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Assessment. 2011 Jun;18(2):253-60. doi: 10.1177/1073191111402460. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

On individual differences in person perception: raters' personality traits relate to their psychopathy checklist-revised scoring tendencies.

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  • 1Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA.


This study investigated raters' personality traits in relation to scores they assigned to offenders using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). A total of 22 participants, including graduate students and faculty members in clinical psychology programs, completed a PCL-R training session, independently scored four criminal offenders using the PCL-R, and completed a comprehensive measure of their own personality traits. A priori hypotheses specified that raters' personality traits, and their similarity to psychopathy characteristics, would relate to raters' PCL-R scoring tendencies. As hypothesized, some raters assigned consistently higher scores on the PCL-R than others, especially on PCL-R Facets 1 and 2. Also as hypothesized, raters' scoring tendencies related to their own personality traits (e.g., higher rater Agreeableness was associated with lower PCL-R Interpersonal facet scoring). Overall, findings underscore the need for future research to examine the role of evaluator characteristics on evaluation results and the need for clinical training to address evaluators' personality influences on their ostensibly objective evaluations.

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