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Chapter 11

Chapter 11- Psychopaths.docx

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Richard B Day

Psych 3CC3: Forensic Psychology Chapter 11: Psychopaths Assessment of Psychopathy - Psychopathy is a personality disorder defined by a collection of interpersonal, affective, and behavioural characteristics - Cleckley described 16 features ranging from positive features, emotional- interpersonal features, and behavioural problems - Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R):  20-item rating scale that uses a semi-structured interview and a review of file information to assess interpersonal, affective, and behavioural features of psychopathy  Two factor model:  Factor 1 reflects the combination of interpersonal and affective traits and is related to predatory violence, emotional- processing deficits, and poor treatment response  Factor 2 is a combination of unstable and socially deviant behaviours and is related to reoffending, substance abuse, lack of education, and poor family background  Three-factor model: arrogant and deceitful interpersonal style, deficient affective experience, and impulsive and irresponsible behavioural style  Fourth factor called antisocial that includes the antisocial items  Use of PCL-R is supported in a range of samples - Self-report questionnaires:  Able to measure those attitudes and emotions that are not easily observed by others  Easy to administer, quick to score, and relatively inexpensive  Not necessary to worry about interater reliability since only the individual is completing the score  Some questionnaires include measures of response styles to detect faking good or faking bad  Psychopaths often lie  Psychopaths may not have sufficient insight to accurately assess their traits  Likely to be difficult for psychopaths to report on specific emotions If they have not experienced these emotions  Psychopathic personality inventory-revised  Self-report psychopathy scale Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder - Antisocial personality disorder refers to a personality disorder in which there is evidence for conduct disorder before age 25and a chronic pattern of disregarding the rights of others since age 15. After age 15:  Repeatedly engaging in criminal acts  Deceitfulness  Impulsivity  Irritability  Reckless behaviours  Irresponsibility  Lack of remorse - The constructs of APD, psychopathy, and sociopathy are related but distinct - Sociopaths manifest similar traits as psychopaths but develop these traits as a result of poor parenting and other environmental factors, whereas psychopaths are genetically predisposed to a temperament that makes them difficult to socialize - APD places more emphasis on antisocial behaviours than does the PCL-R - Prevalence of APD is very high in prisons - Nearly all psychopathic offenders meet the diagnostic criteria for APD, but most offenders diagnosed with APD are not psychopaths - APD symptoms are related to the behavioural features of psychopathy and not the interpersonal or affective features Forensic Use of Psychopathy - Majority of testimony regarding psychopathy has been associated with an increased severity of disposition - In Canada, psychopathy is used in making sentencing decisions: to support a case’s transfer from youth to adult court, to contribute to dangerous offender hearings, to help to determine parole eligibility, and to assess mental state at time of offence hearings - With respect to the insanity defence, a diagnosis of psychopathy does fulfill the disease of the mind requirement, but it has never fulfilled the second requirement of not appreciating the nature of quality of the act or knowing what is wrong Psychopathy and Violence - Characteristics that ordinarily help to inhibit aggression and violence, are lacking or relatively ineffective in psychopaths - High-density (prolific), versatile offenders - Start their criminal career at a younger age and persist longer, engage in more violent offences, commit a greater variety of violent offences, engage in more violence within institutions, and are more likely to be violent after release - Psychopathic violence is more likely to be predatory in nature, motivated by readily identifiable goals, and carried out in a callous, calculated manner without the emotional context that usually characterizes the violence of other offenders - Offenders who engage in instrumental violence score higher on measures of psychopathy than do offenders engaging in reactive violence - Psychopaths are more likely to target strangers and be motivated by revenge or material gain - Higher PCL-R scores were found for cases with multiple versus single offenders, stranger victims, and male victims; for offenders who left the scene of the murder; and for offenders who denied responsibility for the murder - Psychopathic offenders were given early release from prison more often than nonpsychopathic offenders. When followed-up on, the psychopathic offenders were less successful than the nonpsychopathic offenders Psychopaths in the Community - Use the Hare psychopathy checklist: screening version - In the general population, psychopathy is rare - Females consistently score lower than males on the PCL:SV and other psychopathy measures - Not all psychopaths are violent, nor do they all end up in prison - Babiak, Neumann, and hare: assessed psychopathic traits in corporate professionals:  Less likely to be team players, had poorer management skills, and had poorer performance appraisals  More creative, engaged in more strategic thinking, and had stronger communication skills - Eight characteristics of male psychopaths in heterosexual relationships: talking victim into victimization, lying, economic abuse, emotional abuse/psychological torture, multiple infidelities, isolation and coercion, assault, and mistreatment of children Psychopathy and Sexual Violence - Psychopathy is weekly associated with sexual offences - Psychopaths engage in significantly more violent offences than nonpsychopaths but engaged in fewer sexual offences - Offenders who commit sexual homicides are the most psychopathic, followed by mixed sexual offenders, followed by rapists, with the lowest psychopathy
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