Measuring the capacity for cognitive and affective empahty in psychopathy and narcissism

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lauren Annabel Miller (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Leonardo Bobadilla

Abstract: Psychopathic and narcissistic display a multitude of negative interpersonal behaviors with psychopathy also displaying a greater degree of impulsive and antisocial traits (McCord & McCord, 1956; Emmons, 1984). A primary shared affective deficiency between these two disorders is lack of empathy for others (Harpur, Hakstian, & Hare, 1988; APA, 2000). The experience of empathy is a complex process, often initiated by recognition of facial emotional expressions (Carr, Iacoboni, Dubeau, Mazziotta, & Lenzi, 2003). To detect the attributes of psychopathic and narcissistic personalities that relate to lack of empathy this study examines the correlations between the ability to identify facial expressions (an objective, cognitive measure of empathy) and psychopathic and narcissistic traits (identified using self-report measures). Notably, only facets of psychopathy were significant and they varied by gender. Neither the NPI total scores, nor any of the NPI factors, displayed significant correlations to emotion recognition scores. This study’s findings suggest that impairment in identifying emotional expression is differentially related to men and women to low fear/anxiety and social dominance traits characteristic of psychopathy, but not narcissism which suggest further research on various interventions dependent on gender to reduce socially unacceptable behavior related to lack of empathy.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Empathy, Face recognition, Narcissism, Psychopathy
Antisocial personality disorders

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