Coordinating Author Information: Chloe Rodriguez | Sam Houston State University

Session Abstract:Background and Purpose

Research suggests psychopathic personality traits are distinct from normal (Big Five) personality traits. Presumably, the strategies individuals use to influence others (interpersonal influence tactics) and the frequency this is done is an interpersonal dynamic wherein distinctions between psychopathic and normal personality traits might exist. That is, are variations in these traits differentially related to the specific interpersonal influence tactics individuals use and/or the frequency of which they are used? This study investigated these questions by analyzing associations between psychopathic personality traits and interpersonal influence tactics, and then comparing these relationships to those found for normal personality traits.


Participants were 200 undergraduate students recruited from a medium-sized public university in the southern United States. The mean age of participants was 21.41 (SD = 4.60) with 71% female, 28% male, 0.5% other/I wish not to respond, and 0.5% missing. Approximately 36% of participants were Hispanic or Latinx; 65.5% of participants were White or Caucasian, 20% were Black or African American, 2.5% were Asian, 10% were mixed race, 4% were other, and 2.5% were missing. Participants were granted course credit for their participation.


As part of a larger data collection project, participants completed a self-report survey hosted on Qualtrics. Data used in the current study were obtained from the Big Five Inventory–2 Short Form (BFI-2-SF), Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality–Self Report (CAPP-SR), and Interpersonal Influence Tactics Circumplex (IIT-C) to measure normal personality traits, psychopathic personality traits, and interpersonal influence tactics, respectively.


Data analyses included three steps. First, latent factor estimates representing factors of the triarchic model of psychopathy were extracted from the CAPP-SR (F1:Antagonism, F2:Disinhibition, F3:Fearless Grandiosity). Step two involved calculating circumplex structural summary method parameters associated with these latent factors, as well as each of the Big Five normal personality traits on IIT-C surfaces. Parameters were compared across traits and the distinctiveness of interpersonal profiles were analyzed using a bootstrapping methodology.


Although probability estimates indicated some parameters should be interpreted with caution, others were highly accurate. Results suggested the three psychopathy factors were associated with different themes of interpersonal influence tactics, and comparisons suggested psychopathic traits had significantly greater associations with interpersonal influence tactics than normal personality traits.


This study offers evidence supporting the claim that psychopathic personality traits are distinct from normal personality traits in their associations with how individuals influence others, the behavioral tactics used to do so, and the frequency in which influence tactics are used. Study limitations included the sole use of a college sample, which likely presented with less psychopathy than other relevant populations (e.g., forensic); future studies should aim to test whether the current findings generalize to other relevant populations. Additionally, the mono-method nature of the study limited the ability to account for method-wise biases. Nevertheless, present findings are encouraging and call for further investigation into how normal and psychopathic personality traits differentially relate to patterns of influencing others. Pursuing this line of inquiry can illuminate a meaningful interpersonal domain to evaluate when assessing psychopathy.


Chloe Rodriguez | Sam Houston State University

Adam Natoli, PhD | Sam Houston State University

Jared Ruchensky, PhD | Sam Houston State University

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