Response perseveration in psychopathic women

Jennifer E. Vitale, Joseph P. Newman
2001 Journal of Abnormal Psychology  
Recent attempts to validate the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; R. D. Hare, 1991) as a measure of psychopathy in female offenders have been limited by a failure to examine laboratory correlates of the syndrome. We assessed 112 incarcerated women by using the PCL-R and examined their performance on a card perseveration task that has been used to demonstrate response perseveration in psychopathic men. Contrary to prediction, psychopathic women did not perseverate responding when the PCL-R
more » ... ng when the PCL-R was used either dimensionally or categorically. The authors discuss the implications of the results for the PCL-R and for female psychopathy more generally. Psychopathy is a syndrome characterized by affective, interpersonal, and behavioral deficits (Cleckley, 1976; Hare, 1991) . Psychopathic individuals are defined according to their inability to form emotional bonds with others, their callous, self-serving attitudes, and their impulsive, often antisocial behaviors. The introduction of Hare's (1991) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), currently considered the state-of-the-art measure of the syndrome (Fulero, 1995) in Caucasian men, has facilitated systematic investigation of the etiology, course, and symptomotology of the syndrome (see Hare, 1996) . Recently, researchers have begun to examine these correlates of PCL-R psychopathy in diverse samples, including adolescents (e.g., Studies of PCL-R psychopathy in female samples have been promising. As for psychopathic men, women classified as psychopathic using the PCL-R showed deficits in perspective taking, lacked empathy, and engaged in high levels of criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use (e.g., Rutherford et al.
doi:10.1037/0021-843x.110.4.644 fatcat:rh6li5ml6jcgdipp2mo7s3tdpm