Kelley, Shannon (2015-05). Self- and Informant-Perceptions of Psychopathic Traits: Do Attitudes Predict Behavior Beyond Personality Ratings?. Master's Thesis.
Recent empirical evidence suggests that psychopathic individuals are capable of accurately self-reporting on their personality style and externalizing behaviors; however, little is known about their attitudes toward those traits and behaviors. The present study examined the convergence of self- and informant-reports of psychopathic personality traits as well as antisocial and prosocial externalizing behaviors among a sample of undergraduate roommate dyads (N = 164). Further, analyses explored the attitudes toward psychopathic traits, including judgments of psychopathic traits as normal, socially desirable, and advantageous to the self or others, and potential variations in attitudes according to the rater's own psychopathic trait severity. Results indicated moderate to strong correspondence between self- and roommate-reports of psychopathic traits (i.e., boldness, meanness, disinhibition). Within perspectives, psychopathy ratings were significantly associated with reported antisocial behavior (e.g., physical aggression) and prosocial activities. Psychopathy ratings from the reciprocal perspective, however, generally demonstrated little incremental utility in predicting outcomes. Concerning value judgments, boldness in particular was viewed favorably; however, only attitudes toward meanness and disinhibition demonstrated responsiveness to psychopathic trait severity, with those relatively elevated in such traits holding more approving views. Contrary to hypotheses, incremental utility of these attitudes was not generally observed. Overall, the present findings suggest that psychopathic individuals do possess insight into their core personality traits, but may have distorted views concerning the value of these characteristics.