Developmental  Psychopathology,

Psychopathy, and Personality Lab

Donald R. Lynam, Ph.D.

Purdue University

Department of Psychological Sciences

703 Third Street

West Lafayette, IN 47906


The DPPP lab consists of me (AKA Dr. Lynam), my 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, Dr. David Vachon at McGill University, and Dr. Colin Vize at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Although much of my 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 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 more specific trait to behavior mappings which illustrate which aspects of the broad construct account for which associated behaviors. 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, my colleagues and I have built assessment inventories based on our elemental understanding of these complex personality constructs. All are free to use and may be accessed at this website.

Most recently, I have become very concerned about the state of the field--the replication crisis is real and affects all psychology sub-disciplines including my own (and yours). As a result, I have become a strong advocate for Open Science practices, including preregistration, and making data and code openly available. More and more, I have come to believe that if a study is not preregistered then its results should not be trusted.