FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY
LECTURE 3
Clinical and Forensic Assessment
of Psychopathy
Forensic Psychology
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Recommended Reading

Gacono, Carl B. (2000), The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of
Psychopathy Practitioners Guide. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
(Chapters 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13).

Howitt, Dennis), (2009) , Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Psychology:
3rd Edition. London: Pearson Prentice Hall – Chapter 20.

Millon, Theodore; Simonsen, Erik; Birket-Smith, Morten; and Davis, Roger D.
(1998), Psychopathy: antisocial, criminal and violent behaviour. New York:
Guilford. (Reading: Chapters 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 10, 12, 27).
Articles:
 Hare, Robert D. (1998). The Hare PCL-R: Some issues concerning it's use
and misuse. Legal and Criminal Psychology. 3, 99-119.

Herpertz, Sabine and Sass, Henning (1997). Psychopathy and antisocial
syndromes. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 10, 436-440.
Forensic Psychology
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Aims of Lecture
 Examine the link between mental illness and crime
 Describe what is meant by the term “psychopathy” and
understand the difficulties associated with defining psychopathy
 Describe the usefulness of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist –
Revised (PCL-R).
 Examine the concept of assessing risk and recidivism in
forensic populations.
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Mental Illness and Crime
 Concept of Mental Illness is perceived in different ways
between the professions of psychology and law. The media have
an effect on the public perception of mental illness and crime.
 Link
et al (1992) –Sample of 500 never treated
residents/mental patients in NYC. Psychiatric Epidemiology
Research Interview – assessing mental illness symptoms.
Although patients reported higher levels of violence, age, gender
and education level were a higher predictor of violent behaviour
than psychotic symptoms.
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Mental Illness and Crime
 Swanson (1990) – US study using the Diagnostic Interview
Schedule. While schizophrenia was associated with violence,
substance abuse was a greater predictor in the likelihood of
violent behaviour.
 Hodgins (1997) Stockholm – 15,000 born in 1953
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MEN - 32% with no mental illness criminals/ 50% of
mentally ill criminal
WOMEN - 6% with no mental illness criminals/ 19% of
mentally ill criminal
Why?
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History of Psychopathy
“We cannot treat, except empirically, what we do not
understand and we cannot prevent what we do not
comprehend”
Brittain (1970)
Pinel (1800’s)
“Manie Sans Delire” – insanity without a confusion of mind.
Patients engaged in impulsive and self damaging acts,
despite the fact that their reasoning was intact and that they
knew what they were doing was irrational.
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History of Psychopathy
Cleckley (1976) – “The Mask of Sanity” – Proposed that
psychopaths present a convincing mask with superficial charm,
good intelligence, etc, yet are impulsive, have poor judgment and
lack remorse.
 16 characteristics including interpersonal, affective, cognitive and
behavioural characteristics
irresponsible lifestyle.
associated
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with
an
impulsive,
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Cleckley’s Characteristics
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Superficial Charm
Absence of Delusions
Absence of Nervousness
Unreliability
Lying
Lack of Remorse
Anti-social Behaviour
Poor Judgment
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Egocentric
Poor Reactions
Lack of insight
Unresponsiveness in
interpersonal relations
Alternative behaviour
Threat of Suicide
Promiscuous
Lack of Life Plan
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Terms
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Antisocial Personality Disorder(ASPD)
Sociopathy
Psychopathy
(Terms used interchangeably in the literature)
Sociopathy diagnosis in DSM I – sexual deviation, alcoholism and anti-social
behaviour were features.
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Anti Social Personality Disorder
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18 years
Conduct Disorder before age 15
Violations of law
Disregard for others/self
Deceitfulness
Impulsivity
Irritable/aggressive
Lack of Remorse
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Hare Psychopathy Checklist
PCL-R – 20 item 40 point scale completed with a semi-structured
interview, and a review of independent and historical and
contemporaneous data
PCL-SV – 12 item scale
 Factor 1 – Interpersonal/affective features – callousness, lack of
remorse.
 Factor 2 – behavioural/affective features – socially deviant
lifestyle.
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Hare Psychopathy Checklist
1. Glibness/Superficial Charm
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
4. Pathological Lying
5. Conning/Manipulative
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Hare Psychopathy Checklist
6. Lack of remorse or Guilt
7. Shallow Affect
8. Callous/Lack of Empathy
9. Parasitic Lifestyle
10.Poor Behavioural Controls
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Hare Psychopathy Checklist
11.Promiscuous Sexual Behaviour
12.Early Behavioural Problems
13.Lack of Realistic Long Term Goals
14.Impulsivity
15.Irresponsibility
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Hare Psychopathy Checklist
16.Failure to accept Responsibility for Own Actions
17.Many Short Term Marital Relationships
18.Juvenile Delinquency
19.Revocation of Conditional Release
20.Criminal Versatility
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Anti Social Personality Disorder/Psychopathy
Behavioural Criteria in ASPD – behaviour that is observable and
can be agreed on by clinicians, but
Does not inform us about character
Does not predict behaviour
Does not suggest any specific type of treatment
Most psychopaths will meet criteria for DSM ASPD but ASPD
will not meet criteria for psychopathy
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Anti Social Personality Disorder/Psychopathy
Psychopathy – behavioural criteria and personality traits
APA (1994) – forensic population study:
 80% met criteria for ASPD
 15-25% met criteria for psychopath.
Quinsey, Rice & Harris follow-up study of offenders(1995):
 Psychopath – 80% committed offences
 Non-psychopath – 20% committed violent offences
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Administration of PCL-R
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Historical information
Record review
Clinical Interview
Greater than or equal to 30 psychopath
Over 32.5 – likely to be violent .
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Lecture 3: Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy I