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Fifty shades of risk: psychopathic traits, gender and risky behaviour

Faculty Advisor




psychopathy, gender

Abstract (summary)

The purpose of this study was to determine what effect psychopathic traits, gender and informed consequences have upon risk-taking behaviours across multiple domains. Although psychopathy has been associated with increased risk for violent and criminal behaviours, few studies have addressed psychopathic traits in relation to different types of risky behaviours outside the criminal realm, as well as whether gender is associated with manifestation of different risk-taking actions. Further, those high in psychopathic traits often disregard the consequences of their risky behaviours relative to those low in such traits who weigh the benefits and risks associated with their actions. Therefore, we examined how risk-consequence information may influence endorsement of risky behaviours across psychopathic trait and gender groups. In this study, participants were assessed on their levels of psychopathic traits, and completed multiple measures evaluating risk-related attitudes and behaviours (i.e., domain-specific, driving, sexual behaviours, and drug use). Participants also were randomly assigned into risk-consequence conditions (positive, negative, none) where information was presented in the form of a fake news release. We anticipate that males and females will endorse different domains of risk-taking and that psychopathic traits will be related to gender-specific patterns of risky behaviours. We also predict that risk-consequence information should only impact low psychopathic trait groups, although this effect may be moderated by gender.

Publication Information



Presented on January 25, 2016 at Student Research Week held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Item Type

Student Presentation




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