Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Shayne Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John K. Cochran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joshua C. Cochran, Ph.D.


behavior, nonverbal, personality, psychopathy, victim


Prior research has shown that psychopathic traits correlate with ability to make more accurate assessments of vulnerability based on nonverbal cues (Wheeler, Book, & Costello, 2009; Book, Costello, & Camilleri, 2013). The current study aims to provide further support for this finding, examine effect of criminal experience, and determine if the finding generalizes to females and non-Caucasians. An online survey was conducted, where each participant was shown several videos of people walking alone down a hallway. After each video, they were asked to rate the vulnerability of the depicted person. Higher levels of psychopathic traits (measured by the Elemental Psychopathy Assessment (EPA; Lynam et al., 2011)) were found to correlate with more accurate assessments of vulnerability when white or black males were assessing videos of males of their same race. Prior criminal behavior, however, did not relate to better accuracy, despite its relation to psychopathic traits. Results for females were not consistent with findings for males, indicating the finding may not generalize across gender. Potential reasons for these findings are discussed.