The Hare Psychopathy Checklist with 20 Most Common Traits of a Psychopath

/, Personality, Psychology & Mental Health/The Hare Psychopathy Checklist with 20 Most Common Traits of a Psychopath

Here is an adapted version of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, which can help you find out that someone you know might be a psychopath.

The term ‘psychopath’ was first coined in the mid- to late 1800s, and comes from the Greek psykhe and pathos, which mean ‘sick mind’ or ‘suffering soul.’

In those days, psychopathy was considered to be a sort of moral insanity, but of course, nowadays, we know better.

However, are we right to think of psychopaths as lone killers, devoid of humanity, preying on the vulnerable, who find it hard to mix with society? The truth is that you could have one as a friend, boss or even a partner. Psychopaths live among us and manage to blend into society, but you can spot them if you look hard enough.

First, you have to change the way you think about people and how we operate as human beings. It is normal to believe that everyone else on the planet is like us, in that, they think like us, feel the same emotions like us, and understand pain and loss like we do. It is important to understand that for a few percentage of the population, this is not true. These are people that do not have empathy or remorse, cannot feel emotion, whose only goal is to take advantage of others.

These are the psychopaths, and as with any mental disorder, there are characteristics that define it. The most common way of detecting whether a person is a psychopath is by using The Hare Psychopathy Checklist -Revised (PCL-R), which is a diagnostic tool, set to determine if someone is on the psychopathy spectrum.

On the checklist are 20 traits which each have a score between 0 – 2, the highest mark someone can achieve therefore being 40. In the US, if someone rates over 30 in the test, they are said to be psychopathic, but in the UK, it is only over 25.

The twenty traits on the Hare Psychopathy checklist are:

  1. pathological lying
  2. glib and superficial charm
  3. grandiose sense of self
  4. need for stimulation
  5. cunning and manipulative
  6. lack of remorse or guilt
  7. shallow emotional response
  8. callousness and lack of empathy
  9. parasitic lifestyle
  10. poor behavioral controls
  11. sexual promiscuity
  12. early behavior problems
  13. lack of realistic long-term goals
  14. impulsivity
  15. irresponsibility
  16. failure to accept responsibility
  17. many short-term marital relationships
  18. juvenile delinquency
  19. revocation of conditional release
  20. criminal versatility

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist -Revised (PCL-R) categorizes these traits into four factors: interpersonal, emotional, lifestyle and antisocial.

INTERPERSONAL TRAITS OF A PSYCHOPATH

The most common trait of a psychopath is their pathological lying. This is so that they can cover up their behaviour and get their own way.

Psychopaths use glibness and superficial charm to get you hooked in the first place. Once they have you under their spell, you are more likely to be willing to help them.

You’ll find many psychopaths in positions of great power and authority, this is due to their enormous sense of self-worth.

It is their manipulative behaviour that probably got them into these positions in the first place.

EMOTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A PSYCHOPATH

The most emotional characteristic is a complete lack of remorse or guilt. This could explain why psychopathic killers get away with their crimes as they simply do not care.

Some psychopaths may feel shallow emotions, in that they might feel sorry that their victim is dead because it no longer holds any pleasure for them.

More often a psychopath will be callous and show a distinct lack of empathy towards their victims. Failure to accept responsibility for their own acts is another common trait for a psychopath.

LIFESTYLE PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

You can also see psychopathic traits in the lifestyles of psychopaths. A common trait is the parasitic way they will feed off other people to sustain their lifestyle.

Psychopaths also have a need for stimulation which might lead them to behaving with impulsivity and acting in an irresponsible way. Typically, a psychopath will have no realistic, long-term goals, instead preferring to live in the moment.

ANTISOCIAL TRAITS OF PSYCHOPATHS

Despite many psychopaths holding down impressive jobs, they do not have good social skills. They find it hard to control their behaviour in public which could lead to a revoking of their parole.

Psychopaths are known to be particularly versatile in many areas of different crimes. This makes it difficult to catch them.

Diagnosing a psychopath

Even if you have the Hare Psychopathy Checklist in your arsenal, diagnosing someone in your life who you think is a psychopath is a very serious step. It has implications either way, whether you are right or wrong. It is better to leave any diagnosing to the professionals who are trained to spot the subtle signs of psychopathy, something that non-professionals might easily miss.

References:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/
  2. http://discovermagazine.com/
Shares


Copyright © 2018 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

About the Author:

Janey Davies has been published online for over 8 years. She is the head writer for Shoppersbase.com, she also writes for AvecAgnes.co.uk, Ewawigs.com and has contributed to inside3DP.com. She has an Honours Degree in Psychology and her passions include learning about the mind, popular science and politics. When she is relaxing she likes to walk her dog, read science fiction and listen to Muse.

17 Comments

  1. Julie May 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    This is very incorrect, to state that psychopaths do not have good social skills, maybe if there was a low IQ.

    But the worse kind of Psychopath, are that cunning & manipulative that they have everyone around them completely fooled, into thinking they are something they are not generally a perfect person.

    They have excellent social skills & have a different mask for each & every person in their life.

    They usually have many at times hundreds of loyal family & friends whom believe their lies & masks & are more than willing to defend them & even antognise their chosen victim.

  2. unkwoun June 23, 2018 at 9:15 am - Reply

    i had fought really hard with a phycopath and sent him out of area is there chances of him to harm the victim now also and how to prevent that

    • Unknown August 19, 2018 at 6:28 am - Reply

      Kwown
      Thanks

    • B August 19, 2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

      No there is no chance of him harming u. He dosent want to harm u.

      • S November 5, 2018 at 9:34 pm - Reply

        Really depends if he thinks revenge is worth the trouble.

  3. Jacob July 5, 2018 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    When I was growing up, i held true to the MacDonald triad, that being a list of three traits shared by 95% of all serial killers. I wet the bed far into my early teens, I loved to play with fire and burnt myself a few times doing it, and I felt it was completely normal to abuse/kill animals. I was a pathological liar, emotionally manipulative and controlling, but well spoken. I was a true sociopath on the verge of turning psychopath, as I regularly fantasized and meditated killing everyone, that including myself. I viewed living things as objects which I could and should manipulate, and if they caused me problems they were merely obstacles.

    But I accidentally stumbled upon a cure for (at least) my own socio/psychopathism around the age of 14. I first introduced myself to natural psycho-stimulants, initially weed, and then psilocybin mushrooms. I then discovered atheism, which exposed me to intellectual standards, skepticism, and introspective psycho-analyzation, which caused me to run my behavior through a series of tests in order to recognize self-destructive behavior. This stimulation of my conscious intellect led to the developing of an internal therapist, which actively searched for predictable behavior and wisdom, which consoled and subdued my mentally unhealthy subconscious. I effectively seperated my conscious and subconscious minds from one another, with the longterm goal of consciously controlling all of my behavior, or taking control of my behavior from my subconscious. Because of this, my life took a 180 degree shift, as I’m now a self-made philosopher with a deepened appreciation for science and wisdom. I’m morally focused, I repurposed my manipulative skills to analyze and educate the people around me, and I’ve become an excellent problem solver. I went from wanting to act out emotional impulses and kill everyone to consciously controlling my behavior and loving all living things.

    Weed, shrooms, and atheism literally made me a better person.

    • Ricky July 30, 2018 at 7:01 am - Reply

      Very interesting. Something similar happened to me. After all these decades I haven’t killed anybody. At least not yet.

    • Celeste August 1, 2018 at 2:07 am - Reply

      I am interested, Jacob, if you know or have theories about why you became “sociopathic.” Nature or nurture? I suspect it’s most often both. In my own case, I lacked empathy for humans, not animals. This is at least partly because I was much abused by humans, including my own parents. I went through a period of fantasizing a lot about hurting people — and I’m female. But I also think I inherited some potentially sociopathic genes, from my father, who was the main source of my angst and fury. I’ve had to do some pretty serious reparenting of myself, and I’m glad to say I too mostly love people these days. I’m not sure if my situation describes true sociopathy or not. There were many times in my life, though, where I lacked empathy, and didn’t care about people’s feelings as I should have, because no one had ever cared about mine; I was clueless that way. I do suspect that most of us have some sociopathic tendencies though, and that empathy can be learned (by some, not all).

  4. Steve August 30, 2018 at 2:17 am - Reply

    I agree with the people who have developed awareness and chosen conciously another way I identify with a lot of these traits and was also abused greatly as a child I am sure I would have gone on to murder and all sorts of other crime were it not for Jesus and becoming a Christian not a very good one but a much better person than I would have been I still struggle to feel love but I am growing slowly and haven’t killed anyone so far

  5. Joy September 1, 2018 at 12:09 am - Reply

    My Ex fits all those traits,I was drawn in so fast,he lacked empathy, moved into my place unannounced,lied straight away and still does.. He always went on about being a bad boy and spending long stretches in prison. He never could hold a job down,lived with other women and always abused them.He has no preference only they be younger than he.
    I was never allowed to see his place,but I managed to see it and I found that he is a hoarder,even though he bragged about all this money he has accumulated.
    His looks faded long ago and he hates and calls any males that have their own homes,businesses or looks after themselves
    In the spotlight or not.
    There are many things we would class as normal, but he has never done half of it in his life, he can’t start a conversation or hold one because his mind is a blank about many subjects. To him every one is a know all and won’t want you to have everything anything to do with them.He had me believe he had bowl cancer,also present me with an empty jewellery box that should have had an engagement ring.
    He made me get rid of my dog,which still haunts me to this day,i got another one, but he was physicaly cruel to her. He could never do a hobby,read,or commit to anything regarding a project. A big house and car and holidays was always on the horizon but had an excuse when left to plan things. He would watch and try to control me,because we lived in the same block and he was my neighbour for many years.I had to move away,it was so mentally damaging.
    After 10 years in my beautiful home,I had to leave because of a psychopath next door.

    • Carol Mattice September 3, 2018 at 1:54 am - Reply

      Joy, is it possible that we could talk one on one…

    • Jackie October 28, 2018 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      I am sorry that this happened to you. I have a similar situation but it’s much worse as I married him. In the past 8 years I’ve gone from being set for life to being homeless. My husband is now in prison and I am living in a cabin that his parents bought for him but kept in their name so I wouldn’t have a chance to take it, in the event of a divorce.. what’s worse yet is that his mother is also a psychopath and helps him to accomplish almost every evil thought that he has. They both lie for each other and it’s been a nightmare. I have nothing but social security now and I’m stuck here, disabled and a burden to my kids who rightfully should hate me for being with him for so long… I know I have severe PTSD from the past 8 years of my ice with him. I go to mental health appointments but the things I tell my counselor are so outlandish, I don’t think she believes me. I wonder every day how he could even think of most of the things he’s done to me and my kids and regret ever meeting him. I am mentally stuck in my head. He has stolen or destroyed everything I have ever worked for or that I care about my mothers wedding rings which I used to be married to him for example, I know he pawned them and so does his mother.. she continuously shows me the new rings that my father in law bought for her. One Christmas Eve, he and his brother were fighting in my yard because my husband was saying that their mother was a child molester. I have also stayed at their house with my husband after a party and have heard my father in law fighting with her and saying that she has molested him as a child. He is 40, in prison, and blames everyone but himself and so does she. I have no way to escape I’m financially trapped here and scared of what they’ll do next. In 2011 he burnt my house down because I told him I was in my way home to nj and leaving him. He has slashed my tires, cheated on me 100’s of times and done cruel things to my kids like putting powdered kool aide in my sons gas tank of his motorcycle and stolen their belongings and sold them. Honestly, I couldn’t make up most of the stuff he’s done to me so I don’t blame my counselor if she doesn’t believe me. His mother now helps him communicate with other women while he’s in jail and makes friends with women he’s cheated on me with and has them to her house for coffee or invites them out with her. She steals things from my home like new clothes I get or even letters he sends me from jail. I’m so lost in this world because of this toxic relationship I have no idea how to escape. Thank god you got away❣️ I would love to be out of here before he gets out of prison even if I have to wait until spring and leave with my dogs and a tent. I think he could be out by next August. I’m scared everyday and I have turned into someone I don’t even know anymore. I can’t live like this anymore 😭

  6. DocB September 5, 2018 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    I appreciate all the comments, especially the ones from the self-described “psychopaths”, although I doubt their sincerity. (Note – I did not say they were lying, I just said I doubted their sincerity.) The reason for the doubt is that I’m raising a psychopath, and I am well aware that the more serious the psychopathy, the more elaborate the lies. I have been extremely close to my 15 year old son, even calling him my best friend. Over the last year and one half, ALL of the traits of psychopathy have emerged full-fledged in him. The lack of remorse is the most startling, even chilling aspect. He truly gets a perverse thrill in suckering in family and friends to feel pity for him and profess their love for him at the EXACT SAME TIME that he is stealing from them, threatening another child, or committing some other felony that all of his counselors and family have worked hard to explain are ill-advised. At this point, we can be pretty sure that if he comes to a counselling session and announces that he will no longer lie, or threaten smaller children, or steal from family and friends, he is most definitely doing one or more of those things in a much more severe fashion that very same day. That’s his pattern. He waits for the support from everyone saying how proud they are of his decision, and then IMMEDIATELY, and I mean immediately, elevates his actions in an aggressive and sometimes violent way. This clearly gives him a thrill to see the subsequent horror and disbelief in the faces of the same caregivers. I dare say it borders on evil. Indeed, like most psychopaths, after initially vociferously denying his actions, and even breaking down crying and asking how we could doubt his words if we truly love him and believe in him, he eventually admits the whole thing after we stop even trying to believe his words and then states that he has no idea why he does it, only that it gives him pleasure. Admitting how much pleasure he gets from the deception and the anguish it causes his caregivers is at this point the only honest thing we hear from him. Coming from a household of two very involved parents (we are the PTA parents who were at every school event and who provided full physical, financial, and economic support for every sport/project/hobby that any of kids have) I can’t really put a social cause for what appears to be a conscious decision to go down this path. The only advice I can give to the family and “loved” ones and associates of psychopaths is to not be a victim. The only thing my son seems to respect and understand at this point is that I unequivocally let him know in no uncertain terms that I will protect the rest of the family, our friends, and even other people’s children again him and that I stand ready at the slightest provocation to turn him into juvenile services for any significant infraction. I also let him know that should I have t do that, he will stay there with no effort from me or anyone else to bail him out, speak on his behalf, or even provide funding for legal counsel. And this was the child with whom I had spent so much time, and had so many adventures with as he grew up that his sisters became jealous of our relationship. So my advice is to understand that regardless of what you do, people will choose either a path of darkness or light when growing up. Realize the same, realize that their decision is theirs (not yours) and you are neither responsible for it nor able to change it, and act accordingly.

    • say so September 28, 2018 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Many hugs for this. You did your best apparently. Its good now you know where you stand. Myself I. One from a family of psychopaths. I have also set up a similar high boundary of self protection. Any family member who misbehaves towards me will have exactly the same consequences as would a stranger. All those previledges of calling me on phone have been gone for decades. There is a sister now I cannot remember how she looked. Their children and grandchildren I have no idea their names and whether they are alive or dead.
      Was a tough decision.
      I did not create their psychopathy. I think it was generational but what does that matter to me?
      Just to be clear I did not even attend my horrible mother’s funeral. Its ten years and I have never cried or anything. I think she was a complete stranger that had stumbled into my life. Same can be said if my eatraged family.

    • Pancho Villa October 11, 2018 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Sounds like your son needs a good ol fashion ass whooping to beat the devil out of him!

  7. Laura September 16, 2018 at 11:06 am - Reply

    I was married to a high functioning sociopath for 20 years. It was 191/2 years of a roller coaster of emotional abuse and thinking there must be something wrong with me? After all everyone else thought he was this perfect man! He teaches karate not only in the U.S. but in other countries, so he has so very many people that think he is this wonderful almost perfect man. For years who could I even tell? Who would believe me over him? The things he did to me made me want to die, I couldn’t understand how someone so great could treat me so badly, I had to be a horrible human being. If you are wondering about the first 6 months, that’s when they sweep you off your feet. They are your perfect person, the one you always wanted, the one you will spend 191/2 years trying to get back.

  8. say so September 28, 2018 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    The part I do not believe is that psychopaths are 4 percent. How so you then explain everyone in my family of 8 and their children and grandchildren are psychos. Ivtried day and good to look for the good but there was simply nothing!

Leave A Comment