Psychopathy, impulsiveness and violence: How are they linked?
Howard, Richard C.
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This paper attempts to elucidate possible relationships between three multifaceted constructs: psychopathy, impulsiveness and violence. A recently developed and validated quadripartite violence typology is described which parses violence into two motivationally distinct types according to whether it is appetitively or aversively driven. Nested within each type are 2 sub-types which depend on whether the violence is impulsive or premeditated/controlled. An attempt is then made to link each type and subtype of violence with, firstly, psychopathy as viewed through the prism of the Triarchic Psychopathy Model (TPM) which parses psychopathy into the three phenotypic components of Meanness, Boldness and Disinhibition; and secondly, impulsiveness parsed using the UPPS model into Urgency, (lack of) Perseverance, (lack of) Premeditation, and Sensation seeking. It is suggested that violence that is appetitively driven and controlled/premeditated (motivated by a desire for self-gratification) is related to Boldness; that violence that is appetitively driven and impulsive (motivated by a desire for excitement) is related to the combination of Boldness and Meanness; and that violence that is aversively driven and impulsive (motivated by a desire to protect oneself from a perceived and immediate threat) is related to the combination of Meanness and Disinhibition. It remains unclear whether, or how, the fourth violence type motivated by a desire for vengeance relates to the triarchic psychopathy components. While the suggested relationships are hypothetical, they provide a platform for empirical verification in future studies.