About this topic

Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behaviour, lack of remorse and empathy, and a constellation of symptoms that are suggestive of decision-making impairments. This condition raises several philosophical issues. Besides scientists, philosophers, working within philosophy of psychiatry, investigate the scientific validity and mental illness status of psychopathy. In moral psychology, it is debated whether psychopaths offer a counter-example to motivational internalism and if their case can be used to support sentimentalism about moral judgment and motivation as opposed to rationalism. There are philosophical debates concerning the moral responsibility and the legal responsibility of psychopathic offenders. In applied ethics, there is a discussion on the possibility and legitimacy of forms of biological moral enhancement of psychopaths.

Key works

A fundamental text for the contemporary conceptualisation of psychopathy is Hare 2003. Scepticism about the category of psychopathy is advanced in Mullen 2007. An empirically informed philosophical discussion of the mental illness status of psychopathy is in Nadelhoffer & Sinnott-Armstrong 2013. Levy 2014 offers a recent and influential argument for the conclusion that psychopaths are not morally responsible, Greenspan 2003 argues for the opposite conclusion. For the conclusion that psychopaths are not legally responsible, see Morse 2008, see Maibom 2008 for the opposite conclusion. Within metaethics, Nichols 2002 argues that the psychopathic disorder offers evidence for a sentimentalist interpretation of moral judgment. Maibom 2005, instead, maintain that psychopaths suffer from morally relevant rational deficits. For a discussion of motivational internalism in relation to psychopathy, see Sinnott-Armstrong 2014. Two opposing views on the possibility of biological moral enhancement of psychopaths are offered in Maibom 2014 and Glannon 2014.


Blair et al 2005 and Patrick 2006 are introductory texts on the scientific research on psychopathy. For an overview of meta-ethical debate, see Maibom 2013. The legal and moral responsibility of psychopaths are dealt with, respectively, in the collection Malatesti & McMillan 2010 and in the companion Kiehl & Sinnott-Armstrong 2013.

Related categories

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  1. On the Nature of Psychopathy.Daniel Moseley & Gary Gala - manuscript
    The primary goal of this essay is to clarify the concept of psychopathy and distinguish it from other, related, concepts. We contend that the paradigmatic trait of psychopathy is a propensity to violence that is accompanied by a lack of conscience. We also argue that conceptual clarity on this point is important for devising empirical criteria for identifying psychopaths. We also argue that a full theory of psychopathy will require one to utilize theories and assumptions that pertain to central issues (...)
  2. 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 (...)
  3. Examining the Factor Structure of the Self-Report of Psychopathy Short-Form Across Four Young Adult Samples.Hailey L. Dotterer, Rebecca Waller, Craig S. Neumann, Daniel S. Shaw, Erika E. Forbes, Ahmad R. Hariri & Luke W. Hyde - forthcoming - Assessment:1-18.
    Psychopathy refers to a range of complex behaviors and personality traits, including callousness and antisocial behavior, typically studied in criminal populations. Recent studies have used self-reports to examine psychopathic traits among noncriminal samples. The goal of the current study was to examine the underlying factor structure of the Self-Report of Psychopathy Scale–Short Form (SRP-SF) across complementary samples and examine the impact of gender on factor structure. We examined the structure of the SRP-SF among 2,554 young adults from three undergraduate samples (...)
  4. A New Understanding of Psychopathy: The Contribution of Phenomenological Psychopathology.Jérôme Englebert - forthcoming - Psychopathology.
    The objective of this study is to present a theoretical paper about a clinical issue. Our aim is to propose some clinical and semiological considerations for a psychopathological conception of psychopathy. We will discuss several major theoretical works dedicated to this nosographic entity. We will also examine a significant issue raised by Cooke et al., namely whether psychopathic functioning is consistently related to antisocial behavior. This theoretical essay is informed by clinical situations. The method applied a phenomenological psychopathology analysis to (...)
  5. Parsing Fear: A Reassessment of the Evidence for Fear Deficits in Psychopathy.S. S. Hoppenbrouwers, B. H. Bulten & Inti A. Brazil - forthcoming - Psychological Bulletin.
