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Saturday, January 10, 2015


 Advanced Research Methods
Week 4
Discussion 2

What is the research question discussed by the authors in this article?
    How have the authors set up their binomial distribution? What do the authors expect to find?
    What evidence do the authors provide that the two psychological conditions (psychopathy and sexual sadism) are not the same (even though they share certain characteristics?
    What are the possible binomial distributions in the data set for your city? How would you test your data using the binomial approach? How will it benefit your research?

Mokros, Osterheider, Hucker, and Nitschke study the concept of whether psychopathy and sexual sadism are a unified concept. The researchers define sexual sadism as the arousal of a person based on fantasies and “acts of inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on another human-being” (Mokros, Osterheider, Hucker, & Nitschke, 2011, p.188). They further make the distinction that “severe sexual sadism is based upon the coercion of involuntary victims (2011, p.188.. Persons suffering from psychopathy “display egocentric, selfish traits, act in a brazen, reckless manner, and are proficient at deception and manipulation,without showing remorse “ (2011,p.189), and that this personality disorder “shows considerable overlap with antisocial personality or dissocial personality disorders from the DSM-IV-TR” (2011, p.189) One thing to keep in mind that the DSM definition of a particular disorder may be different from year to year depending on current studies.

Mokros et al compared their subjects on the basis of the PCL-R ( a checklist scoring test for psychopathy – I got a 16, so obviously I am not a pyscho) and on the SSSS (Severe Sexual
Sadism Scale, a similar test for sexual sadism. A binomial distribution is based on the results of a series of yes/no questions. Mokros et al are testing two hypotheses; the first that sexual sadism and psychopathy are different constructs and that a a two-factor model in which indicators of psychopathy can be grouped on a factor separately from symptoms of sexual sadism will fit better then grouping all symptoms on the same factor, and the second hypothesis that specific components of of the construction of psychopathy will “significantly predict sexually sadistic behavior.”(2011, p.190) The binomial distribution applies to the yes/no question of whether the two specific components of the psychopathic construct indicated sexual sadism.

In testing the first hypotheses on a two-factor basis, Mokros et al found “the first of these factors was characterized by aspects of sexual sadism (with most of the psychopathy items showing loadings near 0 or negative loadings). The second factor showed a reverse pattern with substantial loadings of psychopathy items and marginal or negative loadings of sexual sadism criteria” (2011, p.192)

I don't understand the final question; are we applying a binomial distribution test to selected data from our census/UCR data, or extrapolating the Mokros group study to our own city? In my own research, I could build a dataset of operations, and for each incident, ask if the operations were different against the Klan then they were for the various leftist groups, I could then run a second “test” as to whether that difference could be accounted for by politics.

You “test” yourself for psychopathy at:
But remember that “the test must be administered by professionals"!

Mokros, A., Osterheider, M., Hucker, S. J., & Nitschke, J. (2011). Psychopathy and sexual sadism. Law and Human Behavior, 35(3), 188–199. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/864196731


There are some assumptions you can make concerning this population:
1- The sex drive is very primary in humans; people make choices every day based on fulfilling sex needs.
2- Persons with severe sexual sadism are going to act upon non-consensual victims, which leads to a higher chance of getting caught; this is contrast to a random sample of a population that has condition x, that person isn't going to be "highlighted".  Perhaps a better way of saying this is that a severe sexual sadist is going to be more representative of his "community" then a completly random sample would be.
3- Conversely, the subject in jail/pych care got caught; maybe the general population of sever sexual sadists is smarter then the jailed population
4- But considering that they are going to have to keep acting in the interests of their sex drive, they will commit more crime, increasing the chances of getting caught.


I need to clean up statement 2 a bit - a severe sexual sadist in the corrections system will be more representative of the severe sexual sadist population at large, then will be a random subject with a generic x condition; this assumption is based on the nature of the behavior of the disorder, which requires crimes to be committed.
 The researchers made a distinction between severe sexual sadism and sexual sadism.  Given that severe sexual sadism chooses non-consensual victims, is there a reason to be worried about those with sexual sadism that have consensual  partners?

Sexual Sadism. (2012) Forensic Psychiatry.


