The mangled butterfly: Rorschach results from 45 violent psychopaths

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Abstract

Participants were 45 violent California male prison inmates scoring 30 or more on the Psychopathy Checklist—Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991, 2003). Inmates were evaluated using Rorschach and neuropsychological test data. The participants' intellectual functioning was within the low–average range and displayed a lack of flexibility. Rorschach data were not suggestive of chronic narcissism and anger as in other psychopathic samples. This group resembled Exner's normative sample of high Lambda adults. Consistent with previous studies, psychopaths demonstrated poor emotional modulation, diminished reality testing, little interest in people, and virtually no attachment capacity. Most utilized a simplistic, avoidant, and concrete style. This appeared to be consistent with the concrete thinking and fragmentation attributed to the criminal personality. Concrete thinking is based upon literal interpretations of events. Fragmentation is associated with attitudes that are situation specific and self-serving. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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