Empathic dysfunction in psychopathy

James Blair

in Social Cognition and Developmental Psychopathology

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780198569183
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754432 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Empathic dysfunction in psychopathy

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The goal of the current chapter is to consider the social cognitive impairment associated with psychopathy in children and adolescents. The chapter will begin with a brief description of the disorder, touching on the core feature of psychopathy—the impairment in emotional processing including specific forms of empathy (section 7.2). Section 7.3 will consider what empathy is, how it develops in typical individuals, and what its developmental implications are for those same individuals (i.e. its role in care-based socialization and reasoning). Section 7.4 will describe the nature of the empathic impairment seen in individuals with psychopathy and the corresponding dysfunction in care-based socialization and reasoning. Section 7.5 will consider the aetiological origins of this disorder and will conclude that there probably is a genetic basis to the empathic dysfunction. Social etiological factors will also be considered. Section 7.5 will consider the clinical implications of this work. It will be concluded that these are currently primarily in assessment given the absence of viable potential treatments for psychopathy. The chapter concludes with a section considering the core in targets for research.

Chapter.  9733 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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