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What are psychopaths for?

Psychologists inside and outside the criminal justice system spend an inordinate amount of time assessing prisoners and probationers for psychopathy. In this talk, Shadd Maruna asks why. Does the diagnosis merit the attention it is given by practitioners? If not, then what accounts for obsession with psychopathy? The case is made from a psychological point of view, but one that puts us (psychology, society, the criminal justice system) on “the couch” rather than the psychopath. It is argued that the diagnosis of psychopathy can be seen to serve interests in numerous ways, even though its alleged instrumental function is badly oversold.

SCCJR's 4th annual lecture: 'What are Psychopaths for?' delivered by Shadd Maruna (June 2010)

Shadd Maruna
Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR)