PSYC 2400 Chapter Notes -Twin, Longitudinal Study, Halloween

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13 Apr 2012
Defining Psychopathy
Psychopath: a person with a collection of interpersonal, affective and behavioural characteristics
including Interpersonal, Affective, Lifestyle and Antisocial deficits (manipulation, lack of remorse
or empathy, impulsivity and antisocial behaviours). These do not necessarily have to be criminals
– can be politicians, judges, etc and they may not even be committing any crimes.
Base Rate: indication of the prevalence of a specific problem (psychopathy) within a specific
population (serial killers):
90% of serial killers are psychopathic (study: overestimate because he applied the tools to people
described in the media – proxy methodology).
1% of the general population are psychopaths (reliable estimate).
10-25% of the prison population are psychopaths.
44% of cop killers are psychopaths.
20% of male prisoners score above 30 (mean=22).
14% of female prisoners score above 30 (mean=19).
Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD): (suffers from the lifestyle deficits) characterized by a
history of behaviour in which the rights of others are violated; they have demonstrated conduct
disorder by age 15 and display at least 3 of the following symptoms after 15:
Repeat criminal acts;
Impulsivity ;
Reckless behaviours;
Irresponsibility, and
Lack of remorse.
APD places more emphasis on antisocial behaviours than the PCL-R. Nearly all psychopathic
offenders meet the criteria for APD but most offenders diagnosed with APD are not
psychopaths. 60-80% of prisoners have APD.
Assessing Psychopaths
There are a few:
Experience Impressions “In my clinical opinion”: based on their experience, training, case-by-
Though used, its frowned upon mostly because clinicians are inaccurate.
Self-Report Inventories: MMPI, MCI, PPI.
Psychopaths can lie on self-report inventories so they’re not great.
Informant Rating: ASPD. Where you get information about the person via other sources.
(Resolves the self-report problems).
Structured Clinical: DSM-IV (equated to antisocial personality disorder, though psychopathy and
APD are different), PCL-R, PCL:YV (youth version).
Best approach.
2.1 PCL-R: Psychopathy-Checklist Revised
PCL-R: the most popular method of assessing psychopathy in adults (Dr. Hare); the assessment
instrument is as follows...
20 items scored using a semi-structured interview and a review of file information to assess the
following three features:
Interpersonal Features: glib/superficially charming, grandiose/inflated self-worth, manipulative.
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