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Psychopathic Traits, Structure of

Psychopathy is a disorder conceptualized as a constellation of inherently dissocial personality and behavioral characteristics. Early thinkers have been instrumental in initial conceptualizations of psychopathy, particularly Hervey Cleckley, who has played a large role in shaping the understanding of this construct. However, despite providing an influential clinical profile, Cleckley’s contribution was based on case studies and did not offer an empirical assessment method or a parsimonious conceptualization. To address the diagnostic confusion pervading the field, Robert D. Hare developed the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) and subsequently the PCL–Revised (PCL-R), a standardized interview to assess psychopathy in a manner consistent with Cleckley, other theorists, and Hare’s own research.

The PCL-R is a 20-item construct rating scale that conceptualizes psychopathy as a dimensional, superordinate construct consisting of four dimensions ...

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