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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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94. Examining Differences in Impulsivity Between Psychopathic and Non-Psychopathic Offenders through Natural Speech

The literature has consistently indicated associations between psychological characteristics (e.g., cognition, affect, personality traits) and an individual’s natural speech. Previous studies have found less emotionally intense language of psychopathic individuals, who generally speak fewer words and have a shorter response time but have difficulty processing emotions (e.g., guilt) (Klaver et al., 2007; Kiehl et al., 2004). The present study examined natural speech output in the context of a clinical interview (i.e., the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised; PCL-R) in a sample of psychopathic (n = 49) and non-psychopathic (n = 44) male offenders. Specifically, the present study utilized the Computerized Assessment of Natural Speech (CANS; Cohen et al., 2009) to examine the prosodic changes in emotional content in response to affectively-charged probes related to impulsivity, as well as a neutrally valenced probe to provide a baseline comparison. A mixed MANOVA (group x valence x arousal) will be used to assess significant differences in prosodic output across psychopathic and non-psychopathic offenders. Based on the previous literature, the present study expects to find changes in psychopathic speech relating to the impulsive condition (e.g., shortest, longest), silence, and less variation in intonation. Expected findings would suggest that psychopathic speech, compared to non-psychopathic speech, have are more fluid in terms of speech output and demonstrate less variation in intonation, providing evidence of the classic observation of “flat affect” in psychopathy.

Ashley Risinger
University of North Texas

Jordan Donson
University of North Texas

Hannah Walsh
University of North Texas

Craig Neumann
University of North Texas

Kent Kiehl
University of New Mexico, The Mind Research Network

 


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