Can psychopaths assess vulnerability just by watching someone walk?

This study examines whether psychopathic traits in a nonreferred (and presumably nonpsychopathic) sample could enhance the accuracy of perceptions of victim vulnerability. In a previous study, the interpersonal and affective component of psychopathy was associated with increased accuracy in assessing vulnerability in dyadic conversations, and Grayson and Stein (1981) established that vulnerability could be assessed by observing targets walking. The purpose of this study was to determine whether individuals scoring higher on psychopathic traits would be better able to judge vulnerability to victimization after viewing short clips of targets walking. Participants provided a vulnerability estimate for each target and completed the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale: Version III (SRP-III). Higher SRP-III scores were associated with greater accuracy in assessing targets’ vulnerability to victimization. Implications for the prevention of victimization are discussed.

Source: “Psychopathic Traits and Perceptions of Victim Vulnerability” from Criminal Justice and Behavior

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