The unique interpersonal qualities of individuals who fall on the so-called ‘psychopathic spectrum’ have been regularly documented since Cleckley’s observations (1941). The literature reflects the importance of understanding individuals who have high and low levels of psychopathic personality traits for research (Lilienfeld, 1998, Patrick, Edens, Poythress, Lilienfeld & Benning, 2006), clinical (Patrick, Hicks, Blonigen & Krueger, 2003) and risk assessment purposes (Skeem, Poythress, Edens, Lilienfeld & Cade, 2003) through bringing forth the position that psychopathic traits can fall on a continuum (Benning, Patrick, Salekin & Leistico, 2005). The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between psychopathic personality traits in the general population and deficits in emotion modulated psychophysiological responses as well as deficits in emotionally influenced decision making. Results indicated that individuals with higher levels of Fearless Dominance, as measured by the Psychopathic Personality Inventory, Revised (Lilienfeld & Widows, 2005) had attenuated fear responses (r = -0.26; Chi-square = 5.286, p < .05), but there were no significant abnormalities in responses to other emotional conditions. There was no association between psychopathic personality traits and emotionally influenced decision making as measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (Bechara, Damasio, Damasio & Anderson, 1994) suggesting that at subclinical levels, psychopathic personality traits have a negligible influence on an individual’s use of somatic markers to guide behavior.
School of Science and Technology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Psychopaths; Antisocial personality disorders; Antisocial Personality Disorder; Psychotic Disorders; Emotions -- physiology; Personality -- psychology
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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Godenick, Kristen Lee, "Emotional Behavior in Subclinical Psychopathy" (2009). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1680.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives