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psychopathy


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A mental disorder roughly equivalent to antisocial personality disorder, but with emphasis on affective and interpersonal traits such as superficial charm, pathological lying, egocentricity, lack of remorse, and callousness that have traditionally been regarded by clinicians as characteristic of psychopaths, rather than social deviance traits such as need for stimulation, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioural controls, impulsivity, and irresponsibility that are prototypical of antisocial personality disorder. Whether psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder share a common referent is an open question. The emotional deficit in psychopathy is considered to be central, but its interpretation is controversial. According to the anxiety deficit theory, people with psychopathy focus on the present and lack normal anxiety or fear responses to future aversive events. According to the empathy deficit theory, such people have a primary dysfunction of empathic social responses. See also Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Compare sociopathy. psychopath n. A person with psychopathy. psychopathic adj. [From Greek psyche mind + pathos suffering]

Subjects: Psychology.


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