Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Cheating in Sport and Racial Differences in Psychopathic Personality

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Cheating in Sport and Racial Differences in Psychopathic Personality

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In this article we examine the theory presented in Lynn (2002) that there are racial differences in psychopathic personality, conceptualized as a continuously distributed trait, such that high values of the trait are present in sub-Saharan Africans (blacks in the United States) and Native Americans, intermediate values in Hispanics, lower values in whites and the lowest values in East Asians. The theory was supported by data showing that these racial differences are present in a number of expressions of psychopathic personality, including drug use, child abuse, marital infidelity and crime. In the present article we test this theory by presenting data for cheating in sports.

The central feature of psychopathic personality is a weak or absent moral sense. The condition was identified by Pritchard (1837) who termed it 'moral imbecility.' The term psychopathic personality was first proposed by Kraepelin (1915) to designate those who are deficient in moral sense but whose intellectual ability is not impaired. A classical study was presented by Cleckley (1941), which described the essential characteristics of psychopathic personality as general poverty of affect (emotion), defective insight, absence of nervousness, lack of remorse or shame, superficial charm, pathological lying, egocentricity, inability to love, failure to establish close or intimate relationships, irresponsibility, impulsive antisocial acts, failure to learn from experience, reckless behavior under the influence of alcohol, and a lack of long term goals. In 1984, the American Psychiatric Association dropped the term 'psychopathic personality' in favor of 'anti-social personality disorder' and in 1994, the American Psychiatric Association (1994) issued a revised Diagnostic Manual in which it listed 11 features of anti-social personality disorder. These are:

(1) Inability to sustain consistent work behavior.

(2) Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior.

(3) Irritability and aggressivity, as indicated by frequent physical fights and assaults.

(4) Repeated failure to honor financial obligations.

(5) Failure to plan ahead and impulsivity.

(6) No regard for truth, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or 'conning' others.

(7) Recklessness regarding one's own or others' personal safety, as indicated by driving while intoxicated or recurrent speeding.

(8) Inability to function as a responsible parent.

(9) Failure to sustain a monogamous relationship for more than one year.

(10) Lack of remorse.

(11) Presence of conduct disorder in childhood.

A prominent feature of psychopathic personality is cheating, which is used as one of the criteria adopted by Hare (2003) in his scale to assess psychopathic personality. Even those who do not specifically adopt it accept that rule-breaking is a measure of psychopathic personality and this clearly crosses over with cheating, when the rules are broken for some kind of gain. We must emphasize that psychopathic personality is a continuously variable trait that manifests itself in various degrees in "normal" individuals of all races. Only those at the extreme end of the distribution are diagnosed as having antisocial personality disorder. In the present article we examine racial differences in cheating in sport as a test of the theory that there are racial differences in psychopathic personality.

2. Method

We examine the incidence of cheating by blacks and whites in high level American football (NFL), basketball (NBA), and in English Premier League football (soccer). We consider data on two kinds of cheating, namely the use of performance enhancing drugs and breaking the rules of the game. These three sports are examined because they are racially diverse and a great deal of information is available about them online. We conducted a visual and biographical analysis of each of the sportsmen in the games to identify their race. …

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