(Received 6 December 1991; accepted 10 February 1992)
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The author reviewed the literature concerning the effect of criminals' current psychopathology on their explanations about their crimes. He then studied 100 incarcerated men, examining the associations between their explanations and various historically documented aspects of psychopathy. Previously and independently documented patterns of pathological lying, lack of remorse or guilt, callousness or lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility for their own behavior were significantly associated with the offenders not admitting responsibility for their crimes. Further, independently described histories of pathological lying were associated with criminals' blaming their convictions on a faulty criminal-justice system, while histories of failure to accept responsibility for their behavior were associated with blaming someone else for their index crimes.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Missouri—Columbia Health Sciences Center, Columbia, MO
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