Psychopathy – A Brief Overview


Living Room Design

Psychopathy

A living room filled with furniture and a large window

Is a personality disorder that has been identified by many different words throughout this history of psychology, from psychopathy and sociopathy to dissocial personality disorder and others.

Psychopaths tend

A living room filled with furniture and a fireplace

To be very charming and manipulative individuals who use their charm and charisma to manipulate people while remaining totally unconcerned about the consequences of their actions, both to others and to themselves. Their superficial charm conceals a complete inability to form normal human attachments or sympathies with other people.

The psychopathy checklist

Revised (PCL-R) is one test used within criminal justice settings for psychopathy diagnosis. PCL-R measures psychopathy via 20 behaviors in two groups of ten related items each called factor 1 (interpersonal/affective) and factor 2 (behavioral/lifestyle). Factor 1 involves emotional aspects while factor 2 involves antisocial behaviors. A score of 25 or higher out of 40 possible points indicates psychopathy. The list below describes the traits that are often seen in psychopaths according to Robert Hare’s psychopathy checklist – Revised:

The PCL-R

Is the psychopathy checklist most widely used to measure psychopathy. Other tests that are also well known and commonly used include The Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) and The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale. All of these psychopathy checklist scales share a common element: they each focus on evaluating psychopathy as a personality disorder characterized by interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, and antisocial features.

Psychopathy is present in most groups of people at varying levels, ranging from low psychopathy (sociopathy) up to high psychopathy. In psychopathy, personality traits are “extreme”, i.e. superior to the general population in the same way that abnormal psychology is defined as a departure from normal or average human behavior and thought processes. In psychopathy, scores on psychopathy tests tend to be well above average so psychopathy can be considered a high functioning form of mental illness.

Psychopaths have been found in all cultures across the globe throughout this history of psychology, so psychopathy seems to represent a basic aspect of human nature regardless of its varying forms and expressions throughout different times and places during this history of psychology.

Psychopaths tend to be very charming and manipulative individuals who use their charm and charisma to manipulate people while remaining totally unconcerned about the consequences of their actions, both to others and to themselves. Their superficial charm conceals a complete inability to form normal human attachments or sympathies with other people.

Furthermore, psychopathy is related to a specific psychobiological model of psychopathy which focuses on the psychophysiological aspects such as psychobiology and psychophysiology.

Also, “psychopaths are often very skilled manipulators, however, they lack ’emotions’ in the sense that they cannot experience emotions as others do”.

Their superficial charm conceals

A complete inability to form normal human attachments or sympathies with other people. Although psychopathy itself is not considered to be an impulse control disorder, many psychopaths generally have very poor behavioral controls despite having a generally high intellectual capacity for problem-solving. Psychopathic individuals are also likely to engage in other impulsive behaviors that are potentially harmful to themselves or others (e.g., sexual promiscuity, stealing, reckless driving, substance abuse, aggressiveness) and may fail to consider the consequences of their actions (e.g., only thinking about the short-term benefits instead of long-term consequences).

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter