Emotionality and Violent Behavior in Psychopaths

A Biosocial Analysis
  • Christopher J. Patrick
  • Kristin A. Zempolich
  • Gary K. Levenston
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 292)


According to the classic clinical description of psychopathy offered by Hervey Cleckley, violence and persistent criminality are not essential aspects of the disorder. He theorized that the primary features of psychopathy derive from a constitutional deficit in affectivity that actually diminished the likelihood of intense emotional displays, vengeful grudges, and angry aggression.


Antisocial Behavior Violent Behavior Startle Potentiation Emotional Detachment Weapon Offense 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. Buss, A. (1961). The psychology of aggression. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buss, A. H., & Plomin, R. (1975). A temperament theory of personality development. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Buss, A.H., & Plomin, R. (1984). Temperament: Early developing personality traits. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Cleckley, H. (1976). The mask qf sanity (5th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, M. (1989). Neural systems involved in fear-potentiated startle. In M. Davis, B.L. Jacobs, & R.I. Schoenfeld (Eds.), Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 563: Modulation of defined neural vertebrate circuits. (pp. 165–183). New York: Author.Google Scholar
  7. Dodge, K. A. (1991) The structure and function of reactive and proactive aggression. In D. J. Pepler & K. H. Rubin s.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 201–218). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence ErlbauGoogle Scholar
  8. Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 6, 169–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fowles, D.C. (1980). The three arousal model: Implications of Gray’s two-factor learning theory for heart rate, electrodemal activity, and psychopathy. Psychophysiology, 17, 87–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fowles, D.C. (1983). Motivational effects on heart rate and electrodermal activity: Implications for research on personality and psychopathology. Journal of Research in Personality, 17, 87–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gorenstein, E.E., & Newman, J.P. (1980). Disinhibitory psychopathology: A new perspective and a model for research. Psychological Review, 87, 301–315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gray, J.A. (1987). The psychology qffear and stress (2nd ed.). Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hare, R.D. (1970). Psychopathy: Theory and research. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Hare, R.D. (1978). Electrodermal and cardiovascular correlates of psychopathy. In R.D. Hare & D. Schalling s.), Psychopathic behavior: Approaches to research (pp. 107–143). Chichester: WileGoogle Scholar
  15. Hare, R.D. (1980). A research scale for the assessment of psychopathy in criminal populations. Personality and Individual Differences, 1, 111–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hare, R. D. (1981). Psychopathy and violence. In J. R. Hays, T. K. Roberts, & K. S. Solway (Eds.), Violence and the violent individual (pp. 53–74). New York: Spectrum Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Hare, R. D. (1986). Twenty years of experience with the Cleckley psychopath. In W. H. Reid, D. Dorr, J. I. Walker, & J. W. Bonner s.). Unmasking the psychopath (pp. 3–27). New York: W. W. Norton & CGoogle Scholar
  18. Hare, R.D. (1991). The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.Google Scholar
  19. Hare, R.D., Hart, S.D., & Harpur, T.J. (1991). Psychopathy and the proposed DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 391–398.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hare, R. D., & McPherson, L. M. (1984). Violent and aggressive behavior by criminal psychopaths. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 7, 35–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harpur, T.J., Hakstian, A.R., & Hare, R.D. (1988). Factor structure of the psychopathy checklist. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 741–747.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harpur, T.J., Hare, R.D., & Hakstian, A.R. (1989). Two-factor conceptualization of psychopathy: Construct validity and assessment implications. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1, 6–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harpur, T. J., & Hare, R. D. (1991, August). Psychopathy and violent behavior: Two factors are beller than one. Paper presented at the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  24. Hollingshead, A. B., & Redlich, F. C. (1958). Social class and mental illness. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Izard, C. E. (1993). Four systems for emotion activation: Cognitive and noncognitive processes. Psychological Review, 100, 68–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Konarski, J. (1967). Integrative activity of the brain: An interdisciplinary approach. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Krueger, R. F., Schmutte, P. S., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Campbell, K., & Silva, P. A. (1994). Personality traits are linked to crime among men and women: Evidence from a birth cohort. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 328–338.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lang, P. J. (1994). The motivational organization of emotion: Affect-reflex connections. In S. Van Goozen, N. E. Van de Poll, & J. A. Sergeant s)., The emotions: Essays on emotion theory (pp. 61–93). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence ErlbauGoogle Scholar
  29. Lang, P. J. (1995). The emotion probe: Studies of motivation and attention. American Psychologist, 50, 372–385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lang, P.J., Bradley, M.M., & Cuthbert, B.N. (1990). Emotion, attention, and the startle reflex. Psychological Review, 97, 377–398.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lang, P.J., Bradley, M.M, Cuthbert, B.N., & Patrick, C.J. (1993). Emotion and psychopathology: A startle probe analysis. In L. Chapman & D. Fowles (Eds.), Progress in experimental personality and psychopathology research. vol. 16 (pp. 163–199). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. LeDoux, J. E. (1995). Emotion: Clues from the brain. Annual Review of Psychology, 46, 209–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lykken, D.T. (1957). A study of anxiety in the sociopathic personality. Journal of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 55, 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lykken, D. T. (1995). The antisocial personalilies. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  35. Megargee, E. I. (1982). Psychological determinants and correlates of criminal violence. In M. E. Wolfgang & N. A. Weiner (Eds.), Criminal violence (pp. 81–170). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  36. Newman, J. P., & Kosson, D. S. (1986). Passive avoidance learning in psychopathic and non psychopathic offenders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 252–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Newman, J.P., Widom, C.S., & Nathan, S. (1985). Passive avoidance in syndromes of disinhibition: Psychopathy and extraversion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 1316–1327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Patrick, C. J. (1995, Fall). Emotion and temperament in psychopathy. Clinical Science, 5–8.Google Scholar
  39. Patrick, C. J. (1994). Emotion and psychopathy: Startling new insights. Psychophysiology, 31, 319–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Patrick, C. J., Berthot, B. D., & Moore, J. D. (1996). Diazepam blocks fear-potentiated startle in humans. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 105, 89–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Patrick, C.J., Bradley, M.M., & Lang, P.J. (1993). Emotion in the criminal psychopath: Startle reflex modulation. Journal of Abnornral Psychology, 102, 82–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Patrick, C. J., Cuthbert, B. N., & Lang, P. J. (1994) Emotion in the criminal psychopath: Fear image processing. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 523–534.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Plutchik, R. (1984). Emotions: A general psychoevolutionary theory. In K. Scherer & P. Ekman (Eds.), Approaches to emotion (pp. 197–219). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  44. Raine, A. (1993). The psychopathology of crime. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  45. Russell, J. A. (1978). Evidence of convergent validity on the dimensions of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 1152–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schmauk, F. J. (1970). Punishment, arousal, and avoidance learning in sociopaths. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 76, 325–335.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schneirla, T. C. (1959). An evolutionary and developmental theory of biphasic processes underlying approach and withdrawal. In Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: 1959 (pp. 1–42). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  48. Shipley, W. C. (1940). A self-administering scale for measuring intellectual impairment and deterioration. Journal of Personality, 9, 371–377.Google Scholar
  49. Siddle, D.A.T., & Trasler, G.B. (1981). The psychophysiology of psychopathic behavior. In M.J. Christie & P.G. Mellett (Eds.), Foundations of psychosomatics (pp. 283–303). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  50. Smith, S.S., & Newman, J.P. (1990). Alcohol and drug abuse-dependence disorders in psychopathic and non-psychopathic criminal offenders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, 430–439.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stritzke, W. G. K., Lang, A. R., & Patrick, C. J. (in press). Beyond stress and arousal: A reconceptualization of alcohol-emotion relations with special reference to psychophysiological methods. Psychological Bulletin.Google Scholar
  52. Tellegen, A. (1982). Brief manual for the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. Unpublished manuscript, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Patrick
    • 1
  • Kristin A. Zempolich
    • 1
  • Gary K. Levenston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeSA

Personalised recommendations