbouring disfavoured people (Jewish people, gay people, communist people) in Nazi Germany come out on a secondary psycopathy scale, or conscientiousness scale? And how would they fare if they didn't really care too much about when they got their paperwork in, or how punctual they were, because there was far more important stuff to worry about?

If we don't want to fall into the trap of endorsing whatever violence one's society wishes to inflict upon a disfavoured or invisible group, don't we need to be sceptical about the priorities that we are superficially handed down arbitrarily by our immediate society and try and find out what it is actually important to do or not do? And if we don't undertake to do this, but instead follow societal norms, are we not risking inadvertently blindly sending people or other sentient beings to ends involving huge amounts of pain and suffering? And is this, and other norm-following behaviour not a form of indolent and lazy selfishness?

What is the structured thinking behind psychologists assigning behaviour that doesn't fall in with societal norms - often very superficial types of behaviour - to selfishness?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. To me there is a very good question in here, but we work differently to most SE sites, where we have a strict policy that all questions should show evidence of prior research. Please help us to help you and edit your question to provide more information on what you have read on this subject, and any problems you are having understanding your research. If you found nothing, what did you Google? This helps to frame your question and therefore provide an answer which will be more helpful. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Apr 20 at 3:13
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    $\begingroup$ I'll just point out that if someone commits crimes (such as harbouring Jews in Nazi Germany), then they have bigger problems to worry about than an ASPD diagnosis, and any society considering such behaviour as criminal likely has bigger problems than the occasional misdiagnosis. That said, the answer is "yes", there is a risk of misdiagnosis (as with any disorder): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Apr 20 at 5:10

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