Psychology and the Law ch 9

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8 Apr 2012
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Psychopathy: personality disorder; defined by interpersonal, affective, and behavioral
characteristics (sometimes known as a intraspecies predator)
The disorder is found around many areas of the world
Assessment of psychopathy
Cleckley: in the mask of sanity gave a clinical description of a pp - gave 16 features which
include +ve features (good intelligence, social charm), emotional-interpersonal features (lack
of remorse, untruthful),and behavioral problems
Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R): is used around the world
20 item rating scale, uses a semi-structured interview to assess interpersonal, affect
and behaviour features to pp (each item is scored on a 3pt scale; 2 means it definitely
applies, 0 means the symptom doesnt apply)
PCL-R has 3 groups: high PCL-R group (psychopaths; score>30), middle group (mixed
group; 20>x>30), low-scoring group (nonpsychopaths; score<20)
There are 2 correlational factors: (Factor 1) interpersonal & affect, (Factor 2) unstable &
socially deviant
Factor 1: more related to predatory violence and poor response to treatment; Factor 2: relat-
ed to reoffending, substance abuse and lack of edu
PP are also assessed w/ self-reports; these are good since they measure traits others don’t
see, easy to administer, some questions can be used to detect faking good or faking bad
Problems: they lie, may not know about all their traits, hard for them to report emotions
they havent experienced i.e. Remorse
Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R) and Self-Report Psychopathy
Scale (SRP) [2 types of self-report scales used]
PPI-R used for offenders and community samples; SRP is used for community samples
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Psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder
APD: has of conduct disorder before 15, and is deceitful, reckless and disregards others
Sociopath: people who refuse to adapt to society; manifest similar traits to a psychopath
but get them from poor parenting (psychopaths have a predisposed temperament)
Term sociopath is rarely used, and has no empirical evidence
Ppl w/ APD have more emphasis of antisocial behaviour on the PCL-R and 80% of offend-
ers have this disorder - only 10-25% of these ppl have pp
Most pp’s meet the criteria of having APD, but most w/ APD aren’t pp
Ppl w/ APD have symptoms similar to the behavioral feature of pp
Forensic use of psychopathy
The term pp is used in court for making sentencing decisions: supports transfer of a case
from youth to adult court, to assess mental state during time of hearing and to contribute to
dangerous offender hearings
People are not considered NCRMD, since they have a disease of the mind, but know what
was wrong and the nature of the crime
The PCL-R, in USA, has been used for sexual violent predator evaluations, death penalty
hearings and child-custody decisions
Diagnosis of APD, PP of SP is an aggravating factor for the death penalty
Psychopathy and violence
Pp’s are more likely to be violent younger, in prison, and released than others
Their violence often has a goal, and they carry it out callous w/out emotion
Ppl that conduct instrumental crime are more likely to score higher for pp than ppl who
commit reactive violent crimes
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