Psychopathic personality traits in middle-aged male twins: A behavior genetic investigation

Michael Brook*, Matthew S. Panizzon, David S. Kosson, Elizabeth A. Sullivan, Michael J. Lyons, Carol E. Franz, Seth A. Eisen, William S. Kremen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Psychopathic personality is characterized by interpersonal dominance, impulsivity, sensation seeking, poor planning, and aggressiveness. Studies have shown that the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) can be used to estimate scores on the fearless-dominant (FD) and the impulsive-antisocial (IA) dimensions of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI), the best validated self-report measure of psychopathic personality traits. Prior behavior genetic studies reported roughly equal genetic and nonshared environmental influences for both FD and IA, which remained stable from adolescence to young adulthood. However, no prior studies address genetic and environmental influences on these dimensions beyond early adulthood. We utilized the classic twin method to examine genetic and environmental influences on variance in FD and IA in a sample of middle-aged male twins. Biometric modeling indicated that the variance in both factors is best explained by additive genetic and nonshared environmental influences. FD showed roughly equal contributions from genetic and environmental factors, whereas IA showed greater contributions from environmental than genetic factors. Additionally, the small phenotypic correlation between FD and IA was explained entirely by nonshared environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-486
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychopathic personality traits in middle-aged male twins: A behavior genetic investigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this