Psychopathy is a personality disorder which can occur in non-institutionalised population. Psychopaths are also known as sociopaths. Psychopaths are often cruel, manipulative, lying, and impulsive. Psychopathy fascinates people, and it is easy to find video and audio clips on the web about this topic; some are listed below.

Robert Hare’s Web Site devoted to the study of Psychopathy

Forensic psychologists are interested in understanding the criminal mind. According to Michael Stone, not all murderers are psychopaths, and further, the degree of "evil" underlying murders can be graded. Murderers can be graded from "impulsive murderers" to "psychopaths". Read here on NPR.

Here we use the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP, 1995), which others have also judged as a reasonable scale (Miller et al., 2008; Sellbom, 2011). There are a various scales and check lists:

Various self-report psychopathy scales are based on a two-factor structure, but there is a lot of academic debate about how many different factors underlie psychopathy.

The LSRP scale measures two aspects (factors) of psychopathy (Levenson et al., 1995, p.152-154):

Factor Description Men Women


A selfish, uncaring, manipulative posture towards others




Impulsivity and a self-defeating lifestyle



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The scale was published in the Levenson et al. (1995) paper. It seems that it can be used for research when acknowledging the paper and authors.


This is a very straightforward scale item with some reverse scored items.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- disagree strongly
- disagree somewhat
- agree somewhat
- agree strongly

l: lsrp1
t: scale agree
q: To what degree do you agree with the following statements about yourself
- Success is based on survival of the fittest; I am not concerned about the losers
- For me, what's right is whatever I can get away with
- In today's world, I feel justified in doing anything I can get away with to succeed
- My main purpose in life is getting as many goodies as I can
- Making a lot of money is my most important goal
- I let others worry about higher values; my main concern is with the bottom line
- People who are stupid enough to get ripped off usually deserve it
- Looking out for myself is my top priority
- I tell other people what they want to hear so that they will do what I want them to do
- {reverse} I would be upset if my success came at someone else's expense
- I often admire a really clever scam
- {reverse} I make a point of trying not to hurt others in pursuit of my goals
- I enjoy manipulating other people's feelings
- {reverse} I feel bad if my words or actions cause someone else to feel emotional pain
- {reverse} Even if I were trying very hard to sell something, I wouldn't lie about it
- {reverse} Cheating is not justified because it is unfair to others

l: lsrp2
t: scale agree
q: To what degree do you agree with the following statements about yourself
- I find myself in the same kinds of trouble, time after time
- I am often bored
- {reverse} I find that I am able to pursue one goal for a long time
- I don't plan anything very far in advance
- I quickly lose interest in tasks I start
- Most of my problems are due to the fact that other people just don't understand me.
- {reverse} Before I do anything, I carefully consider the possible consequences.
- I have been in a lot of shouting matches with other people
- When I get frustrated, I often "let off steam" by blowing my top
- Love is overrated

l: primary
t: set
- sum $lsrp1

l: secondary
t: set
- sum $lsrp2

l: feedback
t: radio
q: <b>WARNING: This questionnaire is purely meant for teaching and research,
and should not be considered to be of diagnostic value!</b><br><br>
Your score on primary psychopathy traits is {$primary}.<br>
Your score on secondary psychopathy traits is {$secondary}.<br>
In short: Primary psychopathy reflects more the meanness of
psychopaths, whereas the second factor reflects the impulsivity and bad temper, etc.<br>
See accompanying website for details.<br><br>
The score on primary psychopathy in men is 32.96 and 27.67 in women.<br>
The score on secondary psychopath in men is 20.04 and 19.03 in women.<br>
- I understand that this test is not meant as a diagnosis tool.


  • Levenson, M.R., Kiehl, K.A, Fitzpatrick, C.M. (1995). Assessing psychopathic attributes in a noninstitutionalized population. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 151-158.

  • Miller, J.D., Gaughan, E.T., and Pryor, L.R. (2008). The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale. An Examination of the Personality Traits and Disorders Associated With the LSRP Factors. Assessment, 15, 450-463.

  • Sellbom, M. (2011). Elaborating on the construct validity of the Levenson self-report psychopathy scale in incarcerated and non-incarcerated samples. Law and Human Behavior, 35, 440-451.

  • Nikolova, N.L. (2009). The Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised: Evaluation of Its Psychometric Properties, Incremental Validity, and Moderating Effects of Gender in a Correctional Sample. Dissertation retrieved from this link.