心理学年度评论2013-09-05 2:57 AM

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Empathy deficits feature prominently in theoretical accounts of psychopathy, yet studies that have examined various aspects of emotional processing related to empathy have produced a mixed body of findings. We created a laboratory measure of cognitive empathy based on the empathic accuracy paradigm (i.e., the ability to accurately infer others' emotions in a simulated interpersonal interaction) and used it to examine relationships between psychopathy (assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist - Revised) and cognitive empathy in a sample of incarcerated male offenders. Psychopathy was inversely associated with empathic accuracy performance, as well as with the number of responses when rating the emotional states of others. Empathic accuracy performance was most strongly associated with the behavioral/antisocial and lifestyle features of psychopathy. When the emotional content of target vignettes was examined, psychopathy was associated with poorer empathic accuracy for negatively valenced emotions only (fear and sadness), although nonsignificant moderate effect sizes were also observed for joy. Whereas the interpersonal/affective factor of psychopathy was associated with poor empathic accuracy for joy, the behavioral/antisocial factor was associated with poor overall empathic accuracy for negatively valenced emotions. At the psychopathy facet level, the interpersonal and lifestyle features of psychopathy were associated with poor empathic accuracy for positively valenced emotions, whereas the affective and antisocial features of psychopathy were inversely associated with empathic accuracy for negatively valenced emotions. In contrast to its association with poor empathic accuracy performance, psychopathy was not associated with ratings of perceived task difficulty.

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