I don't think that there that many psychopaths running around to begin with:  Coid, Tang, Ullrich, Roberts and Hare estimate the prevalence of psychopathy in the United kingdom at 0.6% of the population. (2009, Abstract)  You could also look at the prevalence of psychopathy in the corrections population, and the percentage of the population in the corrections system as a whole.

Coid, J., Tang, M., Ullrich, S., Roberts, A. and Hare, R. (2009, March–April). Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain.
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Volume 32, Issue 2, Pages 65–73. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160252709000028

The Straubing facility covers an "area" of 12.5 million people;  I didn't see anything in the study about the number of detainees at the facility itself, only that they used a sample size of to subjects for each category.  Maybe there were more detainees at the facility, and they just used a small sample size to determine if a larger study was justified.

I took the self-test at the forum link;  you would want a psychology professional to give an actual test to make a better measure of the answers.
***I should have noted that this is a version of the PCL-R****, which is why I brought it up.

My own opinion of the difference is based on sex drive;  psychopaths tend to be selfish in overall behavior (lying, irresponsibility, parasitism, poor behavioral control), while sexual sadists do well on those tests but have higher levels of correlation on sexually related questions ( just about everything on the SSSS) then the psychopaths did.  (Although the psychopaths scored higher on the PCL-R promiscuity)

The similarity would be the lack of empathy to the victim, but the "goals" of the disorders are different.

Taken form the forums links; this is the same that was given to the subjects:

"The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. Originally designed to assess people accused or convicted of crimes, the PCL-R consists of a 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject's degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath. It is accepted by many in the field as the best method for determining the presence and extent of psychopathy in a person.


Obviously, diagnosing someone as a psychopath is a very serious step. It has important implications for a person and for his or her associates in family, clinical and forensic settings. Therefore, the test must be administered by professionals who have been specifically trained in its use and who have a wide-ranging and up-to-date familiarity with studies of psychopathy.

Scoring and Result

The PCL-R provides a total score that indicates how closely the test subject matches the "perfect" score that a classic or prototypical psychopath would rate. Each of the twenty items is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 based on how well it applies to the subject being tested. A prototypical psychopath would receive a maximum score of 40, while someone with absolutely no psychopathic traits or tendencies would receive a score of zero. A score of 30 or above qualifies a person for a diagnosis of psychopathy. People with no criminal backgrounds normally score around 5. Many non-psychopathic criminal offenders score around 22.

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:
Score 0 if it does not apply to you, score 1 if it somewhat applies, score 2 if it fully applies to you.

1. Glibness and superficial charm
– smooth-talking, engaging and slick.

2. Grandiose self-worth
– greatly inflated idea of one’s abilities and self-esteem, arrogance and a sense of superiority.

3. Pathological lying
– shrewd, crafty, sly and clever when moderate; deceptive, deceitful, underhanded and unscrupulous when high.

4. Cunning/manipulative
– uses deceit and deception to cheat others for personal gain.

5. Lack of remorse or guilt
- no feelings or concern for losses, pain and suffering of others, coldhearted and unempathic.

6. Shallow affect / emotional poverty
– limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness.

7. Callous/lack of empathy
– a lack of feelings toward others; cold, contemptuous and inconsiderate.

8. Fails to accept responsibility for own actions
– denial of responsibility and an attempt to manipulate others through this.

9. Needs stimulation/prone to boredom
– an excessive need for new, exciting stimulation and risk-taking.

10. Parasitic lifestyle
– Intentional, manipulative, selfish and exploitative financial dependence on others.

11. Poor behavioral controls
– expressions of negative feelings, verbal abuse and inappropriate expressions of anger.

12. No realistic long-term goals
– inability or constant failure to develop and accomplish long-term plans.

13. Impulsiveness
– behaviors lacking reflection or planning and done without considering consequences.

14. Irresponsible
– repeated failure to fulfill or honor commitments and obligations.

15. Juvenile delinquency
– criminal behavioral problems between the ages of 13-18.

16. Early behavior problems
– a variety of dysfunctional and unacceptable behaviors before age thirteen.

17. Revocation of Conditional Release
– Violating probation or other conditional release because of technicalities.

18. Promiscuity
– brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs and an indiscriminate choice of sexual partners.

19. Many short-term marital relationships
– lack of commitment to a long-term relationship.

20. Criminal versatility
– diversity of criminal offenses, whether or not the individual has been arrested or convicted."


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