Mind & Body

The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale Can Tell You How Psychopathic You Are

Look around — psychopaths are everywhere. We work with them. We're related to them. Boy, have we ever dated them. But before you go around on a witch hunt for psychos, pause. Take a look in the mirror. How do you know you're not one of them too? Time to self-reflect with the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale. Relax, you have nothing to worry about ... right?

It's Complicated

The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP) is a tool developed by Michael R. Levenson in 1995. This scale was created for use in a psychological study that examined antisocial dispositions in 487 university students. According to the study, psychopathy can't be boiled down to just "Are you?" or "Aren't you?" It's much more nuanced. The result of Levenson's study suggests that psychopathy isn't "a singular behavioral inhibition system mediating both antisocial and risk-taking behavior" and instead is "a continuous dimension." Think of psychopathy as a set of attributes and tendencies, not one on/off switch in your brain.

The test is fun to take, sure, but does it work? A few deep-dive looks at the LSRP find that it is actually reasonably effective. A 2011 study called it "a promising, efficient measure of the psychopathic personality" and a 2008 study determined the test is "a reasonable, albeit imperfect, measure of psychopathy." But as you take the test, keep in mind that this online questionnaire is not a diagnostic tool or psychological advice of any kind. (Neither is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, if you take it yourself.) Only a qualified professional can diagnose you with psychopathy. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not us.

(Pretty soon we'll be able to identify psychopaths by checking out their Spotify playlists, too.)

Testing, Testing

The test, which is a 26-statement questionnaire, only takes about five minutes to complete. Each statement is rated on a 1-5 scale: (1) strongly disagree, (2) disagree, (3) neither agree nor disagree, (4) agree, (5) strongly agree. The statements include things like "Before I do anything, I carefully consider the possible consequences" and "Love is overrated." After those few, sweet minutes of statement-rating self-diagnosis, the online version of LSRP will spit out your results. The scale measures your psychopathy levels by measuring your personality on two scales: primary psychopathy (psychopathic emotional affect) and secondary psychopathy (psychopathic lifestyle).

Ready? Take the test for yourself right here.

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Want to learn more about psychopathy? Check out Robert B. Hare's book "Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us." We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Joanie Faletto October 19, 2017

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