About this topic

Serious empirical work on psychopathy and moral psychology started with the investigation on how individuals with psychopathy solve the moral/conventional task (M/C). First studies seemed to show that psychopaths do not differentiate between the two types of norms as the nonpsychopathic individuals. This result was taken to lend support to neosentimentalist views on moral judgment and has been taken to have important implications for debates on different kinds of internalism/externalism views in metaethics, accounts of moral understanding and ascriptions of responsibility. Later research and philosophical reflection on empirical data gave a more nuanced picture of psychopaths’ neuropsychological abnormalities and what implications those might have on moral psychology more generally. In particular, it has been noted that psychopaths exhibit cognitive deficits in decision-making processes and that different affective and cognitive abnormalities appear and disappear as a function of the context of the research paradigm. Moreover, in recent years pressure has been put on the initial discovery that psychopaths fail to solve the M/C. Thus it seems that psychopaths might possess normal moral understanding, albeit acquired by utilization of different neurocognitive resources. Further inquiries include questions whether psychopathic abnormal moral psychology might be an evolutionary adaptation to an antisocial life history.  

Key works

Seminal empirical papers on psychopaths’ performance on M/C are Blair 1995 and Blair 1997 . Shoemaker 2011 provides a conceptual analysis of M/C and what it implies for the moral understanding of psychopaths. Aharoni et al 2012 provide evidence against  poorer performance of psychopaths on M/C. Nichols 2004 and Prinz 2006 argue that psychopathy lends support to neosentimentalist account of moral judgment. In defense of rationalist accounts of moral judgments, Maibom 2005 and Kennett 2006 argue that psychopaths also suffer from rational deficits. Sinnott-Armstrong 2014 critically reviews what implications psychopathy has on internalism/externalism debate. Glenn et al 2009 provide an empirically based argument according to which psychopaths’ responses are abnormal in some domains of morality but not in others. Glenn et al 2011 review evolutionary approaches to psychopathy.


Maibom 2013 is an encyclopedia article from a philosopher’s point of view. Patrick 2006 still provides a thorough and comprehensive view on different facets of psychopathy. Accessible overviews of psychopaths’ neuropsychology include affect-based and attention-based accounts. For the former see Blair et al 2005 ; for the latter see Koenigs & Newman 2013.

Related categories

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  1. added 2019-01-23
    Beyond Physical Harm: How Preference for Consequentialism and Primary Psychopathy Relate to Decisions on a Monetary Trolley Dilemma.Dries H. Bostyn, Sybren Sevenhant & Arne Roets - forthcoming - Thinking and Reasoning:1-15.
  2. added 2019-01-23
    Psychopathy, Autism, and Basic Moral Emotions: Evidence for Sentimentalist Constructivism.Erick Ramirez - forthcoming - In Serife Tekin & Robyn Bluhm (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry. Bloomsbury.
    Philosophers and psychologists often claim that moral agency is connected with the ability to feel, understand, and deploy moral emotions. In this chapter, I investigate the nature of these emotions and their connection with moral agency. First, I examine the degree to which these emotional capacities are innate and/or ‘basic’ in a philosophically important sense. I examine three senses in which an emotion might be basic: developmental, compositional, and phylogenetic. After considering the evidence for basic emotion, I conclude that emotions (...)
  3. added 2019-01-23
    Moral Rationalism and Psychopathy: Affective Responses to Reason.Allen Coates - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (7):855-877.
    Evidence suggests that psychopaths’ notoriously immoral behavior is due to affective rather than rational deficits. This evidence could be taken to show that, contrary to moral rationalism, moral norms are not norms of reason. Rationalists could reply either that psychopaths’ behavior is in fact primarily due to rational deficits or that affects are involved in responding to rational norms. Drawing on the work of Antonio Damasio and colleagues, I argue the latter is the better defense of moral rationalism.
  4. added 2019-01-04
    Efekti crta ličnosti tamne trijade i emocionalne empatije na moralnu prosudbu.Ana Rožić, Domagoj Švegar & Igor Kardum - 2018 - Psychological Topics 27 (3):561-583.
