Chris Patrick

Distinguished Research Professor
Director of Clinical Training

Not recruiting a graduate student for Fall of 2024

Christopher Patrick

Contact Information



University of British Columbia, 1987

Research Interests

My interest is in understanding how mental disorders relate to neurobiological systems. Major questions include: 'What biological attributes confer risk for particular types of psychological problems?' and 'What can be done to prevent dispositional liabilities from developing into clinical disorders?" Disorders of interest include psychopathy, impulse control ("externalizing") disorders, and anxiety and mood ("internalizing") disorders. My lab group has worked to develop a Neuro-Behavioral Trait model for linking clinical problems to neural systems. Traits within this model include threat sensitivity, reward sensitivity, inhibitory control, and affiliative capacity. Methods used in my research include psychophysiology, neuroimaging, psychometrics, quantitative modeling, and behavioral genetics. I have served as President of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research (2011-12) and the Society for Scientific Study of Psychopathy (2007-09), and I was recipient of a Lifetime Scientific Career Contribution Award from the latter society in 2013.

Current Research

One continuing focus of my research is on psychopathic personality (psychopathy).  I formulated a conceptual-empirical model, the Triarchic model of psychopathy, which has generated widespread interest since it was introduced in 2009. A good deal of work on this model has used an assessment inventory I developed, the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (TriPM).  A new edition of my Handbook of Psychopathy is scheduled for publication in Spring 2018. I am also working on a research project addressing the question: ‘How psychopathic are serial murderers?’

Another major focus of work by my lab is on developing procedures for assessing psychopathology-related traits that incorporate neurophysiological and task-behavioral measures as well as report-based measures. We refer to these procedures as ‘cross-domain’ or ‘neuroclinical’ assessment protocols. The most fully-developed of these is a neuroclinical assessment protocol for inhibitory control capacity (inhibition-disinhibition) that combines scale, brain-response, and cognitive-task measures. We are also working on neuroclinical assessments for threat sensitivity, reward sensitivity, and affiliative capacity (empathic concern vs. callousness). A major advantage of assessments of this kind is that they relate well to both clinical outcome variables (e.g., externalizing disorder symptoms in the case of neuroclinical inhibitory control, fear disorder symptoms in the case of neuroclinical threat sensitivity) and also to neural-systems variables (e.g., criterion measures of brain response). As such, they provide uniquely valuable targets for research directed at clarifying how neural systems/processes relate to clinical disorders.

Lab Description

Neuroscientific, genetic, and psychometric- quantitative approaches to the study of: psychopathy, antisocial behavior, and violence/ aggression; dispositional fear, negative affectivity, and internalizing (anxiety, mood) disorders; alcohol/ drug effects, addictions. Affiliated interests: emotion, temperament, and personality; self-regulation and disinhibition; psychodiagnosis & assessment; psychoneurometrics (developing neurobiologically-based trait measures using psychological [psychometric] phenotypes as referents).

(*student first author)

*Bertoldi, B. M., Perkins, E. R., Tuvblad, C., Oskarsson, S., Kramer, M. D., Latzman, R. D., Baker, L. A., Raine, A., & Patrick, C. J. (in press). Pursuing the developmental aims of the triarchic model of psychopathy: Creation and validation of triarchic trait scales for use in the USC-RFAB longitudinal twin project. Development and Psychopathology.

Krueger, R.F., Hobbs, K.A., Conway, C.C., Dick, D.M., Dretsch, M.N., Eaton, N.R., …, Patrick, C.J., …, Kotov, R., & HiTOP Utility Workgroup. (in press). Validity and utility of Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP): II. Externalizing superspectrum. World Psychiatry

*Joyner, K. J., Daurio, A., Perkins, E. R., Patrick, C. J., & Latzman, R.  D. (2020). The difference between trait disinhibition and impulsivity — and why It matters for clinical psychological science. Psychological Assessment.Advance online publication.

