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Emotion and psychopathy: a three-component analysis Forth, Adelle E.


The study was designed to examine the hypothesis that psychopathy is associated with an affective deficit. Subjects were 42 incarcerated offenders divided into nonpsychopathic and psychopathic groups based on their scores on the Hare Revised Psychopathy Checklist (Hare, 1991). Facial expressions, central and peripheral physiological activity, and subjective ratings of affective valence and arousal were measured during exposure to a series of slides and film clips designed to elicit either positive or negative affective states. The results indicate that psychopaths do not differ from criminal controls in their affective self-report, autonomic nervous system response, or observed facial expressions to emotional stimuli. However, with respect to cerebral asymmetry, psychopaths failed to show relative right frontal activation during exposure to the disgust film. This result is discussed in relation to recent attempts to explain psychopathy in terms of lateralized cerebral dysfunction.

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