    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by interpersonal manipulation and callousness, and reckless and impulsive antisocial behavior. It is often seen as a disorder in which profound emotional disturbances lead to antisocial behavior. A lack of fear in particular has been proposed as an etiologically salient factor. In this review, we employ a conceptual model in which fear is parsed into separate subcomponents. Important historical conceptualizations of psychopathy, the neuroscientific and empirical evidence for fear deficits in psychopathy are compared against (...)
  6. 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 (...)
  7. Modulatory Effects of Psychopathy on Wisconsin Card Sorting Test Performance in Male Offenders with Antisocial Personality Disorder.Vanessa Pera-Guardiola, Iolanda Batalla, Javier Bosque, David Kosson, Josep Pifarré, Rosa Hernández-Ribas, Ximena Goldberg, Oren Contreras-Rodríguez, José M. Menchón, Carles Soriano-Mas & Narcís Cardoner - forthcoming - Psychiatric Research.
    Neuropsychological deficits in executive functions(EF)have been linked to antisocial behavior and considered to be cardinal to the onset and persistence of severe antisocial and aggressive behavior. However, when psychopathy is present, prior evidence suggests that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is unaffected leading to intact EF. Ninety-one male offenders with Antisocial Personality Disorder(ASPD) and 24 controls completed the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test(WCST). ASPD individuals were grouped in three categories according to Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R)scores(low, medium and high). We hypothesized that ASPD offenders (...)
  8. 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.
  9. 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 (...)
  10. Classification and Treatment of Antisocial Individuals: From Behavior to Biocognition.Inti A. Brazil, J. D. M. van Dongen, J. H. R. Maes, R. B. Mars & Arielle R. Baskin-Sommers - 2018 - Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 91:259-277.
    Antisocial behavior is a heterogeneous construct that can be divided into subtypes, such as antisocial personality and psychopathy. The adverse consequences of antisocial behavior produce great burden for the perpetrators, victims, family members, and for society at-large. The pervasiveness of antisocial behavior highlights the importance of precisely characterizing subtypes of antisocial individuals and identifying specific factors that are etiologically related to such behaviors to inform the development of targeted treatments. The goals of the current review are to briefly summarize research (...)
  11. Il modello medico forte e i disturbi antisociali della personalità (Eng. The strong medical model and antisocial personality disorders)).Zdenka Brzović, Marko Jurjako & Luca Malatesti - 2018 - Sistemi Intelligenti 30 (1):175-188.
    Dominic Murphy in several influential publications has formulated and defended what he calls the strong medical model of mental illness. At the core of this project is the objectivist requirement of classifying mental illness in terms of their aetiologies, preferably characterised by multilevel mechanistic explanations of dysfunctions in neurocomputational processes. We are sympathetic to this project and we devise an argument to support it based on a conception of psychiatric kinds. Murphy has, moreover, maintained that there are some open issues (...)
  12. Psychopathic Personality Disorder: Capturing an Elusive Concept.David J. Cooke - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):15-32.
    The diagnosis of psychopathic personality disorder has salience for forensic clinical practice. It influences decisions regarding risk, treatability and sentencing, indeed, in certain jurisdictions it serves as an aggravating factor that increases the likelihood of a capital sentence. The concatenation of symptom that is associated with modern conceptions of the disorder can be discerned in early writings, including the book of Psalms. Despite its forensic clinical importance and historical pedigree the concept remains elusive and controverted. In this paper I describe (...)
  13. 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 (...)
  14. 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 (...)
  15. Psychopathy, Executive Functions, and Neuropsychological Data: A Response to Sifferd and Hirstein.Marko Jurjako & Luca Malatesti - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (1):55-65.
  16. Some Ethical Considerations About the Use of Biomarkers for the Classification of Adult Antisocial Individuals.Marko Jurjako, Luca Malatesti & Inti Brazil - 2018 - International Journal of Forensic Mental Health.
    It has been argued that a biomarker-informed classification system for antisocial individuals has the potential to overcome many obstacles in current conceptualizations of forensic and psychiatric constructs and promises better targeted treatments. However, some have expressed ethical worries about the social impact of the use of biological information for classification. Many have discussed the ethical and legal issues related to possibilities of using biomarkers for predicting antisocial behaviour. We argue that prediction should not raise the most pressing ethical worries. Instead, (...)
  17. Psychopathy: Philosophical and Empirical Challenges.Marko Jurjako, Luca Malatesti & John McMillan - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):5-14.
  18. 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 (...)
  19. Delineating Psychopathy From Cognitive Empathy: The Case of Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale.Janko Međedović, Tara Bulut, Drago Savić & Nikola Đuričić - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):53-62.
    There is an ongoing debate regarding the content of psychopathy, especially about the status of antisocial behavior and disinhibition characteristics as core psychopathy features. Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS) represents a novel model of psychopathy based on core psychopathy markers such as Interpersonal manipulation, Egocentricity and Affective responsiveness. However, this model presupposes another narrow trait of psychopathy: cognitive responsiveness, which represents a lack of cognitive empathy. Since previous models of psychopathy do not depict this feature as a core psychopathy trait, (...)
  20. 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 (...)
  21. Shame, Embarrassment, and the Subjectivity Requirement.Erick 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" (...)
  22. 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 (...)
  23. The Moral Bioenhancement of Psychopaths.Elvio Baccarini & Luca Malatesti - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (10):697-701.
    We argue that the mandatory moral bioenhancement of psychopaths is justified as a prescription of social morality. Moral bioenhancement is legitimate when it is justified on the basis of the reasons of the recipients. Psychopaths expect and prefer that the agents with whom they interact do not have certain psychopathic traits. Particularly, they have reasons to require the moral bioenhancement of psychopaths with whom they must cooperate. By adopting a public reason and a Kantian argument, we conclude that we can (...)
  24. Temporal Experience, Emotions and Decision Making in Psychopathy.Anja Berninger - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (4):661-677.
  25. 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 (...)
  26. The Kindness of Psychopaths.Zdenka Brzović, Marko Jurjako & Predrag Šustar - 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 (...)
  27. 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.
  28. 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) (...)
  29. 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, (...)
  30. On Blaming and Punishing Psychopaths.Marion Godman & Anneli Jefferson - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1):127-142.
    Current legal practice holds that a diagnosis of psychopathy does not remove criminal responsibility. In contrast, many philosophers and legal experts are increasingly persuaded by evidence from experimental psychology and neuroscience indicating moral and cognitive deficits in psychopaths and have argued that they should be excused from moral responsibility. However, having opposite views concerning psychopaths’ moral responsibility, on the one hand, and criminal responsibility, on the other, seems unfortunate given the assumption that the law should, at least to some extent, (...)
  31. 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, (...)
  32. 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’ (...)
  33. 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 (...)
  34. 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 (...)
  35. 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 (...)
  36. Graph-Theoretical Study of Functional Changes Associated with the Iowa Gambling Task.Taylor Bolt, Paul J. Laurienti, Robert Lyday, Ashley Morgan & Dale Dagenbach - 2016 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10.
  37. Problem klasifikacije u filozofiji psihijatrije : slučaj psihopatije (The problems of classification in the philosophy of psychiatry: the case of psychopathy.Zdenka Brzović, Jelena Hodak, Luca Malatesti, Vesna Šendula-Jengić & Predrag Šustar - 2016 - Prolegomena 15 (1):21-41.
    The aim of this paper is to analyze, from a philosophical perspective, the scientific robustness of the construct of psychopathy as measured by the Psychopathy Checklist Revised that was developed by Robert Hare (1991; 2003). The scientific robustness and validity of classifications are topics of many debates in philosophy of science and philosophy of psychiatry more specifically. The main problem consists in establishing whether scientific classifications reflect natural kinds where the concept of a natural kind refers to the existence of (...)
