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The Nature of Personality Disorder: Understanding Narcissistic, Borderline, and Psychopathic Personality Disorders*

Science Pub Guest Speaker: Mark F. Lenzenweger, PhD

Personality disorder is a term used to represent a well-defined collection of signs and symptoms that characterize a particular group of psychologically impaired conditions. These conditions affect 1 in 10 Americans and cause a great deal of disturbance in social and family life, functioning on the job, and psychological well-being for the affected person and those around them. Many people have heard terms such as “narcissistic personality disorder,” “borderline personality disorder,” and "psychopathy." These terms, though tossed about in the media and common discourse, have technical definitions and are the objects of intensive scientific study and active clinical/treatment interventions. Professor Lenzenweger will discuss what is known about these conditions, what remains to be learned, and what distortions accompany the use of these terms in society today.


Mark F. Lenzenweger, PhD, is distinguished professor of psychology at SUNY Binghamton, and professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and Massachusetts. His previous professorial posts were at Harvard and Cornell, where he was a tenured professor. The author of nearly 200 research publications, Dr. Lenzenweger has written an acclaimed monograph on schizophrenia and is the editor of six scholarly volumes, one of which is the field standard for theories of personality disorder. He is currently continuing his landmark research project known as Longitudinal Study of Personality and Personality Disorders and is also developing new methods for the detection and quantification of insider risk indicators.

*Owing to professional ethics and legal constraints, Dr. Lenzenweger will not comment on mental health related issues connected to past or current public figures, including political figures, nor can he comment on mental health matters related to the diagnosis or treatment of individuals or the family members of such individuals that might contact  or view this program.

This Science Pub was held on October 13, 2021.