ARTICLE 1: IS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR A CENTRAL COMPONENT OF PSYCHOPATHY? CONCEPTUAL
DIRECTIONS FOR RESOLVING THE DEBATE
Skeem and Cooke (2010)
1) A popular measurement tool for personality research is the PCL-R which is intended to look into
psychopathy as a personality disorder and this article is looking into it’s construct (what is it
measuring) validity in order to understand its use in criminal cases.
2) Views are contentious on whether criminality is an aspect of psychopathology or not. The PCL-R
has focus on it yet others think that that emotional detachment is a more important factor.
3) The checklist has informed clinical psychology and forensic psychology for years of what is
considered to be psychopathology and its various aspects. Assessing the PCL-r will allow us to
understand it’s credibility in the information we know.
4) Only so much factor analysis can occur and paper will give background and key words, key
problems with PCL-R, prediction and assessment separated, how to resolve. “view criminal
behaviour as correlate, rather than component of psychopathy”
a. Does the assessment and prediction have to be separated. Are there not many other
assessments that are made to do the same thing
5) PCL-R item interview and review institutional record. 3 models: 2 factor (factor one:
interpersonal/affective core, factor two: collection of socially deviant), 3 factor: (interpersonal,
affective, lifestyle), 4 factor (interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, antisocial).
6) The difference stated was that 2 and 4 had criminal compopents and the other was personality.
7) Criminal: “behaviour sanctioned by legal system”, antisocial focuses on criminality and related
behaviours (poor behavioural controls), antisocial: “behaviour that defeats the interest of the
8) Ppl infer things based on ppl’s personality to behaviour and vice versa
9) The # of criminal acts is normally counted and argue that doing so is not trait related but
behaviour related. Argued that there was no fluidity in the concepts. Concepts are relevant to a
“conceptual”comain that was constructed and change but does the personality change with it?
10) Conceptual and empirical issues of criminal behaviour as part of psychopathy
11) Confuse measure “a check list” with construct “ideal object where exists in mind” feel that is
had gone from a measure to an actual definition
a. Imperfectly maps it
b. Doesn’t correspond with original
c. b/c so abtract should be reversed
12) said PCL designed with a specific pop in mind which makes a construct common vs. a measure
(development happened but still very context specific)
13) “underinclusive of some psychopathic ppl and overinclusive of some non-psychopathic ppl”
a. Argued that “classic criminal behaviour” but was described as against law so crime of
while collar and other kinds can still be included in that. 14) Overinclusive “antisocial but no psychopathic” may be factors for crime may be other than
a. Heterogeneous sample seen as a negative thing, excludes low “trait anxiety” and include
crime when not part of it
i. Same as other disorders….omission of treat and include other which results in
over diagnosis. Small set is core of disorder and others are the same but allows
the range to be seen.
15) There are problems with the PCL-R and there are no statistical results being presented to say
that the model is accurate.
16) “factor structure is neither a conceptualization of, nor a theory about, a construct.” A pure
concept needs to occur for a measure to continue to develop and even if a measure describes a
construct, it shouldn’t be confused for an explanation. Discussing only factors leaves
17) The definition is a combination of a debate that was “about the primacy of and relationshop btw
two constructs that are consistently distinguished – psychopathy and antisocial personality
disorder. The PCL-R has the same factors that are discussed in antisocial personality and
therefore it is not specific enough.
18) Based on Cleckley’s information on psychopathy there was no indivation of criminal behaviour
being a key feature of psychopathy but sometimes a part of a “rare expression”. Cleckly “such
tendencies should be regarded as the exceptions rather than the rule, perhaps, as a pathologic
trait independent, to a considerable degree, of the other manifestations which we regard as
19) “it is not criminal behaviour per se but the motivation of (lack of) explanation for such behaviour
that is key. – emotiona detatchment rather than antisocial behaviour
20) Critique that deviate from the original and omit key features which is inconsistent
a. I think that this is actually a good thing in a way because probably thought of flaws and
altered it…..Yet sometimes remaining too close to the original can cause harms too
21) Based on the use of the PCL it seems that it is deemed as truth most of the time but there is no
actual definition so it makes its validity complication.
22) Construct validation can be done through “operationalism aka the use of measures to study a
idea” is necessary. “Pseudo-operationalism blocks scientific progress by treating a measure as
real and failing to recognize that the field’s understanding of a construct is always evolving”
a. This statement struck me as weird…they are saying that they fail to recognize ideas as
changing yet when hare changes it he gets criticized.
23) Diagnostic criteria and understand that it is more of an intervening variable which is a better
understanding one can get in relation to the independent and dependent variable but there is
no real connection or definition. PCL-R “diagnoses…reducible to the empirical laws that define
them (the checklist)…validity of empirical laws is necessary and sufficient for presuming he/she
is psychopath…he quantitiative expression of the concept can be obtained by grouping empirical
terms and functions” 24) It is not a homogeneous syndrome where the symptoms would be the same but they are more
unique. Analogy “PCL-R is not psychopathy any more than IQ test is intelligence” there is a type
of test rather than THE test!
25) There is a confusion with the origins and creates differences within the model. Children who
possess characteristics can grow up and not have them. “Measures that focus more exclusively
on emotional detachment might yield greater stability estimates”
26) Summary – inconsistent with original, no clear theory, consistent from evolutionary perspective
from measure-derived not ideal. “best advance through an iterative process in which theory
and research inform one another.
27) The scientific process involves having a theory and refining it and so on.
28) Said that there was change since clecklyan but then feels that there has been no changes (there
have been many alterations…but maybe he is referring to the operationalization of it)
29) Went from crime not being fundamental to a ultimate criterion and need to have changes
“iterative” process in order to avoid problems.
30) Why has there been no change
a. Justice system likes to be able to predict
b. Some factors have been useful in predicting behaviour
c. Emotionally detached ppl use it as a manipulative way and control/exploit others.
i. Therefore people’s ideas of the truth is what perpetuates its use (as an idea)
1. Hard to change because already using and will probably look back in the
eyes of the court system again which they already look down on.
31) The pclr is used mostly in criminal proceedings and predicting future crime (application)
32) Generally interpret psychopathy as predictive and need to change in order to see its other
33) The application is generally to assess criminal behaviour yet other measures that are meant for
this criminal assessment do a better or just as good a job.
34) Being able to predict is based on
a. Past criminal behaviour, which can be done separate from the assessment…did it before
will do it again
b. There are other traits related to past criminal behaviour but no psychopathy specific….
35) b/c core features (factor 2) “explain relatively little variance in future violence and that criminal
behaviour/social deviance may be a epiphenomena (secondary phenomenon that occurs
alongside or parallel to primary phenomenon) that the focus should narrow.
36) The pcl-r seems to have two functions, one criminally and one clinically which makes criminal
behaviour SEEM to be part of it. They stated that the 4 factor has improved some by adding
violence and aggression but others would help too
a. This argument seems to perpetuate keeping them together rather than driving them
38) Reification talks about how to make it more real/clear for future research 39) Looking for a clear theory whether it be biological or developmental to sa y how the two
conditions are correlated, etiological processes? How manifestation the same? Unique to
psychopath vs other disorders….
40) If there is no theory then it should be viewed as associative. Mentioned different kinds of
a. Symptomatic – look at symptoms correlated
b. Related syndrome to a homogeneous group
c. Then boundaries and more understanding
d. Pathophysiological levels that underlie it
e. Etiological level highest (causation)
f. Better understanding
41) Biopsychosocial models might be good and presented examples
42) “inherited affect deficit that results in self defeating behaviour…may be based on reduced
lateralization of verbal processes …OR… Fowles-Gray…motivational systems that influence
behaviour: the behavioural inhibition system (BIS) regulates responsiveness to aversive stimuli
and associated with anxiety, whereas the behavioural activation system (BAS) regulates
appetitive motivation and impulsivity…intact BAS and weak BIS and therefore no anxiety which
causes inhibit activities that lead to punishment OR Lykken’s fearless…facilitates learning to
avoid conditions associated with pain and therefore difficulty avoidance. OR newman’s
emphasis n lack of anxiety
43) Examples all placed validation in other theories either pathophysiological (pathology (medicine)
and physiology (disease/injury) or etiological. Many theories omit criminall behaviour because
of no validation
45) The next step is to test the new validation to the theory of psychopathy.
