PSYCHOPATHY AND COOPERATION: PERSONALITY TRAITS AS PREDICTORS OF COOPERATION AND SUCCESS IN A PRISONER'S DILEMMA

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kyle Jeffrey Bewsey (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/

Abstract: Psychopaths are often violent, aggressive, and manipulative. They pose a serious threat to our social structures, and it is essential that we better understand the nature and origins of psychopathy. The present study examined the relationship between certain personality traits highly correlated with self-report measures of psychopathy (Payne,2004) and the strategies individuals use when playing a prisoner's dilemma. The purpose of this study was to identify relationships between the levels of cooperation used and success in a prisoner's dilemma with both broad personality domains and lower-level facets of the Five-Factor Model, as well as to explore news ways to conceptualize the psychopathic personality, and the possibility that it could be an adaptive and viable life strategy.A prisoner's dilemma is a non-zero sum game where participants face a hypothetical friend in a decision making scenario. Participants receive points based on choice of cooperating or competing with a friend on a given trial. The goal is to earn the most number of points possible. The M5 Questionnaire, the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, and the prisoner's dilemma were administered to students enrolled in introductory psychology courses. Each measure was computerized and was presented as part of a three-fold program. Pearson correlations were conducted at the domain and facet level to analyze the relationship between personality characteristics and overall average choice scores and overall average point totals in a prisoner's dilemma. There were few significant relationships between the M5 psychopathy profile and cooperation level, but it was observed that a cooperative style of play is not any more effective than a competitive style. Finally, there were a number of significant correlations found between the M5 and the LSRP replicating previous research.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2006

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