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Int J Law Psychiatry. 2011 Sep-Oct;34(5):336-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Psychopathy, intelligence and conviction history.

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Zentrum für Integrative Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Niemannsweg 147, 24105 Kiel, Germany.


The current study examined the relationship between psychopathy, intelligence and two variables describing the conviction history (length of conviction and number of prior convictions). It was hypothesized that psychopathy factors (interpersonal and antisocial factors assuming a 2-factor model or interpersonal, affective, lifestyle and antisocial factors assuming a 4-factor model) would be related in different ways to IQ scores, length of conviction and number of prior convictions. Psychopathy and IQ were assessed using the PCL:SV and the CFT 20-R respectively. Results indicated no association between interpersonal psychopathy features (Factor 1, two-factor model), IQ and the number of prior convictions but a positive association between Factor 1 and the length of conviction. Antisocial features (Factor 2, two-factor model) were negatively related to IQ and the length of conviction and positively related to the number of prior convictions. Results were further differentiated for the four-factor model of psychopathy. The relationship between IQ and psychopathy features was further assessed by statistically isolating the effects of the two factors of psychopathy. It was found that individuals scoring high on interpersonal features of psychopathy are more intelligent than those scoring high on antisocial features, but less intelligent than those scoring low on both psychopathy features. The results underpin the importance of allocating psychopathic individuals to subgroups on the basis of personality characteristics and criminological features. These subgroups may identify different types of offenders and may be highly valuable for defining treatment needs and risk of future violence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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