Psychopaths Emotional Behavior Responses

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					Psychopaths: Emotional &
Behavior Responses

 Profiling Psychopathology
 Dr. Kline
I. What is psychopathy? (review)
  Core features-
        Psychopaths lack remorse
        Poverty of emotions (positive & negative)

     Psychopaths are:
     Superficially charming
     Pathological liars & cheaters
     Impulsive; sensations seekers
     Manipulative, will change story to fit facts
     Less responsive to fear/anxiety
      Usually diagnosed in men
II. What is the fundamental distinction
between APD & psychopathy???

     “Lack of remorse,” is needed for a
      diagnosis of psychopathy, but not for
      Antisocial Personality disorder.
Prevalence of psychopathy:

     Affects approximately 1% of the general
      population (Hare, 1991).

     Approximately 15-25% of incarcerated
      offenders meet criteria for psychopathy.
III. Historical Perspective of Clinical
description of Psychopathy:
    Pinel, a physician in the 1700s, noticed that some of his
     patients were impulsive & self-destructive. These
     patients were aware of the irrationality of their acts &
     their reasoning abilities were intact.

    He called this illness, manie sans delire (insanity
     without delirium)

    Benjamin Rush also reported cases of individuals who
     were clear in their thought processes, yet engaged in
     morally-deficient behavior. He coined the term
     “psychopathic” to describe these folks.
Historical perspectives contd.
   In 1941 Cleckley wrote, “The Mask of Sanity,” in
    which he provided not only a comprehensive description
    of psychopathy, but a method for assessing it.

   His description of psychopathy was made on the basis of
    observations of caucasian, middle-class male inpatients
    in a psychiatric institution. This concept is still stable

   Note: Cleckley focused on the psychopaths personality
    traits (poor judgment, impulsivity, lack of guilt or
    remorse, inability to learn from punishment, blaming
    others, etc.) and not on the patient’s criminal history.
Hart & Hare (1998)’s summary of
Cleckley’s psychopath:

     “Interpersonally, psychopaths are
      grandiose, arrogant, callous, superficial,
      and manipulative; affectively, they are
      short-tempered, unable to form strong
      emotional bonds with others, and lacking in
      empathy, guilt or remorse; and
      behaviorally, they are irresponsible,
      impulsive, and prone to violate social and
      legal norms and expectations. (p.25)”
Hare’s contribution:
 Hare developed the Psychopathy Checklist
  in 1980 & then revised it in 1991. This
  checklist is the goal standard that is used
  today to assess psychopathy in both
  criminal & non-criminal populations.

 Hare based his checklist largely on Cleckley’s
  original criteria for psychopathy.
IV. Items on the Psychopathy Checklist-
Revised (PCL-R)
   Factor 1-                  Factor 2-
   Interpersonal//Affective   Social Deviance

   Superficial charm          Need for stimulation
   Grandiosity                easily bored
   Pathological lying         parasitic lifestyle
   Lack or remorse/guilt      poor behavioral controls
   Manipulative               early behavioral problems
   Shallow affect             lack of realistic long-term goals
   Callousness/lacks-         Impulsivity
   Empathy                    Irresponsibility
   Failure to accept one’s    Juvenile delinquency
   Responsibilities
Rating system of Psychopathy Checklist
     The PCL-R (Hare, 1991) consists of 20 items.

   A 3-point scale is used to score items:
   0=item does not apply
   1=item applies somewhat
   2=item definitely applies

     Scores range from 0 to 40. A score of 30 or
      greater indicates psychopathy.
V. Do psychopaths experience emotions
like non-psychopathic individuals??

   No!!! According to several studies (Hare,
    1978; Siddle & Trasler, 1981; Kiehl, Hare,
    McDonald, & Brink, 1999; Patrick, 1994).

