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What are the main characteristics of a psychopath?

-Don't respond to emotional cues in same way to normal people
-Emotional deficit
-Appear selfish
-Manipulate - false emotions
-Little or no conscience


What is one way to measure psychopathy?

-Checklist devised by Robert Hare
-Called Psychopathy Checklist - Revised (PCL-R)
-Uses 20 criteria, each scored from 0-2 (max score of 40).


What are the 2 categories of Robert Hare's checklist?

-Factor 1 - asses interpersonal and affective traits (e.g. superficial charm)
-Factor 2 - assess anti-social traits (e.g. impulsivity and irresponsibility)


What was the clinical cut-off score for psychopaths on the PCL-R?

A score of 30 or above.


What was the general aim of Hancock's study?

To examine language characteristics of psychopaths (when describing their violent crimes) on 3 major characteristics.


What are subordinating conjunctions?

Words associated with cause and effect statements (e.g. 'because' , 'since' , 'as' , 'so that').


What are disfluencies?

Breaks/irregularities/fillers within speech (e.g. 'um' , 'uh').


What are concrete nouns?

Things you can experience through your 5 senses (e.g. pencil).


What are some examples of articles?

'a' , 'an' , 'the'


What is an example of distancing?

Use of past tense to make yourself seem further away from something.


What is Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

-Theory about human motivation
-Psychopaths tend to focus on 'basic/material needs' whereas higher needs like relationships are usually of little interest.


What are the 3 specific aims/hypotheses of this study?

To analyse psychopaths' language to see if:
-They used subordinating conjunctions more than non-psychopathic murderers
-They focus on the lower (basic) needs like food, sex and shelter more than non-psychopaths.
-They use fewer emotional words, more disfluencies, more articles, more concrete nouns, and evidence of psychological distancing.


Outline the sample of this study.

-52 men
-Held in prison in Canada for murder
-All admitted their crime


How many of the sample were psychopaths/non-psychopaths?

-Psychopaths - 14
-Non-psychopaths - 38


What did the men have to do in the procedure?

-Had to complete the PCL-R
-Score to be classed as a psychopath lowered to 25 for this study
-To collect data men were interviewed - explained purpose of study (to examine the manner in which homicide offenders recall their homicide offence)
-Asked to describe their homicide in as much detail as possible
-Interviews taped and lasted about 25 minutes


What were the two data analysis tools to analyse the transcripts called?

Wmatrix and the Dictionary of Affect in Language (DAL)


What does the Wmatrix do?

-Compares parts of speech and analyses semantic concepts contained in the psychopath
-Classifies words into categories
-Recognises subordinating conjunctions
-Takes into account grammar and sentence structure


What is the DAL?

-Dictionary of Affect in Language
-Used to examine the affective emotional tone of the words
-Assesses emotional properties of words
-Assigns a score of pleasantness and intensity of emotional language


How many words were the psychopaths/non-psychopaths narratives amounted to?

-Psychopaths - 29,562 words (14 men)
-Non-psychopaths - 97814 words (38 men)


What were the results to do with 'Instrumental Language Analysis'?

-Psychopaths produced significantly more subordinating conjunctions than the non-psychopaths
-These made up 1.82% of the words used by psychopaths and 1.54% of the words used by non-psychopaths


What were the results to do with Hierarchy of Needs?

-Psychopaths used approximately twice and many words related to basic psychological needs like eating, drinking and monetary resources
-Non-psychopaths used more language relating to social needs like family and religion


What were the results to do with Emotional Expression in Language?

Psychopaths used:
-33% more disfluencies
-More past tense verbs, more articles and more concrete nouns
-Negative correlation between factor 1 scores and emotional language used


What are the main conclusions of this study?

Hancock et al. concludes from the 'idiosyncratic' way in which psychopaths describe powerful emotional events that they operate on a primitive but rational level.