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Characteristics of Psychopaths

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. (2017). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall
Chapter 7, “Psychopathy” (pp. 178-210)

Heilbrun, K., Marczyk, G. R., & DeMatteo, D. (2002). Forensic mental health assessment: A casebook. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 5, “Case 1: Competence to Be Sentenced” (pp. 85–95)

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014c). Psychopathy [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Dr. Scott Duncan discusses psychopathy and how it relates to the study of criminal behavior. Consider how the measurement of psychopathy originated and the characteristics measured.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 16 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload Transcript

 

 

Assignment: Characteristics of Psychopaths

In this week’s Discussion, you considered the complexity of psychopathy. Despite uncertainty about how to define and classify psychopathy, there are firm characteristics that are associated with psychopaths. In your resources this week, you are introduced to the work of Robert Hare, one of the foremost psychopathy experts. Among other things, Hare created a way to measure criminal psychopathy. His tool for measurement, the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL-R), is a list of characteristics consistently associated with psychopaths that may be useful in identifying and evaluating characteristics of psychopaths. Widely used to classify psychopaths in the criminal justice system, the PCL-R is not a perfect instrument and is not the only instrument of measure for psychopathy. It is, however, a means to discover patterns of features associated with psychopaths.

For this Assignment, review the psychopathic behaviors identified by Hare and Cleckley on page 174 of the course text, and consider the characteristics of psychopaths. Then, review the forensic report case study of D.V. in Chapter 5 of Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Casebook, focusing on the criminal behavior and personality traits present in the case. Reflect on whether the personality traits indicate that the individual in the case study is a psychopath, as well as the degree to which psychopathy fully accounts for his behavior.

Assignment (1–2 pages):

  • Briefly describe the criminal behavior in the case study.
  • Explain whether or not the individual in the case study exhibits the characteristics of a psychopath, and why or why not.
  • Based on the information in the case study and this week’s other resources, explain at least oneconclusion you might draw about the nature of psychopathic behavior.

Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the resources for this course.

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