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

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97. Investigating Natural Speech Differences in Psychopathic and Non-Psychopathic Offenders

A large body of research supports a relationship between verbal behavior and information regarding one’s mental state and personality. In psychopathy, there are a few distinct characteristics previously researched in the natural speech output including differences in prosody, disfluent language, use of less affectively charged speech, and semantic content. The present study uses the Computerized Assessment of Natural Speech (CANS) to distinguish differences in the natural speech of criminal offenders during a Psychopathy Checklist- Revised interview using the probe “if you could say anything to your victims, what would you say?” Previously used in schizophrenia research, the CANS software detects differences in “macro” level prosodic variables. The CANS takes natural speech and analyzes it computing prosodic variables in frequency such as Fundamental Format Frequency (F0), First Format Frequency (F1), and Second Format Frequency (F2), along with a host of other semantic variables. Based on previous literature and research, we expect to see less variation in all frequencies, longer response length, higher number of utterances, and shorter pause lengths in psychopathic offenders. This study will deepen literature by providing evidence of objective differences in prosody between psychopathic and non-psychopathic offenders when they address their victims.

Michael Reyes
University of North Texas

Ashley Risinger
University of North Texas

Jordan Donson
University of North Texas

Hannah Walsh
University of North Texas

Craig Neumann
University of North Texas


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