The two-factor model of psychopathic personality: evidence from the psychopathic personality inventory. Academic Article uri icon


  • Psychopathy or psychopathic personality disorder represents a constellation of traits characterized by superficial charm, egocentricity, irresponsibility, fearlessness, persistent violation of social norms, and a lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse. Factor analyses of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI)typically yield two factors: Fearless Dominance (FD) and Self-Centered Impulsivity (SCI). Additionally, the Coldheartedness (CH) subscale typically does not load on either factor. The current paper includes a meta-analysis of studies that have examined theoretically important correlates of the two PPI factors and CH. Results suggest that (a) FD and SCI are orthogonal or weakly correlated, (b) each factor predicts distinct (and sometimes opposite) correlates, and (c) the FD factor is not highly correlated with most other measures of psychopathy. This pattern of results raises important questions about the relation between FD and SCI and the role of FD in conceptualizations of psychopathy. Our findings also indicate the need for future studies using the two-factor model of the PPI to conduct moderational analyses to examine potential interactions between FD and SCI in the prediction of important criterion measures.

published proceedings

  • Personal Disord

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Marcus, D. K., Fulton, J. J., & Edens, J. F

citation count

  • 128

complete list of authors

  • Marcus, David K||Fulton, Jessica J||Edens, John F

publication date

  • January 2013