Answering this question is a good place to start thinking about term papers because if you know why papers are such a common assignment, then perhaps you can approach the task with added enthusiasm and dedication. Two goals usually motivate this assignment. One goal relates to the specific subject of the course; the other goal is based on your professional development. The first course-specific goal is to increase your expertise in some particular substantive area. The amount that you learn from this or almost any other course will be expanded significantly by doing research and by writing a paper. The effort will allow you to delve into the intricacies of a specific topic far beyond what is possible in the no doubt broad lectures that your instructor must deliver in class. Your research will go beyond the necessarily general commentary found in this text.
The long history of heterogeneity in both terminology and theory about psychopathy continues. The modern era of thinking about psychopathy begins with Cleckley's work, originally done in 1941. Cleckley's emphasis of the psychopath as a constellation of various personality traits was essentially overturned by the American psychiatric establishment in revisions to the DSM, culminating in 1980 in a behaviorally based description and the use of the term antisocial personality disorder. Robert Hare, through his writing and widely popular testing initiatives, returned to a personality/trait approach derived from Cleckley's original factors. Hare's approach and tests have been particularly influential both in practical forensic settings and in academic research. Although a number of other tests of psychopathy have been developed and a number of authors have expressed reservations about Hare, Hare's approach has dominated. Hare has also been important in popularizing psychopathy in the lay public, especially via his 1993 book and by the 2006 a work he co-authored, examining the psychopath in a business context. This business/leadership theme was later followed up by Lawrence (2010). Hare's works have tended to be somewhat sensationalized and have co-mingled academic and lay (newspaper type) accounts. Despite much research on neurophysiological correlates of psychopathy, no clear consensus has developed yet concerning a neuropsychological theory of psychopathy. Many points of controversy are left unanswered and many key issues remain to be addressed.
Patrick, C. J., Hicks, B. M., Nichol, P. E., & Krueger, R. F. (2007). A bifactor approach to modeling the structure of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. (2), 118-141. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2007.21.2.118 To date, models of the structure of psychopathy as assessed by the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) have taken a higher-order approach in which the factors of the PCL-R are modeled as correlated elements of a higher-order psychopathy construct. Here, we propose an alternative structural model of the PCL-R, the bifactor model, which accounts for the covariance among PCL-R items in terms of a general factor reflecting the overlap across all items, and independent subfactors reflecting the unique coherency among particular groups of items. We present examples of how this alternative structural model can account for diverging associations between different subsets of PCL-R items and external criteria in the domains of personality and psychopathology, and we discuss implications of the bifactor model for future research on the conceptualization and assessment of psychopathy.
Patrick, C. J., Hicks, B. M., Krueger, R. F., & Lang, A. R. (2005). Relations between psychopathy facets and externalizing in a criminal offender sample. (4), 339-356. doi:10.1521/pedi.2005.19.4.339 The construct of psychopathy is viewed as comprising distinctive but correlated affective-interpersonal and social deviance facets. Here, we examined these facets of Hare's Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) in terms of their associations with the externalizing dimension of adult psychopathology, defined as the common factor underlying symptoms of conduct disorder, adult antisocial behavior, alcohol use/abuse, and drug abuse, along with disinhibitory personality traits. Correlational analyses revealed a strong relationship between this externalizing dimension and the social deviance facet of psychopathy (r = .84), and a lesser relationship with the emotional-interpersonal component (r = .44). Structural models controlling for the moderate overlap between the PCL-R factors revealed that externalizing was substantially related to the unique variance in the social deviance features of psychopathy, but unrelated to the unique variance of the emotional and interpersonal features whether modeled together or as separate factors. These results indicate that the social deviance factor of the PCL-R reflects the externalizing dimension of psychopathology, whereas the emotional-interpersonal component taps something distinct aside from externalizing. In addition, based on our finding of an association between PCL-R social deviance and externalizing, we were able to predict new relations between this facet of psychopathy and criterion variables, including nicotine use and gambling, that have previously been linked to externalizing. Implications for future research on the causes and correlates of psychopathy are discussed. . . . The current study revealed a close association between the social deviance facet of psychopathy and the externalizing factor that underlies a broad spectrum of impulse control disorders.