   Psychopaths produce overt facial & verbal
    responses that are consistent with socially
    appropriate emotions, but produce
    autonomic activity that is incongruent with
    their overt behavioral responses!!!
“The Mirror Has Two Faces”

     In other words, psychopaths can produce normal facial
    expressions & reactions to emotional events, but their
    bodily sensations don’t match their facial expressions.

      (E.g., When psychopaths anticipate receiving electric
    shocks, they produce an anxious facial expression
    consistent with fear or anxiety, but show reduced
    galvanic skin responses (sweating) in response to
    receiving shocks. Normal individuals sweat more, not
    less when anticipating being shocked.)
VI. Studying emotion in psychopaths
   A. Startle Blink studies—

   The startle blink (eye blink) response is a good non-
    verbal indicator of emotional state.

   Magnitude (strength) of the startle blink changes with
    emotional state.

   Startle increases for a negative emotional state &
    decreases for a positive emotional state (e.g., you may
    be more likely to be startled after watching a horror
    movie, than when watching a comedy).
Patrick (1994) Startle blink study on
   Subjects: 4 groups of prisoners selected with Hare
    checklist participated.

 Group 1: nonpsychopaths (low on antisocial
  behavior & emotional detachment)
 Group 2: Detached white collar offenders (high
  only on emotional detachment)
 Group 3: Antisocial offenders (high only on
  antisocial behavior)
 Group 4: Psychopaths (high on both factors).
Experimental Paradigm-Patrick’s study

     Baseline condition- prisoners were presented with a
      visual cue, and sometimes a blast of loud noise.

     Experimental condition - Ss experienced the visual
      cue & were told that when it disappeared the loud
      noise would occur.

     Results: Both psychopaths & detached offenders
      showed much smaller increases in their startle
      responses, indicating that less fear had been
B. Facial Affect Recognition studies in
     Kosson, Suchy, Mayer, & Libby (2002) examined
      the accuracy with which psychopaths & non-
      psychopaths classify facial expressions based on six
      specific emotions: fear, anger, disgust, happiness,
      sadness, and surprise.

     Psychopaths (n=34) & non-psychopaths (N=33) were
      presented with 30 adult male & female caucasian
      faces each representing a specific emotion (5 slides
      for each of the 6 emotions) & required to press a
      button on a key pad signaling which emotion the face
Results of study

  1. Psychopaths’ accuracy in classifying the
    “disgust” faces was significantly impaired
    compared to the non-psychopaths. This effect was
    not found for the other emotions in this study.

  2. These results indicate the psychopaths exhibit
    deficits in non-verbal emotional processing,
    specifically in recognizing a particular emotion
    from faces.
C. Skin conductance Studies
 Do psychopaths     show less empathy for
    distress of others?

   Yes!!! Blair & coworkers (1997), examined skin
    conductance of psychopaths & controls (men) to
    slides of varying images.

   Ss were shown threatening (guns, knives),
    neutral (lamp, chair), & distress-provoking
    (crying person) slides.
Results of Blair’s study
     1. Both psychopaths and non-psychopaths
      showed same skin conductance responses to the
      threatening & neutral slides.

     2. Interestingly, psychopaths were less responsive
      to the distress slides.

     This suggests psychopaths are impaired in or lack
      the ability to empathize with others.
VII. Do psychopaths show neurological
differences in processing of emotional
information compared to normal people?

     Yes!!! Kiehl, Smith, Hare, Mendrek,
      Forster, Brink, & Liddle (2001) measured
      functional MRI in psychopaths and normals
      while they read emotionally-ladden words.

     Overall, psychopaths showed less affect-
      related brain activity compared to baseline
      conditions than did non-psychopaths.
Kiehl et al., (2001) results contd.

     Criminal psychopaths showed less
      activation in the anterior cingulate cortex,
      posterior cingulate, left inferior frontal
      gyrus, amygdala, hippocampus, and frontal

     Neural processing of non-affect related
      information, was not different for the
      psychopaths and non-psychopaths.

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