    Klasične moralne dileme žrtvovanja, u kojima je potrebno žrtvovati život jedne osobe kako bi spasili nekoliko drugih života, često su definirane konfliktom između racionalnog odgovora maksimizacije ukupne dobrobiti (utilitaristička moralna prosudba) i emocionalne averzije na povredu (deontološka moralna prosudba). Novija su istraživanja moralnog prosuđivanja pokazala da su socijalno averzivni stilovi ličnosti povezani sa sklonosti utilitarističkom odgovaranju na moralne dileme. Cilj je ovoga istraživanja bio ispitati povezanosti crta ličnosti tamne trijade i odgovora na moralne dileme, kao i medijacijski efekt emocionalne empatije (...)
  5. added 2018-11-16
    Psychopathy, Identification and Mental Time Travel.Luca Malatesti & Filip Čeč - 2018 - Free Will and Action.
    Recently some have argued that psychopaths might suffer generalised cognitive impairments that affect their capacity for mental time travel. In relation to the past, mental time travel is the capacity to have memories of past episodes in which the agent was personally involved. In relation to the future, mental time travel involves prospection, the capacity to imagine future situations where the agent might be involved. The authors argue that certain studies on the instrumental learning of psychopaths show that, in relation (...)
  6. added 2018-11-07
    Psychopathy: Philosophical and Empirical Challenges.Marko Jurjako, Luca Malatesti & John McMillan - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):5-14.
  7. added 2018-11-07
    Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?Anneli Jefferson & Katrina Sifferd - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):79-96.
    The question of whether psychopaths are criminally and morally responsible has generated significant controversy in the literature. In this paper, we discuss what relevance a psychopathy diagnosis has for criminal responsibility. It has been argued that figuring out whether psychopathy is a mental illness is of fundamental importance, because it is a precondition for psychopaths’ eligibility to be excused via the legal insanity defense. But even if psychopathy counts as a mental illness, this alone is not sufficient to show the (...)
  8. added 2018-11-07
    What Can Philosophers Learn From Psychopathy?Heidi L. Maibom - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):63-78.
    Many spectacular claims about psychopaths are circulated. This contribution aims at providing the reader with the more complex reality of the phenomenon (or phenomena), and to point to issues of particular interest to philosophers working in moral psychology and moral theory. I first discuss the current evidence regarding psychopaths’ deficient empathy and decision-making skills. I then explore what difference it makes to our thinking whether we regard their deficit dimensionally (as involving abilities that are on or off) and whether we (...)
  9. added 2018-11-07
    Shame, Embarrassment, and the Subjectivity Requirement.Erick J. Ramirez - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):97-114.
    Reactive theories of responsibility see moral accountability as grounded on the capacity for feeling reactive-attitudes. I respond to a recent argument gaining ground in this tradition that excludes psychopaths from accountability. The argument relies on what Paul Russell has called the 'subjectivity requirement'. On this view, the capacity to feel and direct reactive-attitudes at oneself is a necessary condition for responsibility. I argue that even if moral attitudes like guilt are impossible for psychopaths to deploy, that psychopaths, especially the "successful" (...)
  10. added 2018-11-07
    False-Positives in Psychopathy Assessment: Proposing Theory-Driven Exclusion Criteria in Research Sampling.Rasmus Rosenberg Larsen - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):33-52.
    Recent debates in psychopathy studies have articulated concerns about false-positives in assessment and research sampling. These are pressing concerns for research progress, since scientific quality depends on sample quality, that is, if we wish to study psychopathy we must be certain that the individuals we study are, in fact, psychopaths. Thus, if conventional assessment tools yield substantial false-positives, this would explain why central research is laden with discrepancies and nonreplicable findings. This paper draws on moral psychology in order to develop (...)
  11. added 2018-09-21
    Neuropsychology and the Criminal Responsibility of Psychopaths: Reconsidering the Evidence.Marko Jurjako & Luca Malatesti - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):1003-1025.