Patrick, C. J. (2007). Antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy. In W. T. O'Donohue, K. A. Fowler, & S.O. Lilienfeld, (Eds.). (pp. 109-166.) Thousand Oaks CA: Sage. Provides a comprehensive review of the concept in DSM. DSM-I was modeled loosely after the sixth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD: World Health Organization, 1948), which for the first time included a section devoted to the classification of mental disorders. The initial edition of the DSM contains a category of mental disorders termed "sociopathic personality disturbance;" following earlier conceptualizations of psychopathy, this designation included a broad range of syndromes encompassing sexual deviation of various kinds, addictions, and delinquency. Included among the disorders in this category was a syndrome referred to as "sociopathic personality disturbance: antisocial reaction," intended to capture the aggressive, criminally deviant individual who repeatedly violates the norms and laws of society. (The use of the term "reactions" throughout DSM one is attributable to the lingering influence of Adolph Meyer, who viewed mental disorders as reactions of the personality to biological, social, and psychological factors.) The second edition of the DSM was developed to line even more closely with the version of the ICD in place at the time, ICD — 8. In DSM-II, the term "reaction" was eliminated as a descriptor for disorders. Sexual deviation, addictions, and delinquent personality types were grouped under a category entitled "personality disorders and certain other non-psychotic mental disorders." Within this category, the term antisocial personality was used for a syndrome corresponding to psychopathy. The diagnostic features of the syndrome closely resembled those proposed by Cleckley and included weak socialization, incapacity for loyalty, selfishness, callousness, irresponsibility, and absence of guilt. A serious limitation of DSM-II was that the basis for diagnostic classification consisted of prototypical descriptions of each disorder rather than specific, behavior-oriented diagnostic criteria. As a result, the reliability of clinical and research diagnostic classifications used in DSM-II was generally poor. . . . . the criteria for antisocial personality disorder in the DSM-III was strongly influenced by the works of Robins (1966), who conducted groundbreaking research on the development of "sociopathy" by following up a large sample of individuals (N = 524) seen as children in a treatment clinic for juvenile delinquents. Following Cleckley, Robins's initial criteria for sociopathy included items relating to lack of guilt, remorse, and shame, but (due in part to problems in assessing them reliably) these criteria failed to differentiate significantly between sociopaths and non-sociopaths in her study, and thus were discarded as indicators in the criterion sets developed subsequently by Feighner et al. and Spitzer et al. Consequently, the criteria for APD adopted within DSM-III focused exclusively on behavioral indicants of deviance in childhood and adulthood, including such things as truancy, delinquency, stealing, vandalism, irresponsibility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, recklessness, and lying. As a function of this change, the DSM-III diagnosis of antisocial personality proved to be highly reliable. Nevertheless, influential investigators in the area (e.g., Francis, 1980; Hare, 1983; Millon, 1981) were quick to challenge the diagnostic validity of the DSM-III criteria for APD on the grounds that they excluded many of the features Cleckley determined central to psychopathy, including superficial charm, absence of anxiety, lack of remorse or empathy, and general poverty of affect. Some effort was made to respond to these criticisms in the revised third edition of the DSM by the addition of lack of remorse (i.e. "feels justified in having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another," p. 346) as an adult criterion for APD.
Wong, S. C. P., Gordon, A. & Gu, D. (2007). Assessment and treatment of violence-prone forensic clients: an integrated approach. (suppl. 49), s66- s74. doi: 10.1192/bjp.190.5.s66 Background A risk-reduction treatment programme complemented by a focused assessment, both guided by the risk-need-responsivity principles, is suggested as the preferred treatment for violence-prone individuals with personality disorder. Aims Violence Reduction Programme (VRP) and Violence Risk Scale (VRS) were used to illustrate the design and implementation of such an approach. Participants from a similarly designed Aggressive Behaviour Control Programme were used to illustrate the principles discussed and to test programme efficacy. Method The VRS was used to assess risk/need and treatment readiness, and DSM III/IV psychiatric diagnoses of federal offenders. Results Participants had a high probability of violent recidivism and many violence-linked criminogenic needs, similar to offenders with high PCL-R scores. Most had antisocial personality disorder and substance use disorders; in terms of treatment-readiness, most were in the contemplation stage of change. Outcome evaluation results support the objectives of the VRP. Conclusions Integrating risk-need- responsivity principles in assessment and treatment can provide useful guidelines for intervention with violence-prone forensic clients with personality disorder. . . . The VRP and VRS are complementary: each providing the other with information required to fulfill the tasks of assessment, treatment and risk reduction.
Widom, C. S. (1989a). Does violence beget violence? A critical examination of the literature. (1), 3-28. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.106.1.3 Critically examines the "violence breeds violence" hypothesis broadly defined. Organized into seven sections, the literature review includes (a) the abuse breeds abuse hypothesis; (b) reports of small numbers of violent/homicidal offenders; (c) studies examining the relationship of abuse and neglect to delinquency; (d) to violent behavior, and (e) to aggressive behavior in infants and young children; (f) abuse, withdrawal, and self-destructive behavior; and (g) studies of the impact of witnessing or observing violent behavior. A detailed discussion of methodological considerations and shortcomings precedes the review. The author concludes that existing knowledge of the long-term consequences of abusive home environments is limited and suggests that conclusions about the strength of the cycle of violence be tempered by the dearth of convincing empirical evidence. Recommendations are made for further research.
Whitlock, F. A. (1982). A note on moral insanity and psychopathic disorders. (4), 57-59. doi:10.1192/pb.6.4.57 It is commonly believed that Prichard's 'moral insanity' (1835) was the forerunner of our present-day concept of psychopathic (sociopathic) personality. Prichard confirmed Pinel's observation and coined the term "moral insanity" which led to "a marked perversion of the natural impulses". The word 'moral' denoted 'affective' and was not being used in the usual ethical sense. A careful examination of the cases mentioned by Pinel (1801) and by Prichard should make it abundantly clear that except for the first of the three patients cited by Pinel, there was not the remotest resemblance between their examples and what today would be classed as psychopathic personality. Nor do the authors' general delineations of the disorder conjure up the picture of present-day psychopathy.
Walsh, Z., & Kosson, D. S. (2008). Psychopathy and violence: The importance of factor level interactions. (2), 114-120. doi: 10.1037/1040-35220.127.116.11 The power of scales based on the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL; R. D. Hare, 1980) for prediction of violent behavior is well established. Although evidence suggests that this relationship is chiefly due to the impulsive and antisocial lifestyle component (Factor 2), the predictive power of psychopathy for violence may also reflect the multiplicative effects of this component with interpersonal and unemotional traits (Factor 1). The determination of the extent to which psychopathy subcomponents interact to predict violence has theoretical and practical implications for PCL-assessed psychopathy. However, the relationship between violence and the interactive effects of psychopathy subcomponents remains largely undetermined. The authors used prospective and cross-sectional designs to examine the independent and interactive effects of the factors of PCL-assessed psychopathy in 2 samples: (a) 199 county jail inmates and (b) 863 civil psychiatric patients. The Factor 1 × Factor 2 interaction predicted violence in both samples, such that the predictive power of Factor 2 was attenuated at lower levels of Factor 1. . . . Our findings were consistent with those of prior studies, in that F2 appeared to be a stronger predictor of violence than did F1 (Skeem & Mulvey, 2001;Walters, 2003). However, F1 played an important role; in both studies, F1 interacted with F2, such that the predictive relationship between F2 and violence was accentuated at higher levels of F1 and attenuated at lower levels of F1.
Wallace, J. F., & Newman, J. P. (2004). A theory-based treatment model for psychopathy. (2), 178-189. doi:10.1016/S1077-7229(04)80029-4 The most salient characteristic of the psychopath is the propensity to engage in maladaptive and inappropriate behavior of all sorts, including antisocial and criminal actions. Consequently, there is considerable interest—particularly in the field of criminology—in determining what sorts of treatment interventions are likely to be effective in modifying the problematic behavioral tendencies of this difficult population. We suggest that interventions are most likely to meet with success if they are based on an accurate understanding of the cognitive deficits that underlie psychopaths' tendency to engage in maladaptive and illegal acts. Herein, we describe a theoretical framework for conceptualizing psychopaths' information processing deficits (in which the concepts of automatic information processing and implicit cognition play central roles), then discuss implications of this formulation for the design and implementation of treatment interventions.