Psychopathy in youth and facial affect recognition: a multi-morph investigation

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University of Alabama Libraries

In attempting to develop explanatory models for the psychopathic individuals, concern has been expressed regarding psychopathic individuals' ability to accurately recognize emotions in others. When examining the ability of psychopathic individuals to correctly identify facial displays of emotions, researchers have found a myriad of results, and thus, this relation between psychopathy and emotion recognition remains relatively unclear. A popular theoretical model, the Violence Inhibition Model, by Blair (1995) addresses the ability of psychopathic individuals to identify emotional displays and was examined in light of previous and current findings. The current study tested the relation between psychopathy and emotion affect using the Psychopath Checklist: Youth Version and the Multi-morph task for displaying gradation of emotions across a specific time frame. History of abuse was examined as a potential variable moderating the relationship. The findings from the current study backed the notion that psychopathic individuals have a deficit in processing fear, but this finding was only true for boys. Girls were found to have higher scores in social deviance characteristics and better recognition of fearful emotions. Other hypotheses regarding the speed of processing and the relative impact on scores of psychopathy, as well as abuse history only evidenced partial support. Gender discrepancies are discussed in light of the current findings.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Psychology, Clinical psychology