2004 Scottish Branch Annual Conference Psychology in today's society
Conference Venue: Fisher's Hotel, Pitlochry
From: 26 Nov 2004
To: 28 Nov 2004
Psychopathic Personality Disorder and Offending: Empirical and Conceptual Problems David Cooke <David Cooke>
Glasgow Caledonian University
The association between the personality disorder we now term psychopathy and criminal behaviour has long been recognised. In the book of Psalms the traits of pride, vanity, and manipulativeness were linked with extreme violence: the writers of the Icelandic sagas distinguished between those who were merely antisocial and the psychopathic. Empirical research over the last two decades has suggested that psychopathy is linked to risk of reoffending in general, and violent reoffending in particular. The validity of this view will be examined: it will be argued that it is necessary to move towards a greater understanding of the mechanisms by which these traits may be criminogenic, i.e., how these traits drive individuals to offend. The limitations of current measures of the disorder will be described. Proposals for the development of improved measures will be discussed based on the analysis of large data sets. It will be argued that there is a need for a comprehensive - clinically informed - measure of psychopathy. Preliminary results from a programme attempting to develop such a measure will be described.
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