Downloaded By: [Hollady, Lana] At: 21:56 1 April 2008
Journal of Personality Assessment, 90(2), 197–200, 2008
Copyright C ?Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0022-3891 print / 1532-7752 online
Four-Facet PCL–R Structure and Cognitive Functioning Among
High Violent Criminal Offenders
SHOBA SREENIVASAN,1SARAH CUSWORTH WALKER,2LINDA E. WEINBERGER,1PATRICIA KIRKISH,1
AND THOMAS GARRICK1
1Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California
2School of Medicine, University of Washington
High violent inmates (N = 126) were administered the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL–R; Hare, Clark, Grann, & Thornton, 2000; Hare
A violence score, computed as the total number of violent acts across all situations and types, was significantly correlated with the PCL–R total
score and Facet 2 but not with the other three facets. Our data suggest that Facet 2 elevations may prove relevant to violence risk assessment; this
link, however, needs further exploration with larger samples.
a well-established instrument for assessing psychopathy.
Those who score above 30 on the PCL–R are de-
fined as “primary psychopaths” (Hare, 1991). High PCL–
Rtotal scores are associated
(Hare, 1991, 1999; Hart, 1998; Hart & Hare, 1989;
Heilbrun et al., 1998; Ogloff, Wong, & Greenwood, 1990;
Salekin, Rogers, & Sewell, 1996).
Initially, Hare (1991) described a two-factor model of psy-
chopathy. Factor 1 measured a constellation of interpersonal
and affective traits. Factor 2 measured social deviance related
to a recurrent pattern of criminal behavior and an irresponsible
lifestyle. Hare (2003) then divided the PCL–R into four sub-
scales called “facets” that may reflect distinct clusters of psy-
chopathic expression. Facets 1 and 2 represent a subdivision of
reflect the division of Factor 2 into separate domains of lifestyle
instability and antisocial behavior. These four facets may be re-
lated uniquely to repetitive aggression and may correspond to
prevailing brain-behavior models of psychopathy.
Support for brain dysfunction as the pathogenesis of impul-
sive and aggressive personality is based on neurological models
that link aggression to frontal and/or temporal lobe dysfunc-
tion. Neuroradiologic studies have demonstrated abnormalities
among those with high total PCL–R scores (Hare, 1996; Kiehl,
Hare, McDonald, & Brink, 1999; Kiehl, Little, et al., 1999;
Kiehl et al., 2004; LaPierre, Braun, & Hodgins, 1995; Raine,
Lenez, Bihrle, LaCasse, & Colletti, 2000). Functional magnetic
Checklist-Revised (PCL–R; Hare, Clark,
Received August 16, 2005; Revised January 17, 2007.
Address correspondence to Shoba Sreenivasan, GLA-VA Medical Center,
11301 Wilshire Blvd. 116B, Building 258, Room 222, Los Angeles, CA 90073;
processing deficits among psychopathic persons (Kiehl, Hare,
et al., 1999; Kiehl, Liddle, et al., 1999; Kiehl et al., 2004). A
pattern of neuropsychological deficits has not emerged consis-
tently as associated with primary psychopathy (Hart, Forth, &
Hare, 1990; Morgan & Lilienfeld, 2000; Pharr, Vanderstukken,
Philippot, & Vanderlinden, 2003; Suker & Allain, 1987; Walsh,
Swogger, & Kosson, 2004).
The purpose of this study was to examine the specific con-
tributions of the PCL–R facets to violence expression among
criminal offenders. In the study, we investigated (a) whether the
four-facet model is related to an identifiable pattern of cognitive
functioning among a group of high violent criminal offenders
and (b) whether the facets are related differentially to the per-
sistence of violence.
They ranged in age from 18 to 48 years (M = 26.8, SD = 6.69);
their ethnicity consisted of White (28.1%), African American
(25.8%), Hispanic (38.3%), Asian (2.3%), and “other” (1.6%).
This demographic distribution is in keeping with the overall
California prison racial classification for the study period (De-
high violence with no history of severe psychiatric illness. Vio-
lence ratings were based on interview, correctional staff reports,
and review of available prison records containing “rap sheets”
in which the presence of a history of at least two documented
acts of serious violence against others resulting in great bodily
harm was established. The time period was lifetime prevalence.
All participants were rated by two of us and were included in
the study if the raters agreed as to violence designation. We
summed the participants’ total number of violent acts, across all
situations and types, to create an overall violence score.
Downloaded By: [Hollady, Lana] At: 21:56 1 April 2008
198 SREENIVASAN ET AL.
Approval to conduct this study was obtained from the
California Department of Corrections Research Review Board.
All persons studied were voluntary participants who read and
signed the “Participant Informed Consent.” Identifying infor-
mation was removed from all records, and each participant was
assigned a code number.
The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, anchored version
(Woerner, Mannuzza, & Kane, 1988) was used in conjunction
with a clinical interview to establish current mental function-
ing. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised (WAIS–R;
visuospatial skills, and fund of knowledge: Similarities, Digit
Span, Block Design and Information subtests (scaled scores).
Raw scores from Logical Memory I and Visual Reproduction I
from the Wechsler Memory Scale (Wechsler, 1987) were used
to assess visual memory. The Rey Auditory Verbal Learning
Test total score (sum of first five trials; Lezak, 1995) was used
as another measure of verbal memory. The raw score from the
Hooper Visual Organization Test (Hooper, 1983) was used to
test total score (sum over three trials) was used as a measure of
verbal fluency. We used the Trailmaking Test Parts A and B
(Lezak, 1995) to assess attention and divided attention, respec-
tively. The raw scores for perseverative errors, perseverative
responses, and categories completed from the Wisconsin Card
Sorting Task (Grant & Berg, 1948) were used to assess prob-
lem solving, planning, and set shifting. The Hare Psychopathy
psychopathy. The PCL–R has demonstrated good test–retest,
interrater reliability and good internal consistency (Hare, 2003;
Hare et al., 1990).
Level of education and number of head injuries were not
bership in an ethnic group was not found to be associated with
PCL–R score as measured by one-way analysis of variance,
F(4, 116) = 1.33. Correlations were computed between overall
PCL–R score and the 14 cognitive measures. Prior to a Bonfer-
roni adjustment for multiple comparisons (.05/14, p = .003),
the overall PCL–R was significantly associated with Trails B
(r = .20, p < .05) and WAIS–R Information (r = .18, p <
This sample’s PCL–R percentile rankings were compared to
the standard scores of North American male offenders, and the
(The facet score percentiles are approximate due to limits in the
standard score information). Despite high percentile rankings,
skewness and kurtosis were within normal range (−0.19 and
−0.83; −0.81 and 0.18; −1.0 and 1.0; and −1.0 and 0.5 for
Facets 1–4, respectively) according to benchmarks provided by
Curran, West, and Finch (1996) in which a moderately non-
normal distribution was specified at a minimum skewness of 2
and/or a kurtosis of 7. Consequently, the facet scales were used
in the analyses untransformed.
We entered Facets 1 through 4 in separate multiple regression
analyses with each cognitive measure as the dependent vari-
ables. We entered the facets in one step and we also entered age
and/or education in the analyses if they were found to correlate
with the cognitive measure. After a Bonferroni correction for
the 14 regressions (p = .003), none of the facets were signifi-
cantly correlated with the cognitive measures; however, Facet 2
and Trails B approached significance at p = .005.
PCL–R Facets and Violence
The violence scale was markedly positively skewed (skew =
8.5). To transform the scale to better approximate normality,
the scale was transformed using a logarithmic transformation
(log10). The resulting skew and kurtosis were within normal
limits (0.32 and 0.10, respectively).To avoid overlap between
the facet scores and a history of violence, those items that were
reflective of previous violence were omitted (i.e., poor behav-
ioral controls, juvenile delinquency, and criminal versatility;
e.g., see Serin, 1996). The omitted items were all taken from
Facet 4, leaving early behavior problems and revocation of con-
ditional release as the remaining items. To assess the relation-
ship between the facet scores and self-reported violence level,
we entered the facet scores in a multiple regression analysis all
at once with the transformed violence scale as the dependent
variable. Facet 2 was the only facet that was significantly and
positively associated with violence level, β = 0.24, r = .23,
p < .05. Facet 2 was the only scale significantly correlated with
violence among the facet scores, although the overall PCL–R
score did significantly correlate with the transformed violence
scale, r = 0.24, p < .01 (see Table 1).
We found no association between PCL–R total scores and
deficits on cognitive tests of frontal lobe function. Moreover,
there were no significant facet score correlations with cognitive
measures. Our most interesting findings relate to Facet 2 and
density of violence. Violence level was associated with Facet
2 but not with the other facets. Our data suggest that Facet 2
elements of shallowness and a lack of remorse may be central
to the identification of the risk for repetitive violence against
others and may be a core feature of psychopathy that forwards
gratuitous criminal violence against others. Other elements of
lifestyle of Facet 3, or the antisocial behavior of Facet 4, may
drive criminal activity but not necessarily remorseless violent
TABLE 1.—Multiple regression with PCL–R facets and violence.
Note. N = 116. PCL–R = Psychopathy Checklist–Revised.
∗p < .05.
Downloaded By: [Hollady, Lana] At: 21:56 1 April 2008
FOUR-FACET PCL–R AND VIOLENCE199
Facet 2 affective dimensions, such as shallowness and a lack
of remorse, may reflect emotional underarousal. Low emotional
arousal has been associated with high violence and psychopa-
thy (Quay, 1965; Raine, 1993) and as a distinguishing feature of
criminal psychopaths (Herpertz et al., 2001). Further, remorse-
lessness and shallow affect may be related neurologically to a
perience empathy. There are emerging data that the subcortical
processing of emotional material differs between “primary psy-
chopaths” and controls. For example, Kiehl et al. (2001) found
criminal psychopaths showed significantly less fMRI affective
reaction in the limbic areas of the brain when processing emo-
tionally laden words than noncriminal controls. We suspect that
those violent individuals who score high on Facet 2 experi-
ence affective underarousal to pain and distress induced in their
victims. Facet 2 elevation may be the marker of gratuitous ag-
gression. Arguably, our study may have been biased toward an
emotionally underaroused group, thereby prone toward higher
Facet 2 scores given that 46% of our sample scored 30 or above
on the PCL–R.
Some limitations of the study are that the sample selection
consisted of those available for study and were not a random
sample of high-violent individuals. Violence ratings were based
on historical data that impact scores in that the behavior ex-
hibited in the participants’ violence was also measured in other
items that constitute the PCL–R.
Our data suggest that Facet 2 elevations may prove relevant
to violence risk assessment; however, this finding needs further
exploration with larger samples. The lack of a significant corre-
lation of violence rating with Facets 1, 3, or 4 and the presence
of a significant association with Facet 2 suggest that Facet 2
may be a stronger identifier of recurrent violence, at least with
respect to historical violence in incarcerated males, than other
elements of the overall PCL–R score.
Curran, P. J., West, S. G., & Finch, J, F. (1996). The robustness of test statis-
tics to nonnormality and specification error in confirmatory factor analysis.
Psychological Methods, 1, 16–29.
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Offender Information Services
Estimates and Statistical Analysis Section, Data Analysis Unit. (2005). Cali-
Sacramento, CA: Author.
Grant, D., & Berg, E. (1948). A behavioral analysis of degree of reinforcement
and ease of shifting to new responses in a Weigl-type card-sorting problem.
Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38, 404–411.
Hare, R. D. (1991). The Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised manual. North
Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems.
Hare, R. D. (1996). Psychopathy: A clinical construct whose time has come.
Criminal Justice and Behavior, 23, 25–54.
Hare, R. D. (1999). Psychopathy as a risk factor for violence. Psychiatric
Quarterly, 70, 181–197.
Hare, R. D. (2003). The Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised manual. North
Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems.
Hare, R. D., Clark, D., Grann, M., & Thornton, D. (2000). Psychopathy and the
predictive validity of the PCL–R: An international perspective. Behavioral
Sciences & the Law, 18, 623–645.
Hare, R. D., Harpour, T., Hakistan, R., Forth, A., Hart, S., & Newman, J. P.
(1990). The Revised Psychopathy Checklist: Reliability and factor structure.
Psychological Assessment: A JournalofConsulting andClinical Psychology,
Hart, S. D. (1998). The role of psychopathy in assessing risk for violence: Con-
ceptual and methodological issues. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 3,
Hart, S. D., Forth, A. E., & Hare, R. D. (1990). Performance of criminal psy-
ogy, 99, 374–379.
Hart, S. D., & Hare, R. D. (1989). Discriminant validity of Psychopa-
thy Checklist in a forensic psychiatric population. Psychological As-
sessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1, 211–
Heilbrun, K., Hart, S. D., Hare, R. D., Gustafoson, D., Nunex, C., & White,
A. (1998). Inpatient and post-discharge aggression in mentally-disordered
offenders: The role of psychopathy. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13,
Herpertz, S. C., Werth, U., Lukas, G., Qunaibi, M., Schuerkens, A., Kunert,
H. J., et al. (2001). Emotion in criminal offenders with psychopathy and
borderline personality disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58, 737–
Hooper, H. (1983). Hooper Visual Organization Test (HVOT). Los Angeles:
Western Psychological Services.
Kiehl, K. A., Hare, R. D., McDonald, J. J., & Brink, J. (1999). Semantic and
affective processing in psychopaths: An event-related potential (ERP) study.
Psychophysiology, 36, 765–774.
Kiehl, K. A., Liddle, P. F., Smith, A. M., Mendrek, A., Forster, B. B., & Hare,
R. D. (1999). Neural pathways involved in the processing of concrete and
abstract words. Human Brain Mapping, 7, 225–233.
Kiehl, K. A., Smith, A. M., Hare, R. D., Mendrek, A., Forster, B. B., Brink, J.,
et al. (2001). Limbic abnormalities in affective processing by criminal psy-
chopaths as revealed by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Biological
Psychiatry, 50, 677–684.
Kiehl, K. A., Smith, A. M., Mendrek, A., Forster, B. B., Hare, R. D., & Liddle,
P. F. (2004). Temporal lobe abnormalities in semantic processing by crim-
inal psychopaths as revealed by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
Psychiatry Research, 130, 297–312.
LaPierre, D., Braun, C. M. J., & Hodgins, S. (1995). Ventral frontal deficits in
psychopathy: Neuropsychological test findings. Neuropsychologia, 33, 139–
Lezak, M. (1995). Neuropsychological assessment (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford
Morgan, A. B., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2000). A meta-analytic review of
the relation between antisocial behavior and neuropsychological mea-
sures of executive function. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 113–
Ogloff, J. R. P., Wong, S., & Greenwood, A. (1990). Treating criminal psy-
chopaths in a therapeutic community program. Behavioral Sciences and the
Law, 1, 81–90.
tive attention and executive functions deficits among criminal psychopaths.
Aggressive Behavior, 29, 393–405.
Quay, H. (1965). Psychopathy as pathological stimulation-seeking. American
Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 180–183.
disorder. San Diego, CA: Academic.
Raine, A., Lencz, T., Bihrle, S., LaCasse, L., & Colletti, P. (2000). Re-
duced prefrontal gray matter volume and reduced autonomic activity in
antisocial personality disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 119–
the Psychopathy Checklist and Psychopathy Checklist–Revised: Predictive
validity of dangerousness. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 3,
Behavior, 20, 207–217.
Downloaded By: [Hollady, Lana] At: 21:56 1 April 2008 Download full-text
200 SREENIVASAN ET AL.
Clinical sample comparisons of psychopaths and nonpsychopaths. Journal of
Abnormal Psychology, 96, 73–75.
Walsh, Z., Swogger, M. T., & Kosson, D. S. (2004). Psychopathy, IQ, and
violence in European American and African American county jail inmates.
Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 72, 1165–1169.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
Wechsler, D. (1987). Wechsler Memory Scale–Revised. San Antonio, TX: The
Woerner, M., Mannuzza, S., & Kane, J. (1988). Anchoring the BPRS: An aid to
improved reliability. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 24, 112–117.