Palumbo, I. M., Perkins, E. R., Yancey, J. R., Brislin, S. J, Patrick, C. J., & Latzman, R. D. (2020). Toward a multimodal measurement model for the neurobehavioral trait of affiliative capacity. Personality Neuroscience3, e11. doi: 10.1017/pen.2020.9

*Perkins, E. R., Joyner, K. J., Patrick, C. J., Bartholow, B. D., Latzman, R. D., DeYoung, C. G…& Zald, D. H. (2020). Characterizing ontogenetic pathways from liability to clinical illness: Neural systems and the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience22, 51-63.

Kramer, M. D., Patrick, C. J., Hettema, J. M., Moore, A. A., Sawyers, C. K., & Yancey, J. R. (2020). Quantifying dispositional fear as threat sensitivity: Development and initial validation of a model-based scale measure. Assessment27, 533-546.

Patrick, C. J., Iacono, W. G., & Venables, N. C. (2019). Incorporating neurophysiological measures into clinical assessments: Fundamental challenges and a strategy for addressing them. Psychological Assessment31, 1512-1529.

Patrick, C. J., Kramer, M. D., Vaidyanathan, U., Benning, S. D., Hicks, B. M., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2019). Formulation of a measurement model for the boldness construct of psychopathy. Psychological Assessment31, 643-659.

*Bowyer, C. B., Joyner, K. J., Yancey, J. R., Venables, N. C., Hajcak, G., & Patrick, C. J. (2019). Toward a neurobehavioral trait conceptualization of depression proneness. Psychophysiology56, e13367. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13367

*Yancey, J. R., Bowyer, C. B., Foell, J., Boot, W. R., & Patrick, C. J. (2019). Boldness moderates the effects of external threat on performance within a task switching paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance45, 758-770.

*Joyner, K. J., Bowyer, C. B., Yancey, J. R., Venables, N. C., Foell, J., Worthy, D. A., Hajcak, G., Bartholow, B. D., & Patrick, C. J. (2019). Blunted reward sensitivity and trait disinhibition interact to predict substance use problems. Clinical Psychological Science7, 1109-1124.

*Drislane, L. E., Sellbom, M., Brislin, S. J., Strickland, C. M., Christian, E., Wygant, D. B, Krueger, R. F., & Patrick, C. J. (2019). Improving characterization of psychopathy within the alternative model for personality disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5): Creation and validation of Personality Inventory for DSM-5 triarchic scales. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment10, 511-523.

*Brislin, S. J., & Patrick, C. J. (2019). Callousness and affective face processing: Clarifying the neural basis of behavioral-recognition deficits through use of brain ERPs. Clinical Psychological Science7, 1389-1402.

Ruggero, C. J., Kotov, R., Hopwood, C. J., First, M., Clark, L. A., Skodol, A. E., Mullins-Sweatt, S. N., Patrick, C. J.,…, & Zimmerman, J. (2019). Integrating the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) into clinical practice. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology87, 1069-1084.

*Strickland, C. M., Hopwood, C. J., Bornovalova, M. A., Rojas, E. C., Krueger, R. F., & Patrick, C. J. (2019). Categorical and dimensional conceptions of personality pathology in DSM-5: Toward a model-based synthesis. Journal of Personality Disorders33, 185-213.

*Venables, N. C., Foell, J., Yancey, J. R., Kane, M. J., Engle, R. W., & Patrick, C. J. (2018). Quantifying inhibitory control as externalizing proneness: A cross-domain model. Clinical Psychological Science6, 561-580.

Hickey, E., Walters, B. K., Drislane, L. E., Palumbo, I. M., & Patrick, C. J. (2018). Deviance at its darkest: Serial murder and psychopathy. In C. J. Patrick (Ed.), Handbook of psychopathy, 2nd ed. (pp. 570-584). New York: Guilford Press.

*Venables, N. C., Hicks, B. M., Yancey, J. R., Kramer, M. D., Nelson, L. D., Strickland, C. S., Krueger, R. F., Iacono, W. G., & Patrick, C. J. (2017). Evidence of a prominent genetic basis for relations between psychoneurometric traits and common mental disorders. International Journal of Psychophysiology115, 4-12.

Undergraduate Research

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