Antisocial Behavior in Individuals and Groups

Emanuele Castano

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398991
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Antisocial Behavior in Individuals and Groups


In this chapter a broadened perspective on antisocial behavior is proposed, which includes not only what is customarily considered antisocial behavior (e.g., aggression, theft, bullying) but also prejudice and discrimination toward outgroup members. This broadening is balanced by a narrowing of the causal factors that are considered, with an exclusive focus on empathy, or lack thereof, as the psychological dimension underlying the diverse types of antisocial behavior. It is argued that antisocial behavior is facilitated by low levels of dispositional empathy, but also by social psychological processes that actively curtail empathic reaction to others (us versus them distinction, dehumanization). The discussion of empathy as a thread common to a variety of antisocial behaviors also serves as a bridge between the personality and social psychological literature.

Keywords: antisocial behavior; aggression; offending; criminality; prejudice; discrimination; empathy; perspective-taking

Article.  21654 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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