    Recently it has been argued that certain neuropsychological findings on the decision-making, instrumental learning, and moral understanding in psychopathic offenders offer reasons to consider them not criminally responsible, due to certain epistemic and volitional impairments. We reply to this family of arguments, that collectively we call the irresponsibility of the psychopath argument. This type of argument has a premise that describes or prescribes the deficiencies that grant or should grant partial or complete criminal exculpation. The other premise contends that neuropsychological (...)
  12. added 2018-08-27
    Emotion-Based Learning Systems and the Development of Morality.R. J. R. Blair - 2017 - Cognition 167:38-45.
    In this paper it is proposed that important components of moral development and moral judgment rely on two forms of emotional learning: stimulus-reinforcement and response-outcome learning. Data in support of this position will be primarily drawn from work with individuals with the developmental condition of psychopathy as well as fMRI studies with healthy individuals. Individuals with psychopathy show impairment on moral judgment tasks and a pronounced increased risk for instrumental antisocial behavior. It will be argued that these impairments are developmental (...)
  13. added 2018-07-29
    Psychopathy, Agency, and Practical Reason.Monique Wonderly - forthcoming - In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason. New York, USA: Routledge.
    Philosophers have urged that considerations about the psychopath’s capacity for practical rationality can help to advance metaethical debates. These debates include the role of rational faculties in moral judgment and action, the relationship between moral judgment and moral motivation, and the capacities required for morally responsible agency. I discuss how the psychopath’s capacity for practical reason features in these debates, and I identify several takeaway lessons from the relevant literature. Specifically, I show how the insights contained therein can illuminate the (...)
  14. added 2018-07-20
    A Dual-Process Account of Moral Judgment: What Psychopaths Can Teach Us About Morality.Deirdre Kelly - 2016 - Dissertation, Carleton University
    Researchers who argue that moral judgment is based on emotions (`emotion-backers') and those who believe that it is based on reasoning and deliberation (`reasoning-backers') have both struggled to account for the notorious moral deviance of incarcerated psychopaths. Emotion-backers, such as Jonathan Haidt, focus on psychopaths' lack of a affect,or defciencies in particular emotions, such as sympathy. Reasoning-backers, such as Lawrence Kohlberg, focus instead on psychopaths' de cient reasoning. Both accounts offer separate descriptions of what goes wrong in the disorder, but (...)
  15. added 2018-07-16
    Electrophysiological Correlates of Empathic Processing in Individuals with Psychopathic Meanness Traits.J. D. M. Van Dongen, Inti A. Brazil, F. M. van der Veen & I. H. A. Franken - forthcoming - Neuropsychology.
  16. added 2018-07-11
    High Levels of Psychopathic Traits Alters Moral Choice but Not Moral Judgment.Sébastien Tassy, Christine Deruelle, Julien Mancini, Samuel Leistedt & Bruno Wicker - 2013 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
    Psychopathy is a personality disorder frequently associated with immoral behaviors. Previous behavioral studies on the influence of psychopathy on moral decision have yielded contradictory results, possibly because they focused either on judgment (abstract evaluation) or on choice of hypothetical action, two processes that may rely on different mechanisms. In this study, we explored the influence of the level of psychopathic traits on judgment and choice of hypothetical action during moral dilemma evaluation. A population of 102 students completed a questionnaire with (...)
  17. added 2018-07-11
    Sentiment or Reason?: Can Research on Offenders Tell Us?Simon Wilson - 2011 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 18 (4):365-366.
    Tankersley has provided an interesting collection of data about various groups of antisocial individuals. Is this a paper about the moral reasoning of psychopaths, or is it an attempt to address a philosophical question—whether moral behavior is primarily driven by emotions (moral sentimentalism) or by reasons (moral rationalism)—empirically? I think it attempts a little of both, although I concentrate on the latter. -/- The trouble with much of the literature on psychopathy is the terminological confusion, and Tankersley has not escaped (...)
  18. added 2018-07-11
    Emotion, Decision Making, and the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex.Daniel Tranel - 2002 - In Donald T. Stuss & Robert T. Knight (eds.), Principles of Frontal Lobe Function. Oxford University Press.
  19. added 2018-07-11
    Explaining Evil Behavior: Using Kant and M. Scott Peck to Solve the Puzzle of Understanding the Moral Psychology of Evil People.David E. Ward - 2002 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (1):1-12.
    I assume that we find it hard to understand, for example, how a person could harm another person in cold blood. I then set out Kant's reason's for thinking that, strictly speaking, evil behavior is impossible: people may act on wicked desires but deliberate wrong-doing is not a genuine phenomenon. However, Kant's view is at odds with our common sense intuitions about morally evil behavior, namely, that such behavior is possible, albeit difficult to understand. I then suggest how Kant's analysis (...)
  20. added 2018-07-11
    Moral Principles Don't Signify.Paul E. Mullen - 2002 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (1):19-21.
    DAVID WARD, in his interesting essay, advances a number of propositions: -/- That moral (including evil) behavior must be governed by a principle. That the principles involved in evil actions are unconscious. That these unconscious evil principles may be the product of malignant narcissism. And somewhat tentatively, that evil is driven "independent of any conscious desires" and by implication the evil person may be stripped of moral responsibility for their behavior. -/- To begin with common ground: Those who act in (...)
  21. added 2018-07-11
    Emotions and Sociopathy.Robert Plutchik - 1995 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (3):570-571.
    Questions are raised about several issues discussed by Mealey: (1) the nature of the distinction between primary and secondary sociopaths, (2) some difficulties with a general arousal theory of criminality, and (3) the possible role of countervailing forces in the development of sociopathy. An important area that calls for attention is the patterning of different specific emotions in the lives of sociopaths as compared to other groups.
  22. added 2018-06-05
    Responsibility and Psychopathy: Interfacing Law, Psychiatry and Philosophy.Luca Malatesti & John McMillan (eds.) - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    The discussion of whether psychopaths are morally responsible for their behaviour has long taken place in philosophy. In recent years this has moved into scientific and psychiatric investigation. Responsibility and Psychopathy discusses this subject from both the philosophical and scientific disciplines, as well as a legal perspective.
  23. added 2018-03-23
    Luca Malatesti and John McMillan (eds.), Responsibility and Psychopathy: Interfacing Law, Psychiatry, and Philosophy. [REVIEW]Marko Jurjako - 2011 - Prolegomena 10 (1):147-154.
  24. added 2018-02-21
    The Kindness of Psychopaths.Zdenka Brzović, Marko Jurjako & Predrag Sustar - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (2):189-211.
    Psychopathy attracts considerable interdisciplinary interest. The idea of a group of people with abnormal morality and interpersonal relations raises important philosophical, legal, and clinical issues. However, before engaging these issues, we ought to examine whether this category is scientifically grounded. We frame the issue in terms of the question whether ‘psychopathy’ designates a natural kind according to the cluster approaches. We argue that currently there is no sufficient evidence for an affirmative answer to this question. Furthermore, we examine three ways (...)
  25. added 2018-02-08
    Deux mesures de psychopathie chez les patients médicolégaux.Denis Delannoy, Xavier Saloppé, Luca A. Tiberi, Christelle Delescluse & Thierry H. Pham - 2017 - Annales Médico-Psychologiques, Revue Psychiatrique 175 (3):297-299.
    In the forensic field, psychopathy is a disorder that raises many questions. Indeed, the diagnostic evaluation by the PCL-R offers no opportunity to assess the variability of the disorder on the entire life. However, the dimensional scales used to assess this fluctuation, at least in the medium term. This study helps to validate the CAPP-IRS using the PCL-R with forensic patients.
  26. added 2018-01-24
    Comparing the Response Modulation Hypothesis and the Integrated Emotions System Theory: The Role of Top-Down Attention in Psychopathy.Jaap Munneke, Sylco S. Hoppenbrouwers, Bethany Little, Karen Kooiman, Erik Van der Burg & Jan Theeuwes - 2018 - Personality and Individual Differences 122:134-139.
    Objective: Two major etiological theories on psychopathy propose different mechanisms as to how emotional facial expressions are processed by individuals with elevated psychopathic traits. The Response Modulation Hypothesis (RMH) proposes that psychopathic individuals show emotional deficits as a consequence of attentional deployment, suggesting that emotional deficits are situation-specific. The Integrated Emotions System theory (IES) suggests that psychopathic individuals have a fundamental amygdala dysfunction which precludes adequate responsiveness to the distress of others. Methods: Participants performed a visual search task in which (...)
  27. added 2018-01-24
    Take the Money and Run: Psychopathic Behavior in the Trust Game.Manuel I. Ibáñez, Gerardo Sabater-Grande, Iván Barreda-Tarrazona, Laura Mezquita, Sandra López-Ovejero, Helena Villa, Pandelis Perakakis, Generós Ortet, Aurora García-Gallego & Nikolaos Georgantzís - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
  28. added 2018-01-23
    La psychopathie et son évaluation.Denis Delannoy, Xavier Saloppé, Vicenzutto Audrey, Vanessa Majois, Claire Ducro & T. H. Pham - forthcoming - EMC - Psychiatrie.
    L’évaluation de la psychopathie reste incontournable tant dans le domaine de l’expertise, de l’orientation, du traitement, que de l’évaluation et la gestion du risque. Le profil psychopathique et le niveau de risque de récidive associé constituent des indicateurs pertinents pour les professionnels de terrain. Cet article se propose de compléter le premier datant de 2011 en apportant des connaissances supplémentaires relatives aux modèles d’évaluation de la psychopathie ainsi qu’un éclairage optimiste sur l’efficacité des traitements auprès d’adultes délinquants. Il décrit, d’une (...)
  29. added 2017-12-04
    A Drifting Concept for an Unruly Menace: A History of Psychopathy in Germany.Greg Eghigian - 2015 - Isis 106 (2):283-309.
    The term “psychopath” has enjoyed wide currency both in popular culture and among specialists in forensic psychiatry. Historians, however, have generally neglected the subject. This essay examines the history of psychopathy in the country that first coined the term, developed the concept, and debated its treatment: Germany. While the notion can be traced to nineteenth-century psychiatric ideas about abnormal, yet not completely pathological, character traits, the figure of the psychopath emerged out of distinctly twentieth-century preoccupations and institutions. The vagueness and (...)
  30. added 2017-12-04
    Psychopaths: Should They Be Punished for Their Unlucky Brains?Yaniuska Lescaille & Pamela S. Saha - 2013 - Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine 4 (2):121-129.
    New discoveries in neuroscience challenge our understanding of human responsibility and justice. Recent studies suggest that psychopaths not only exhibit specific behavioral patterns but may also have a distinct neuroanatomical blueprint. Scientists have shown that a significant number of individuals who have demonstrated psychopathic behaviors have reduced volume and other anatomical changes in various regions of the cerebral cortex as well as decreased functional connectivity between different brain areas (i.e., smaller dysfunctional amygdalae). These findings raise ethical questions about how our (...)
  31. added 2017-10-23
    Psychopathic Traits Are Associated with Reduced Attention to the Eyes of Emotional Faces Among Adult Male Non-Offenders.Steven M. Gillespie, Pia Rotshtein, Laura J. Wells, Anthony R. Beech & Ian J. Mitchell - 2015 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
  32. added 2017-10-23
    Neural Correlates of Moral and Non-Moral Emotion in Female Psychopathy.Carla L. Harenski, Bethany G. Edwards, Keith A. Harenski & Kent A. Kiehl - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
    This study presents the first neuroimaging investigation of female psychopathy in an incarcerated population. Prior studies have found that male psychopathy is associated with reduced limbic and paralimbic activation when processing emotional stimuli and making moral judgments. The goal of this study was to investigate whether these findings extend to female psychopathy. During fMRI scanning, 157 incarcerated and 46 non-incarcerated female participants viewed unpleasant pictures, half which depicted moral transgressions, and neutral pictures. Participants rated each picture on moral transgression severity. (...)
