Background

PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist Revised) Test

Uploaded 10/20/2010, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The PCLR, the Psychopathy Checklist Revised Test, is a prime example of everything that is wrong with psychological tests and structured interviews, and why they have very dubious, predictive and retrodictive power.

The second edition of the PCLR test, originally designed by the controversial maverick, Canadian criminologist Robert Hare in 1980 and again in 1991, this second edition contains 20 items designed to rate symptoms which are common among psychopaths in forensic populations, for instance, prison inmates or child molesters. The test is designed to cover the major psychopathic traits and behaviors, callous, selfish, remorseless use of others, known as factor one, chronically unstable and antisocial lifestyle, factor two, interpersonal and affective deficits, impulsive lifestyle and antisocial behavior and so on. The 20 traits assessed by the PCLR score are glib and superficial charm, grandiose, exaggeratedly high estimation of oneself, need for stimulation, pathological lying, declining and manipulativeness, lack of remorse or guilt, shallow affect, superficial emotional responsiveness, callousness and lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioral controls, sexual promiscuity, early behavior problems, lack of realistic long-term goals, impulsivity, irresponsibility, failure to accept responsibility for own actions, many short-term marital relationships, juvenile delinquency, revocation of conditional release and finally criminal versatility.

Psychopaths score between 30 and 40. Normal people score between 0 and 5.

Last time I took the test I scored 13, 1, 3. Not exactly a psychopath but not exactly normal either.

But here himself was known to label as psychopaths, people with a score as low as mine, 13.

The PCLR is therefore an art rather than a science and it leaves much to the personal impressions of those who administer it.

As I said, even here himself contradicted his own teachings regarding the test.

The PCLR is based on a structured interview and collateral data gathered from family, friends and colleagues and from documents. The questions comprising the structured interview are so transparent and self-evident that it is easy to lie one's way through the test and completely skew its results.

Questions are naive.

Moreover, scoring by the diagnostician is highly subjective, which is why the DSM and the ICT stick to observable behaviors in their criteria for antisocial or dissocial personality disorders.

Here's woe is widely rejected by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Committee. His test and his distinctions between psychopaths and patients with antisocial personality disorders have yet to make the mainstream of current thinking.

The hope of the designers of the PCLR test is that information gathered outside the scope of a structured interview will serve to rectify any potential abuse, diagnostic bias and manipulation by both the testee and the tester.

The PCLR, in other words, relies on the truthfulness of responses provided by notorious liars, psychopaths and all the biased memories of multiple witnesses, all of them close to the psychopaths and with an axe to grind.

These are not truly good foundation for any scientific endeavor, let alone for a test who pretends and claims and aspires to diagnose an allegedly and ostensibly objective phenomenon, antisocial personality disorder.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

MMPI-2 Psychological Test: Controversial, but Hard to Fake

The MMPI-2 test booklet has 567 items, but a rough assessment can be made based on the first 370 queries. The items are arranged in scales, and the responses are compared to answers provided by control subjects. The nature of the deviation determines the patient's traits and tendencies, but not their diagnosis. The test results place the subject in a group of patients who reacted similarly, and the validity scales indicate whether the patient responded truthfully and accurately or was trying to manipulate the test. The clinical scales measure various mental health issues, and the interpretation of the MMPI-2 is now fully computerized.


Is S/he a Narcissist? Use These TESTS! (Compilation)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses various personality assessment tests in this section. He talks about the three R's test, which helps determine whether someone is a full-fledged narcissist or merely narcissistic. He also discusses the characteristics that attract narcissists to potential partners and briefly touches on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment test. He then discusses the weaknesses and criticisms of the MBTI and Jungian theory. Finally, he talks about the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), the Psychopathy Checklist Revised Test (PCLR), and the Rorschach ink blots test, and notes that personality assessment is more of an art form than a science.


