Psychopathic Storytelling: The Effect of Valence on Self and Time in Psychopathic Language Use
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This study used computerized textual analysis to examine the characteristics of stories about positive and negative events provided by 13 psychopathic and 38 non-psychopathic criminal offenders. Psychopathic offenders were expected to display linguistic characteristics consistent with narcissistic personality disorder and to display a greater degree of psychological distancing than non-psychopathic offenders. Their language use supported these predictions. Compared to non-psychopaths, psychopaths produced a higher rate of first person singular pronouns ("I"), and fewer first person plural pronouns ("we"), consistent with narcissism, and fewer past tense verbs but more present tense verbs when retelling positive stories, consistent with psychological distancing. The results suggest that a psychopath's narcissistic personality and psychological distancing can be detected in language production.
dissertation or thesis