  33. added 2017-09-11
    Psychopaths Show Enhanced Amygdala Activation During Fear Conditioning.Douglas H. Schultz, Nicholas L. Balderston, Arielle R. Baskin-Sommers, Christine L. Larson & Fred J. Helmstetter - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into “primary” and “secondary” psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional “fearlessness,” while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental deficit in amygdala function, and previous studies have provided support for a low-fear model of psychopathy. (...)
  34. added 2017-07-29
    Psychopathy: Morally Incapacitated Persons.Heidi Maibom - 2017 - In Thomas Schramme & Steven Edwards (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1109-1129.
    After describing the disorder of psychopathy, I examine the theories and the evidence concerning the psychopaths’ deficient moral capacities. I first examine whether or not psychopaths can pass tests of moral knowledge. Most of the evidence suggests that they can. If there is a lack of moral understanding, then it has to be due to an incapacity that affects not their declarative knowledge of moral norms, but their deeper understanding of them. I then examine two suggestions: it is their deficient (...)
  35. added 2017-07-26
    A Comprehensive Neuroimaging Review of PCL-R Defined Psychopathy.Stephanie Y. Griffiths & Jarkko V. Jalava - 2017 - Aggression and Violent Behavior:DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2017.07.002.
    Neurobiological theories of psychopathy typically include abnormalities in paralimbic circuits, and a neurobiological profile of paralimbic dysfunction in increasingly invoked in applied legal settings. The current study systematically evaluated whether sMRI and fMRI findings in PCL-R defined psychopaths suggest paralimbic dysfunction. Our review indicates diffuse and variable neural correlates of psychopathy, with numerous issues complicating the interpretation of these heterogeneous data. Our review also extends previous discussions concerning how this heterogeneity may be related to sample characteristics, methodological variations, and statistical (...)
  36. added 2017-07-26
    A New Legal Treatment for Psychopaths? Perplexities for Legal Thinkers.Maria Isabel Gonzalez-Tapia, Ingrid Obsuth & Rachel Heeds - 2017 - International Journal of Law and Psychiatry:DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2017.04.004.
    Public perception, fueled not only by popular and news media but also by expert claims that psychopaths are archetypes of evil: incorrigible, remorseless, cold-blooded criminals, whose crimes manifest in the most extreme levels of violence. But is there empirical evidence that psychopaths truly are what they are portrayed to be? If so, should the law respond, and adjust its treatment of psychopaths in court — permitting psychopathy to be admitted under an insanity defense and/or resulting in mitigation? In this paper, (...)
  37. added 2017-07-17
    Associations Between Psychopathic Traits and Brain Activity During Instructed False Responding.Andrea L. Glenn, Hyemin Han, Yaling Yang, Adrian Raine & Robert A. Schug - 2017 - Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 266:123-137.
    Lying is one of the characteristic features of psychopathy, and has been recognized in clinical and diagnostic descriptions of the disorder, yet individuals with psychopathic traits have been found to have reduced neural activity in many of the brain regions that are important for lying. In this study, we examine brain activity in sixteen individuals with varying degrees of psychopathic traits during a task in which they are instructed to falsify information or tell the truth about autobiographical and non-autobiographical facts, (...)
  38. added 2017-06-28
    The Neural Signatures of Distinct Psychopathic Traits.Justin M. Carré, Luke W. Hyde, Craig S. Neumann, Essi Viding & Ahmad R. Hariri - 2013 - Social Neuroscience 8 (2):122-135.
