Tuesday, August 22nd 2017

Psychologist Robert Hare Immortalized on The Sopranos

The SopranosAre some actors a bit too convincingly psychopathic? Maybe they’ve studied with Robert Hare

Congratulations to Soul’s Code friend Robert Hare, whose work on psychopathy was highlighted in the penultimate episode of The Sopranos. It aired on Sunday, June 3,  and won the love of reviewers because its tightly-wound narrative resembled Act III of a Godfather movie.

The high point for us was not the shootout in the parking lot of the Bada Bing, witnessed by topless strippers. It was a dinner table conversation where Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist, Jennifer Melfi (the character standing in the top right of the image above), discusses studies into psychopathy with other psychs. Hare’s work is debated, and it becomes a catalyst for Melfi firing Tony as a patient in a later scene. The dramatic turn helps the series wind down in two ways: it exits a major character, and enables the audience to decathect from Tony by explicitly framing him as a clinical sociopath/psychopath.

At the dinner table, one of the doctors exclaims to Melfi: “Robert Hare suggested that sociopaths actually quite glibly engage on key issues like ‘mother,’ ‘family’ . . . .”

Hare’s book, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, delves into white-collar sociopaths as well as the criminal kind.

It’s not the first time that the University of British Columbia psychologist has crossed over into pop culture. He was a consultant to the movie Malice, and helped Nicole Kidman prepare for her starring role as an avaricious and ruthless adulteress.

Hare’s work also provided the theoretical framework for the book, Savage Messiah, which documents the rise and fall of a polygamist cult leader and murderer — and was turned into the 2002 movie of the same name.

Here is a summary of the 20 personality scales Hare uses to determine whether someone is a psychopath/sociopath:

1. Glibness/superficial charm
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
4. Pathological lying
5. Conning/manipulative
6. Lack of remorse or guilt
7. Shallow affect
8. Callous/lack of empathy
9. Parasitic lifestyle
10. Poor behavioral controls
11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
12. Early behavior problems
13. Lack of realistic, long-term plans
14. Impulsivity
15. Irresponsibility
16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17. Many short-term relationships
18. Juvenile delinquency
19. Revocation of conditional release
20. Criminal versatility

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One Comment on “Psychologist Robert Hare Immortalized on The Sopranos”

  1. okay i'm scoring 13-14 outta 20 here, do i need to be worried...

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