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30 Behav. Sci. & L. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/bsclw30 and id is 1 raw text is: 



Behavioral Sciences and the Law
Behav. Sci. Law 30: 1 15 (2012)
Published online 18 January 2012 in Wiley Online Library
(wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/bsl. 1992


Do the Psychopathic Personality Traits of

Fearless Dominance and Self-Centered

Impulsivity Predict Attitudes about and

Influences on Research Participation?

Shannon Toney Smitht, John F. Edens*t, Monica Epsteint,
Paul G. Stilest and Norman G. Poythress, Jr.t


Little is known about potential participants' views about research, their willingness to
participate in research, and the extent to which they might be susceptible to coercive
attempts to compel their participation, particularly among populations at risk for
exploitation (e.g., offenders). The extent to which individual differences variables, such
as personality constructs (e.g., psychopathic traits), might affect participants' attitudes
toward research is also essentially unknown. The present study sought to examine the
psychopathy constructs of Fearless Dominance (FD) and Self-Centered Impulsivity
(SCI) via the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire-Brief Form (MPQ-BF) to
assess the extent to which these traits predict attitudes towards research and suscepti-
bility to coercion within a diverse criminal justice sample (N= 631). SCI was modestly
associated with perceptions that illicit pressures regarding research participation were
likely to occur, and participants high in these traits appeared somewhat vulnerable to
succumbing to coercive influences. In contrast, FD failed to predict the likelihood that
illicit pressures regarding research participation would occur as well as the potential
that these pressures would have to impact participants' voluntariness and likelihood
of participating. Implications for recruiting potential participants for research in
correctional settings are discussed. Copyright 0 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Researchers are required to seek and receive appropriate institutional approval prior to
initiating a study and to obtain informed consent from potential participants prior to
enrollment. Legally requisite components of informed consent include a comprehensi-
ble explanation of the proposed research (e.g., purpose, procedures, potential conse-
quences and benefits) as well as an unambiguous declaration regarding the voluntary
nature of participation (American Psychological Association, 2002; Stiles, Epstein,
Poythress, & Edens, 2011). The latter element, voluntariness, is the focus of the pres-
ent study and entails an autonomous decision to participate in research with the explicit
understanding that neither declining to participate in nor withdrawal from a study will
result in punitive consequences. Despite these attempts to uphold ethical imperatives
in scientific endeavors, little is known about potential participants' views about
research, their willingness to participate in research, and the extent to which they might


*Correspondence to: John F. Edens, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, TAMU 4235,
College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A. E-mail: johnedensgtamu.edu
tTexas A&M University, College Station, TX
*Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL


Copyright 0 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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