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Psychopathy and Victim Selection: The Use of Gait as a Cue to Vulnerability Psychopathy and Victim Selection: The Use of Gait as a Cue to Vulnerability

Angela Book, Kimberly Costello, and Joseph A. Camilleri
Journal of Interperso​nal Violence; July 2013 vol. 28 no. 11 2368-2383.

Abstract

Previous research has shown that victims display characteristic body language, specifically in their walking style (Grayson & Stein, 1981). Individuals scoring higher on the interpersonal/affective aspects of psychopathy (Factor 1) are more accurate at judging victim vulnerability simply from viewing targets walking (Wheeler, Book, & Costello, 2009). The present study examines the relation between psychopathy and accuracy in assessing victim vulnerability in a sample of inmates from a maximum security penitentiary in Ontario, Canada. Forty-seven inmates viewed short video clips of targets walking and judged how vulnerable each target was to victimization. Higher Factor 1 psychopathy scores (as measured by the PCL-R; Hare 2003) were positively related to accuracy in judging victim vulnerability. Contrary to research with noninstitutional participants (Wheeler et al., 2009), inmates higher on Factor 1 of psychopathy were more likely to rationalize their vulnerability judgments by mentioning the victim’s gait. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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