Developmental Psychopathology,

Psychopathy, and Personality Lab


Donald R. Lynam, Ph.D.

Purdue University

Department of Psychological Sciences

703 Third Street

West Lafayette, IN 47906


Email: dlynam@purdue.edu

The DPPP lab consists of Dr. Lynam, his current and former graduate students (although many of the latter have their own labs). Current students include Vera Du, Kaela, Van Til, and Melissa West. Former students include Dr. Stephen Whiteside at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Josh Miller at the University of Georgia, Dr. Kate Flory at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Gregory Parks at Wake Forest University, Dr. Karen Derefinko at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and Dr. David Vachon at McGill University.

Although much of Dr. Lynam's early work was more developmental in nature, aimed at identifying early risk factors (e.g., IQ, juvenile psychopathy, impulsivity) for future deviant outcomes (e.g., antisocial behavior, substance use, and risky sexual behavior), more recent work has focused on using the basic trait elements of the Five Factor Model to decompose more complex personality constructs (e.g., impulsivity, psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism). Conceptualizing these more complex personality constructs in terms of their basic elements has multiple advantages. First it provides a common language with which to compare these complex constructs, illuminating their both their points of convergence and divergence. This approach has been used to explain the patterns of comorbidity among DSM personality disorder categories, as well as the "core" of the so-called Dark Triad. Second, the approach helps to explain the heterogeneity found in these personality constructs--each construct includes multiple different personality elements. For example, psychopathy can be understand as a combination of high Antagonism, low Conscientiousness, and a mixture of high and low Extraversion and Neuroticism. Third, such decomposition allows for specific trait to behavior mappings which illustrate which aspects of the broad construct account for which associated behavior. Fourth, understanding and conceptualizing the broad constructs in terms of the more elemental traits allows a vast body of basic personality research on development, genetics, and process to be brought to bear on these more complex constructs to inform etiology, process, and intervention.

Throughout all of this research, Dr. Lynam and his colleagues have built assessment inventories based on their elemental understanding of these complex personality constructs. All are free to use and may be accessed at this website.