Psychological Tests and Structured Interviews: Introduction

Personality assessment is an art form that uses psychological tests and structured interviews to render it as objective and standardized as possible. Most tests restrict the repertory of permitted answers, and the scoring and keying of results are automated. Interpretation is arguably more important than data gathering, and most practitioners administer a battery of tests and structured interviews. Projective tests are far less structured and thus a lot more ambiguous, and the scoring is done exclusively by humans and involves judgment and bias.


When You Are Their Sex Prop: Exhibitionism, Autoeroticism, Masochism

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses auto-eroticism, exhibitionism, and submissiveness in sex, particularly in relation to narcissism and psychopathy. Auto-eroticism is when someone regards themselves as their own sex object, and it is often found in narcissists and psychopaths. Exhibitionism is becoming sexually aroused by being observed, which is also a form of narcissism. Self-trashing is a behavior found in narcissists and psychopaths, where they engage in degrading sexual acts as a form of self-punishment. There is a difference between self-trashing and being submissive in BDSM, as self-trashing individuals maintain control and defiance, while submissives relinquish control to their dominant partner.


Antisocial Psychopath and Sociopath: Antisocial Personality Disorder

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is characterized by callousness, ruthlessness, extreme lack of empathy, deficient impulse control, deceitfulness, and sadism. It is frequently ameliorated with age and tends to disappear altogether by the fourth or fifth decade of life. Psychopathy may be hereditary and has a strong genetic, biochemical, and neurological component. Psychopaths are abusively exploitative and incapable of true love and intimacy, and they are irresponsible, unreliable, vindictive, and hold grudges forever.


Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Fortune Cookie or Reliable Test?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used and contested personality assessment test with various versions and millions of users worldwide. It is based on Jungian theory and classifies individuals into one of 16 personality types. While some studies have found the MBTI to be valid and useful, others criticize its dichotomous nature, lack of reliability, and deviation from Jung's original theory. Despite these criticisms, the MBTI remains popular and can provide insight, raise self-awareness, and help individuals understand their past experiences and relationships.


High-functioning Autism: Psychopathy? Narcissism?

High-functioning autism (HFA) is often misdiagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder or psychopathy due to similarities in behavior, such as a lack of empathy, brain abnormalities, and criminal behavior. However, there are key differences between HFA and these personality disorders, such as language skills and social functioning. While HFA is a brain disorder with no intellectual disability, narcissism and psychopathy are personality disorders that can be linked to early childhood experiences and trauma. It is important not to make snap judgments when observing someone's behavior, as the distinctions between these disorders are complex and nuanced.


Connie Portrait Of A Cyberpath Con Artist

The article discusses the concept of a cyberpath, a psychopath who uses the internet to find, stalk, and exploit others. It explores whether psychopaths have a single self-state or multiple self-states, and whether they have a conscience or are delusional. The article also examines the possibility that psychopathy is a brain disorder, as psychopaths have been found to have pronounced brain abnormalities. In summary, the article suggests that psychopaths may have cluster B psychodynamic problems superimposed on a defective brain, which differentiates them from narcissists.


Masochism: Borderlines, Psychopaths Self-trash

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses sexual masochism among people with borderline personality disorder and psychopathy. He explains that sexual masochism is a form of self-trashing and describes four types of sexual contexts that lead to trashing and sexual arousal. Borderlines and psychopaths engage in cheating, substance abuse, and choosing inappropriate mates as ways of self-trashing that cause sexual arousal. Self-trashing is compulsive and masochistic, while promiscuity is impulsive and empowering.


Myth of Fearless Psychopath

Psychopaths are often misunderstood due to the fact that they have different brain and physiological responses to fear and risk. They experience anxiety and fear, but their reactions are subdued or absent altogether. Psychopaths misinterpret internal and external cues and often mislabel and misattribute their emotions. They are impulsive, reckless, and often paranoid, but they perceive their behavior as cautious and informed. Psychopaths are often charming and witty, but they are dead inside and out, treating their bodies and lives as if they were decomposing trash.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy