Risk taking and the triarchic model of psychopathy.


INTRODUCTION High risk behaviors, such as aggression, criminality, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and gambling, are often associated with psychopathic traits. Such behaviors might arise due to a lack of fear of the consequences (boldness) or due to impulsive actions (disinhibition). We examined risk taking behavior in the laboratory setting using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), where an individual can inflate a balloon to earn a reward, but will lose this accumulated reward if the balloon bursts. The task reflects the willingness to take risks under conditions where the risk-taking behavior is understood and is made clear to the individual. METHOD BART performance was measured in a mixed community and offender sample, and psychopathy was characterized via the triarchic conceptualization of psychopathy, which proposes that psychopathy is a combination of boldness, meanness, and disinhibition. RESULTS Total psychopathy score was correlated with greater risk taking on the BART, and this effect was mainly due to the Boldness scale rather than the Meanness or Disinhibition scales. These relationships were not moderated by the nature of the sample (offender vs. community) or by gender. CONCLUSIONS Individuals with high psychopathy scores appear more willing to take risks on this simple laboratory task, and this behavior appears due to boldness rather than being related to an impulsive disposition.

DOI: 10.1080/13803395.2017.1300236

Cite this paper

@article{Snowden2017RiskTA, title={Risk taking and the triarchic model of psychopathy.}, author={Robert J. Snowden and Chloe Smith and Nicola S. Gray}, journal={Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology}, year={2017}, volume={39 10}, pages={988-1001} }