So this guy, Bob Hare, is mentioned in Ronson’s book, The Psychopath Test. Hare developed a diagnostic checklist for identifying psychopaths in lieu of brain scans (which tend to definitively identify psychopaths based on the activity – or lack thereof – in certain areas of their brain).
Upon reading The Psychopath Test, I immediately wanted to get my hands on Hare’s diagnostic. Turns out it’s the real deal and super serious. You have to pay to get it.
Unwilling to shell out hundreds of dollars – I’m an uncompensated (read: unbiased) reviewer – I resorted, instead, to a time-honored journalistic tool: the Google search. And Google did not dissapoint.
Apparently Mr. Hare had some professional objections and concerns with Ronson’s treatment of the PCL-R. I use the term “professional objections” because I can’t believe that a psychologist who agreed to meet with a journalist in airport bars multiple times to chat about the journalist’s upcoming book honestly believed that the journalist would present clinical tools with clinical distance. Ronson did what all normal human beings do when presented with diagnostic tools – he tried them out, on himself and others.
Tell me truthfully: if you have access to a psychopath quiz, or a bipolar quiz, or an anxiety quiz, and you take it, do you even bother with the post-quiz text that implores you to consult a medical professional regarding the results of said quiz.
I answer you: No. You don’t care what a medical professional thinks because mostly you’re just doing those things for entertainment and perhaps to feel a bit of vindication about your own mental state or the state of those around you. This is why I’m mildly amused at Hare’s professional statement/reaction to Ronson’s book. I don’t need the PCL-R in a clinical setting because I’m not a psychopath; even if I was, I’ve committed no criminal acts and am not in need of clinical treatment. Neither, one can assume, is Ronson.
With that being said, here are my self-reported results for the PCL-R.
- Glib and Superficial Charm: 0 – I can become polite and agreeable when I must, but I wouldn’t characterize my behavior as charming. In fact I’m most often described as “unnecessarily blunt.”
- Grandiose Self-Worth: 0 – I think I’m generally pretty good at stuff, but that is based on my notion that I must always look for ways to improve and people to emulate.
- Need for Stimulation/Prone to Boredom: 1 – I do get bored easily but I don’t have any issues staying put when I must. That is, I can hold down a job, finish a project, be still.
- Pathological Lying: 0 – Not a fan of lying.
- Conning and Manipulative: 0 – Not a fan of conning people. I like convincing people that my way is the right way, but I’m not a fan of being deceitful to do it.
- Lack of Remorse or Guilt: 0 – I still feel guilt for stuff I did 20 years ago. I was really mean to my siblings.
- Shallow Affect: 0 – I have very strong feelings but I tend to not display them openly.
- Callousness and Lack of Empathy: 0 – I expect a lot from people, but when someone is hurting or in pain I respond with extreme emotion. I hate it.
- Parasitic Lifestyle: 0 – I try to give as I am given to.
- Poor Behavioral Controls: 1 – Hiding my annoyance, frustration, anger, and disgust is a consistent battle.
- Promiscuous Sexual Behavior: 0 – the opposite of that
- Early Behavioral Problems: 0 – Although I did have a hellacious ‘tude on me, I was overall a dang good kid.
- Lack of Realistic, Long-Term Goals: 0 – Modern science is so close to creating real-live mermaids.
- Impulsivity: 1 – Maybe? I’m a big fan of last-minute trips and I’ve had a few embarrassing episodes at Old Navy.
- Irresponsibility: 0 – I’m thuper rethponthibul.
- Failure to Accept Responsibility for Own Actions: 0
- Many Short-Term Marital Relationships: 0
- Juvenile Delinquency: 0
- Revocation of Conditional Release: 0
- Criminal Versatility: 0
Three. THREE. The top score is a 60 and most psychopaths score around 30 or above.
My criminal history (I should say, lack thereof) is disappointing in relation to my potential psychopathy. Oh well. According to Bob Hare none of this counts anyway.