The current study is the first to investigate whether individual differences in personality are related to improved first impression accuracy when appraising psychopathy in female offenders from thin-slices of information. The study also investigated the types of errors laypeople make when forming these judgments. Sixty-seven undergraduates assessed 22 offenders on their level of psychopathy, violence, likability, and attractiveness. Psychopathy rating accuracy improved as rater extroversion-sociability and agreeableness increased and when neuroticism and lifestyle and antisocial characteristics decreased. These results suggest that traits associated with nonverbal rating accuracy or social functioning may be important in threat detection. Raters also made errors consistent with error management theory, suggesting that laypeople overappraise danger when rating psychopathy.

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Keywords Error management theory, First impressions, Personality differences, Psychopathy, Thin-slices
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Journal Evolutionary Psychology
Gillen, C.T.A. (Christopher T.A.), Bergstrom, H. (Henriette), & Forth, A. (2016). Individual differences and rating errors in first impressions of psychopathy. Evolutionary Psychology, 14(4), 1–7. doi:10.1177/1474704916674947