Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Visual attention to emotional stimuli in individuals high on psychopathic traits: Evidence from eye tracking
by Crossman, Donna Marie, Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2015, 35; 3728175
Abstract (Summary)

Researchers have described psychopaths as callous, cold-hearted individuals who show reduced empathic response to their victims. It is suggested that the inability to identify negative emotions, specifically fear, in individuals is what allows psychopaths to offend/take advantage of other people as they do not recognize the fear in victims that may otherwise deter victimization. This is the first study to examine how non-incarcerated individuals high on psychopathic personality traits process emotions. Additionally, eye-tracking technology was used to provide a more fine-grained assessment of attention. In contrast to hypotheses, the high psychopathic group did not differ from the low psychopathic or anxious control groups on any of the emotion processing tasks. This said, exploratory analyses revealed potentially interesting sex moderation effects. For example, men high on psychopathic personality spent more time looking at fearful eyes compared to men low on psychopathic personality and anxious men. Additionally, men low on psychopathic personality had more errors in identifying angry faces compared to men high on psychopathic personality and anxious men. Possible reasons for these findings as well as suggested areas of future research are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gibb, Brandon E.
Commitee: Donovick, Peter J., Inhoff, Albrecht, Wright, Kevin
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Attention, Emotion processing, Eye tracking, Psychopathic personality, Successful psychopathy
Publication Number: 3728175
ISBN: 978-1-339-13541-0
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