Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Robert Hare: Expert on the Psychopath


Dr. Robert Hare
Dr. Robert Hare
Dr. Robert Hare has spent more than three decades engaged in research on the nature and implications of psychopathy.  He developed the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) and its revision, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), for the reliable and valid assessment of psychopathy.  However, as it turns out, the PCL-R and its derivatives have also been hailed as among the most accurate instruments available for risk for violence.  Since the American diagnostic system relies primarily on criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, which overlaps but does not define the same population as that measured by the PCL-R, Dr. Hare plays an important role in the history of an evolving concept—one which has an impact on society's welfare.

PCL-R Checklist manual
PCL-R Checklist manual (courtesy Dr. Robert Hare)

He is professor emeritus at University of British Columbia in Canada, and sits on the Research Board of the FBI's Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC).  CASMIRC was established in 1998 by an act of Congress, and its ten-member advisory board initiates research and consults in the mysterious disappearances of children, child homicide, cases of kidnapping, and serial murder investigations.

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UBC logo
For many years, Dr. Hare also sat on the advisory panel for the Home Office in England, set up by Her Majesty's Prison Service to develop treatment programs for psychopathic offenders, and he still frequently consults with the English prison service as well as with other prison services and law enforcement organizations in North America and England. 

In addition, he belongs to the International Fellowship for Criminal Investigative Analysis, and has received several honors, such as FBI citations, the Silver Medal of the Queen Sophia Center in Spain, the Canadian Psychological Association's award for distinguished applications of psychology, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology's award for "Distinguished Contributions to Psychology and Law," And the American Psychiatric Association's Isaac Ray Award for "Outstanding Contributions to Forensic Psychiatry and Psychiatric Jurisprudence."

One of Hare's most ardent supporters is his wife, Averil, who works in the area of child abuse and child welfare.  Hare relies on her as a sounding board for his ideas, and insists that she often sees issues more clearly than he does.  They're a team.

Dr. Hare has published numerous articles and book chapters on psychopathy, as well as two books: Psychopathy: Theory and Research (1970) and Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us   (1993, reissued 1999).  He addresses international audiences on every facet of psychopathy, from personality assessment to risk factors to psychopaths among us.  While they may appear to be normal members of society, they're anything but.  In fact, Hare believes, they are society's most destructive and dangerous type of person.  If it's true that psychopaths make up one percent of the population, as he estimates, then we need to pay attention.

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