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Pers Individ Dif. 2009 Dec 1;47(8):812-816.

Mapping Gray's BIS and BAS Constructs onto Factor 1 and Factor 2 of Hare's Psychopathy Checklist - Revised.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison.


Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST; Gray, 1987; Gray & McNaughton, 2000) has proven to be a valuable tool for understanding psychopathy (e.g., Fowles, 1980, 1988; Newman & Malterer, 2009; Poythress, Edens, Landfield, Lilienfeld, Skeem, & Douglas, 2008). Recent research has linked two RST constructs, the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and the Behavioral Activation System (BAS), to individuals with primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy (Lykken, 1995; Newman, MacCoon, Vaughn, & Sadeh, 2005): Primary psychopaths manifest low BIS reactivity and secondary psychopaths manifest high BAS reactivity. In the present study, we examine the relationships between the BIS/BAS constructs and Factors 1 and 2 of the Psychopathy Checklist - Revised (PCL-R) in a sample of 472 incarcerated male offenders. Paralleling their relationships with primary and secondary psychopathy, the BIS/BAS constructs were differentially related to the two PCL-R factors. Specifically, the influence of the BIS was found to be more prominent than the influence of the BAS for Factor 1, and the influence of the BAS was more prominent than that of the BIS for Factor 2.

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