Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term

Posted by: Dianne E.

Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term - 02/05/11 02:48 AM

In order to keep all of us on the same page I would like to point out that for purposes of discussion the term used here at this forum is Psychopath, not "socio-path". I know the term psychopath gets people thinking it only applies to the Bundy's of the world. What we are discussing here are those Psychopaths who are walking amongst us - the socialized Psychopath.

The nomenclature problem is a pit of vipers. There seems to be no standard usage. Research psychologists and those involved in the correctional system seem to prefer the use of Psychopath. Psychiatrists seem more likely to refer to the ASPD definition in DSM-IV-TR

Here's what Hervey Cleckley has to say in the Preface to the 5th Edition of "The Mask of Sanity"

"Since the first edition of this book, revisions of the nomenclature have been made by the American Psychiatric Association. The classification of psychopathic personality was changed to that of sociopathic personality in 1958. In 1968 it was changed again to antisocial personality. Like most psychiatrists I continue to think of the people who are the subject of this book as psychopaths and will most often refer to them by this familiar term.

Free download of Mask of Sanity Book

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term - 04/13/11 01:46 PM

Dr. Michael Conner
The Psychopathic Personality

The psychopath is one of the most fascinating and distressing problems of human experience. For the most part, a psychopath never remains attached to anyone or anything. They live a "predatory" lifestyle. They feel little or no regret, and little or no remorse - except when they are caught. They need relationships, but see people as obstacles to overcome and be eliminated. If not, they see people in terms of how they can be used. They use people for stimulation, to build their self-esteem and they invariably value people in terms of their material value (money, property, etc..).

A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack "emotional intelligence". They can be expert in manipulating others by playing to their emotions. There is a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories (i.e., how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may have felt and why). The lack of emotional intelligence is the first good sign you may be dealing with a psychopath. A history of criminal behavior in which they do not seem to learn from their experience, but merely think about ways to not get caught is the second best sign.

The following is a list of items based on the research of Robert Hare, Ph.D. which is derived from the "The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, 1991. These are the most highly researched and recognized characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior to date, hopefully more research is being done to enhance our information and understanding.


glibness/superficial charm
grandiose sense of self worth
need for stimulation/prone to boredom
pathological lying
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow emotional response
callous/lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
promiscuous sexual behavior
early behavioral problems
lack of realistic long term goals
failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
many short term relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term - 06/01/11 08:51 PM

The DSM IV for Antisocial Personality Disorder:

A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.

(2) Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.

(3) Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

(4) Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.

(5) Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.

(6) Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behaviour or honour financial obligations.

(7) Lack or remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalising having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

B. The individual is at least age 18 years.

C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term - 06/20/11 07:20 PM

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Twisted Rationalizations "I'm the most cold-blooded [censored] you'll ever meet," said Ted Bundy. "I just liked to kill, I wanted to kill." The hallmark of the psychopath is the inability to recognize others as worthy of compassion. Victims are dehumanized, flattened into worthless objects in the murderer's mind. John Gacy, never showing an ounce of remorse, called his victims "worthless little queers and punks," while the "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe brashly declared that he was "cleaning up the streets" of the human trash.

In the 19th century, psychopathology was considered to be "moral insanity". Today it is commonly known as "antisocial personality disorder" or "sociopathology." Current experts believe that Psychopaths are an unfortunate fusion of interpersonal, biological and sociocultural disasters.

Psychopaths/Psychopaths are diagnosed by their purposeless and irrational antisocial behavior, lack of conscience, and emotional vacuity. They are thrill seekers, literally fearless. Punishment rarely works, because they are impulsive by nature and fearless of the consequences. Incapable of having meaningful relationships, they view others as fodder for manipulation and exploitation. According to one psychological surveying tool (DSM IIIR) between 3 - 5% of men are Psychopaths; less than 1% of female population are Psychopaths.

Note these statistics have not been updated for years. If anyone finds some current figures the research would be interesting to post.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term - 09/25/11 04:00 PM

Are all serial killers Psychopaths?

Dr. Stephen Porter:
Not necessarily. According to research, many serial killers - about one-third to be specific - are not psychopathic. Many of them are psychotic, so that they have delusions that lead to their violent behaviour (for example, a belief that God is telling him to murder members of a certain group). Having said that, the majority of serial killers are psychopathic and freely choose to do such heinous crimes, often to fulfill devious fantasies and sometimes just for the thrill. It's not the behaviour that defines someone as psychopathic, rather it is the core "personality" which includes the lack of empathy and compassion that you mention. And many psychopaths are not even violent. For example, some white collar criminals such as Bernard Madoff clearly show features that are consistent with psychopathy. However, they target their victims financially, not violently.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Psychopath - Checklist & the reason for the term - 04/04/13 02:55 PM

Article which explains the terminology and history of psychopathy.

Psychology Today
What Is a Psychopath?

The Neuroscience of Psychopathy Reports Some Intriguing Findings
Published on January 30, 2013 by William Hirstein, Ph.D. in Mindmelding

What is a Psychopath article