46) Based on example of the etiological/pathophysiolgogical “biological infleunces are more
strongly associated with interpersonal and affective features (factor 1) than “antisocial
a. Maltreatment associated with 2
b. Anxiety associated with 2
c. Low-anxious paychopaths manifest response modulation deficits…
i. When looking at these factors deficits associated with 1 vs. 2…
1. Pointed out that hare did notice the difference btween psychopaths nd
ability to process meaning in language and appreciate emotion vs.
antisocial personality had no difference with others.
47) Nature nurture debate comes into play
48) Last step ill advised
49) No mono-operation bias (aka one measure) find over many studies if reliance on PCLR –
may only be due to that
a. I had never thought about this that way and always thought it had to be true.
50) No tautological construct validation a. Four factor vs. 3 factor vs. 2 factor still have external correlates in the same domain as
the criminal behaviour “why has this man done these terrible things? Because he is a
psychopath. And how do you know he is a psychopath? Because he has done these
terrible things (explain in itself)
51) There are ways to change and while changing will have to treat it as the most real at the
moment. Still valid to use because no other option. But should advance it
a. Omit antisocial facet
b. Avoid relying on criminal acts
c. Include low trait anxiety to help isolate
52) “measures do not possess explanatory power; constructs do. The PCL-R is not the theoretical
constrct of psychology. HARE AND NEUMANN COMMENT AND REPLY
THE ROLE OF ANTISOCIALITY IN THE PSYCHOPATHY CONSTRUCT: COMMENT ON SKEEM AND COOKE
1 – argue that skeem and cook misrepresented their data and therefore didn’t argue in a very
- The idea that Hare’s theory was based on criminality was inaccurate.
- Quotes were taken “out of context or reconstructed in a way that it appeared like something
was said even though it was not”.
- Selective in studies (could have had negative cases)
o Compromise their argument
2 – focus will be on most outstanding claims and most counter arguments were made in 2008 paper
3 – words as a singular unit were quotes to make it seem like hare had said that criminal behaviour is
“important, critical, and even central to psychopathy” BUT all of these ideas were referring to antisocial
behaviour. Additionally words were taken to replace others to make it seem worse such as
“problematic behaviour” became “criminal”
4 – psychopathy was said to be built in corrections and hare’s argument was that it was used to assess
criminals from other criminals so yes it was used there but it is not the sole bases of it.
5 – there was a biased focus on how it is used in the criminal system and not in basic/applied research.
Additionally a critique was made based on how there was no other tests available other than the PCL-R
but in reality there are other versions that were made for different contexts. “extensive evidence to link
the sv and R on same “psychometric properties…behavioural, cognitive, affective, neurobiological,
predictive. If we believe that criminality is an essential component to psychopathy, they are facted with
the task of explaining how two instruments (one with reference to criminality and one without) can be
considered parallel measures of the same construct”
6 – Critiqued them for focusing only on the two factors instead of the four which has conceptually and
statistical reasons for criminal versatility
7 – They critiqued the definitions that they placed on criminal “behaviour that is sanctioned by the legal
system” and antisociall “ behaviour that defeats the interests of the social order” and “how one can
have the former without the later is unclear” There was a minimal difference and they remained to use
8 – There are items that have criminality reflected but there can still be a high score without. Also didn’t
mention that there are other factors such as lifestyle that address alternative perspectives 9 – Missed information because focused on factor one and suggested that f1 is a violent variant of
antisocial personality disorder but there is no empirical evidence to suggest this. Psychopathy