  38. Hemodynamic Response Alteration As a Function of Task Complexity and Expertise—An fNIRS Study in Jugglers.Daniel Carius, Christian Andrä, Martina Clauß, Patrick Ragert, Michael Bunk & Jan Mehnert - 2016 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10.
  39. 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 (...)
  40. 'He Only Comes Out When I Drink My Gin’: DID, Personal Identity, and Moral Responsibility.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2016 - In Rocco J. Gennaro & Casey Harison (eds.), The Who and Philosophy. Rowman & Littlefield: Lexington Press. pp. 121-134.
    This essay explores the topic of Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called “Multiple Personality Disorder”) with special attention to such Quadrophenia masterpieces as “Dr. Jimmy” and “The Real Me.” A number of major philosophical questions arise: Can two or more “persons” really inhabit the same body? How can we hold Dr. Jimmy morally responsible for the reprehensible actions of Mr. Jim? Wouldn’t it be wrong to do so if they are really different people? What is it to be the “same” person (...)
  41. Responsible Psychopaths Revisited.Patricia Greenspan - 2016 - The Journal of Ethics 20 (1-3):265-278.
    This paper updates, modifies, and extends an account of psychopaths’ responsibility and blameworthiness that depends on behavioral control rather than moral knowledge. Philosophers mainly focus on whether psychopaths can be said to grasp moral rules as such, whereas it seems to be important to their blameworthiness that typical psychopaths are hampered by impulsivity and other barriers to exercising self-control. I begin by discussing an atypical case, for contrast, of a young man who was diagnosed as a psychopath at one point (...)
  42. Parsing Fear.S. S. Hoppenbrouwers, B. H. Bulten & I. A. Brazil - 2016 - Psychological Bulletin:Online edition.
    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by interpersonal manipulation and callousness, and reckless and impulsive antisocial behavior. It is often seen as a disorder in which profound emotional disturbances lead to antisocial behavior. A lack of fear in particular has been proposed as an etiologically salient factor. In this review, we employ a conceptual model in which fear is parsed into separate subcomponents. Important historical conceptualizations of psychopathy, the neuroscientific and empirical evidence for fear deficits in psychopathy are compared against (...)
  43. Neurosurgery for Psychopaths? An Ethical Analysis.Dietmar Hübner & Lucie White - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (3):140-149.
    Recent developments in neuroscience have inspired proposals to perform deep brain stimulation on psychopathic detainees. We contend that these proposals cannot meet important ethical requirements that hold for both medical research and therapy. After providing a rough overview of key aspects of psychopathy and the prospects of tackling this condition via deep brain stimulation, we proceed to an ethical assessment of such measures, referring closely to the distinctive features of psychopathic personality, particularly the absence of subjective suffering and a lack (...)
  44. 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.
  45. The Mismeasure of Psychopathy: A Commentary on Boddy’s PM-MRV.Daniel N. Jones & Robert D. Hare - 2016 - Journal of Business Ethics 138 (3):579-588.
  46. Instrumental Rationality in Psychopathy: Implications From Learning Tasks.Marko Jurjako & Luca Malatesti - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):717-731.
    The issue whether psychopathic offenders are practically rational has attracted philosophical attention. The problem is relevant in theoretical discussions on moral psychology and in those concerning the appropriate social response to the crimes of these individuals. We argue that classical and current experiments concerning the instrumental learning in psychopaths cannot directly support the conclusion that they have impaired instrumental rationality, construed as the ability for transferring the motivation by means-ends reasoning. In fact, we defend the different claim that these experiments (...)
  47. 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 (...)
  48. 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 (...)
  49. Psychopathy and Internalism.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):318-345.
    Do psychopaths make moral judgments but lack motivation? Or are psychopaths’ judgments are not genuinely moral? Both sides of this debate seem to assume either externalist or internalist criteria for the presence of moral judgment. However, if moral judgment is a natural kind, we can arrive at a theory-neutral criterion for moral judgment. A leading naturalistic criterion suggests that psychopaths have an impaired capacity for moral judgment; the capacity is neither fully present nor fully absent. Psychopaths are therefore not counterexamples (...)
  50. 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 (...)
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