• Examining the association between childhood cognitive ability and psychopathic traits at age 48

      Kavish, Nick; Bergstrøm, Henriette; Narvey, Chelsey; Piquero, Alex R.; Farrington, David P.; Boutwell, Brian B.; Sam Houston University; University of Derby; The University of Texas at Dallas; The University of Texas at Dallas; et al. (American Psychological Association, 2020-03-01)
      Despite early theorists suggesting that psychopathic traits are associated with higher intelligence, meta-analytic work has found that global psychopathy scores are actually negatively related to intelligence, albeit weakly. Furthermore, it was reported in the same meta-analytic work that the various dimensions of psychopathy were differentially related to intelligence. Importantly, virtually all of the research to date has relied on cross-sectional associations. The current study examined whether intelligence scores (verbal comprehension, non-verbal IQ, and a global intelligence composite) at age 8 were associated with psychopathy scores at age 48 in a sample of white, urban males from London (analytical n = 292). Results suggested a significant, but weak, inverse association between intelligence and the affective, lifestyle, and antisocial facets of psychopathy and a nonsignificant association with the interpersonal facet, as assessed by the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence suggesting that psychopathy, as conceptualized in most modern models, is either very weakly inversely related to, or simply not a correlate of intelligence.
    • The longitudinal association between resting heart rate and psychopathic traits from a normative personality perspective

      Kavish, Nicholas; Bergstrøm, Henriette; Piquero, Alex R.; Farrington, David P.; Boutwell, Brian B.; Sam Houston University; University of Derby; The University of Texas at Dallas; University of Cambridge; University of Mississippi (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-10-23)
      A large body of research has accumulated investigating the possibility of an association between resting heart rate and psychopathic traits, with meta-analysis suggesting a modest, negative association. Some recent research suggests that prior findings of an association between heart rate and psychopathy may be influenced by inclusion of antisocial behavior in the assessment of psychopathic traits. The current study explores this possibility in a longitudinal sample of British males by comparing resting heart rate at age 18 to psychopathy assessed from a Five Factor Model perspective and from the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV) at age 48. Our psychopathic personality scale, created using the Big Five Inventory (BFI), was significantly correlated with the PCL:SV and was most related to the antisocial factor. In correlation analyses, resting heart rate at age 18 was not significantly related to BFI psychopathy, but was positively related to BFI Openness and Conscientiousness, and these associations held up after controlling for childhood SES, BMI at 18, and whether the participant smoked during the age 18 assessment. Additional analyses controlling for smoking status were conducted to address the biasing effect of smoking on heart rate during the age 18 assessment and a significant, albeit weak, negative association between resting heart rate and BFI psychopathy emerged. Future research should replicate these results using other normative personality approaches to assess psychopathic traits.
    • The sexual life of men with psychopathic traits

      Zara, Georgia; Bergstrøm, Henriette; Farrington, David P.; University of Turin; University of Cambridge; University of Derby (Emerald, 2020-08-03)
      This paper explores the sexuality of individuals with psychopathic traits. Sexuality is not only a physiological need, it is a way by which people connect to others. According to a Darwinian perspective, psychopathic traits are seen as adaptive responses to environmental conditions, and as a nonpathological and reproductively viable life history strategy, although superficial emotionality and a detached interpersonal style characterise individuals who are high on psychopathic traits. Data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development are analyzed. This is a prospective longitudinal study of 411 London males, with face-to-face interviews from age 8 to age 48. Men who are high on psychopathic traits were likely to drift from one relationship to another, without a particular attachment to any of them, to be sexually promiscuous, and they never used contraception, which increased their likelihood of having several children from different partners. Findings provide: ▪ An insight into the non-criminal sexual behaviour of males with high psychopathic traits. ▪ Evidence on a pattern of unsafe/risky sexual relations by males with high psychopathic traits. ▪ Information on targeting risk factors to prevent the intergenerational transmission of psychopathy. These findings are significant in highlighting the impact of psychopathic traits upon interpersonal and family dynamics in community samples, since detecting the impact of problematic intimate relationships is difficult in the absence of evident criminality. Rather than completely neglecting their children, men with psychopathic traits spent time with their sons but not with their daughters.