    Recent studies suggest that psychopathy may be associated with dysfunction in the neural circuitry supporting both threat- and reward-related processes. However, these studies have involved small samples and often focused on extreme groups. Thus, it is unclear to what extent current findings may generalize to psychopathic traits in the general population. Furthermore, no studies have systematically and simultaneously assessed associations between distinct psychopathy facets and both threat- and reward-related brain function in the same sample of participants. Here, we examined the (...)
  39. added 2017-04-01
    Interpersonal and Affective Psychopathy Traits Can Enhance Human Fitness.Janko Međedović, Boban Petrović, Jelena Želeskov-Đoric & Maja Savić - forthcoming - Evolutionary Psychological Science.
    Recently, attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary status of psychopathy. However, there is still a gap in empirical literature regarding the connection between psychopathy and fitness. In the present study, we explored the relations between the four-factor model of psychopathy and reproductive success as a fitness indicator in a sample of male convicts (N = 181). Direct relations were analyzed, together with the interaction effects between psychopathy and family risk factors (presence of criminality, substance abuse, and maltreatment in (...)
  40. added 2017-04-01
    Philosophers On Psychopaths: A Cautionary Tale in Interdisciplinarity.Jarkko Jalava & Stephanie Griffiths - 2017 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 24 (1):1-12.
    Philosophers typically rely on empirical data when they comment on psychopaths’ moral responsibility. Many argue that psychopaths, as per the data, suffer from significant impairments in the precursors of moral reasoning and behavior, and therefore they should not be held morally responsible for their actions. However, careful analysis of these studies shows that this view is mistaken. We discuss how several philosophers— perhaps following the lead of social scientists—have systematically misinterpreted or simplified psychological data to support their conclusions about psychopaths’ (...)
  41. added 2017-03-16
    The Error-Related Negativity as a Marker of Individual Differences in Cognitive Empathy.Amiruddin Azhani, Fox Allison, Clunies-Ross Karen, Connaughton Veronica & Bothma Vicole - 2015 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
  42. added 2017-03-16
    The Mismeasure of Morals: Antisocial Personality Traits Predict Utilitarian Responses to Moral Dilemmas.Daniel M. Bartels & David A. Pizarro - 2011 - Cognition 121 (1):154-161.
  43. added 2017-03-16
    Cognitive Biases in Moral Judgments That Affect Political Behavior.Jonathan Baron - 2010 - Synthese 172 (1):7 - 35.
    Cognitive biases that affect decision making may affect the decisions of citizens that influence public policy. To the extent that decisions follow principles other than maximizing utility for all, it is less likely that utility will be maximized, and the citizens will ultimately suffer the results. Here I outline some basic arguments concerning decisions by citizens, using voting as an example. I describe two types of values that may lead to sub-optimal consequences when these values influence political behavior: moralistic values (...)
  44. added 2017-02-16
    Investigating the Multivariate Relationship Between Impulsivity and Psychopathy Using Canonical Correlation Analysis.Siobhán Fox & Sean Hammon - 2017 - Personality and Individual Differences 111:187–192.
    Background -/- Impulsivity is generally considered a core feature of psychopathy, however one problem with understanding the association between these constructs is that both are multifaceted. Existing research often treats one or both of these constructs as unidimensional with important information regarding the complex nature of the relationship being lost. To clarify this issue the present study employs a canonical correlation analysis (CCA) which allows for the comparison of two multifaceted measurement scales simultaneously. -/- Methods -/- Respondents (n = 970) (...)
  45. added 2017-01-09
    Distinct Neuronal Patterns of Positive and Negative Moral Processing in Psychopathy.Samantha J. Fede, Jana Schaich Borg, Prashanth K. Nyalakanti, Carla L. Hare, Lora M. Cope, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Mike Koenigs, Vince D. Calhoun & Kent A. Kiehl - 2016 - Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 16 (6):1074–1085.
    Psychopathy is a disorder characterized by severe and frequent moral violations in multiple domains of life. Numerous studies have shown psychopathy-related limbic brain abnormalities during moral processing; however, these studies only examined negatively valenced moral stimuli. Here, we aimed to replicate prior psychopathy research on negative moral judgments and to extend this work by examining psychopathy-related abnormalities in the processing of controversial moral stimuli and positive moral processing. Incarcerated adult males (N = 245) completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging protocol (...)
  46. added 2017-01-09
    The Linguistic Output of Psychopathic Offenders During a PCL-R Interview.Marina T. Le, Michael Woodworth, Lisa Gillman, Erin Hutton & Robert D. Hare - 2016 - Criminal Justice and Behavior:1-15.
    We used text analysis software to examine the linguistic features of the speech of 21 psychopathic and 45 other offenders during the interview part of a Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL-R) assessment. Regression analysis was run on the linguistic categories to determine which were the best predictors of psychopathy scores. Relative to the other offenders, psychopaths used more disfluencies (“you know”) and personal pronouns, made fewer references to other people (e.g., personal names, family), and were also less emotionally expressive. In particular, a (...)
  47. added 2017-01-08
    Impulsive-Antisocial Dimension of Psychopathy Linked to Enlargement and Abnormal Functional Connectivity of the Striatum.Cole Korponay, Maia Pujara, Philip Deming, Clarissa Philippi, Jean Decety, David S. Kosson, Kent A. Kiehl & Michael Koenigs - 2016 - Biological Psychiatry.
    Background -/- Psychopathy is a mental health disorder characterized by callous and impulsive antisocial behavior, and it is associated with a high incidence of violent crime, substance abuse, and recidivism. Recent studies suggest that the striatum may be a key component of the neurobiological basis for the disorder, although structural findings have been mixed, and functional connectivity of the striatum in psychopathy has yet to be fully examined. Methods -/- We performed a multimodal neuroimaging study of striatum volume and functional (...)
  48. added 2017-01-08
    Psychopathic Individuals Exhibit but Do Not Avoid Regret During Counterfactual Decision Making.Arielle Baskin-Sommersa, Allison M. Stuppy-Sullivana Allison & Joshua W. Buckholtz - 2016 - Proceedins of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (50):14438-14443.
    Psychopathy is associated with persistent antisocial behavior and a striking lack of regret for the consequences of that behavior. Although explanatory models for psychopathy have largely focused on deficits in affective responsiveness, recent work indicates that aberrant value-based decision making may also play a role. On that basis, some have suggested that psychopathic individuals may be unable to effectively use prospective simulations to update action value estimates during cost–benefit decision making. However, the specific mechanisms linking valuation, affective deficits, and maladaptive (...)
  49. added 2017-01-08
    Smith and Lilienfeld’s Meta-Analysis of the Response Modulation Hypothesis: Important Theoretical and Quantitative Clarifications.Joseph P. Newman & Arielle R. Baskin-Sommers - 2016 - Psychological Bulletin 142 (12):1384-1393.
    In the first meta-analytic review of the response modulation hypothesis (RMH), an attention-based model for understanding the etiology of psychopathy, Smith and Lilienfeld (2015) report that the average effect size for response modulation deficits in psychopathic individuals fell in the small to medium range (r = .20; p. < .001, d = .41). Moreover, support for the RMH extended to both psychopathy dimensions, across diverse assessments and settings, and spanned child, adult, female, and male samples. The analysis also revealed good (...)
  50. added 2017-01-08
    Reversal Learning Deficits in Criminal Offenders: Effects of Psychopathy, Substance Use, and Childhood Maltreatment History.Dargis Monika, C. Wolf Richard & Koenigs Michael - 2016 - Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.
    Deficits in reinforcement learning are presumed to underlie the impulsive and incorrigible behavior exhibited by psychopathic criminals. However, previous studies documenting reversal learning impairments in psychopathic individuals have not investigated this relationship across a continuous range of psychopathy severity, nor have they examined how reversal learning impairments relate to different psychopathic traits, such as the interpersonal-affective and lifestyle-antisocial dimensions. Furthermore, previous studies have not considered the role that childhood maltreatment and substance use may have in this specific cognitive deficit. Using (...)
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