Forensic psychology blog In the News covers a preliminary study on how evaluators with different personality traits systematically differed in their ratings when using the ‘industry standard’ Hare Psychopathy Checklist.
Needless to say, it now features heavily in many legal cases.
The PCL-R is the most widely used measure of psychopathy in the world. But in real-world forensic settings, scores vary widely depending upon which side [of the legal case] retained the evaluator. This finding is called the “partisan allegiance” effect.
In a new twist, these same researchers that brought you partisan allegiance have found that an evaluator’s personality may impact her judgments of psychopathy. Evaluators low on compassion and thrill-seeking as measured by a widely used personality test, the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised, are more likely than others to rate criminals as psychopathic.
That’s ironic, because according to the theory of psychopathy, it’s supposed to be the psychopath — not the psychologist — who has a deficit in empathy.