A revised portrait of psychopaths

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 18:11 in Psychology & Sociology

When most people hear the word psychopath, they immediately think of a Hannibal Lecter-style serial killer who is cold, calculating, emotionless, willing to do or say anything to get their desire. And they’re not alone. For decades, researchers studying psychopathy have characterized the disorder as a profound inability to process emotions such as empathy, remorse, or regret. A recent study, though, suggests that psychopaths are not incapable of feeling emotions like regret and disappointment. What they cannot do, it seems, is make accurate predictions about the outcomes of their choices. The study, co-authored by Joshua Buckholtz, associate professor of psychology at Harvard, and Arielle Baskin-Sommers, assistant professor of psychology and of psychiatry at Yale University, offers a new model of the disorder that could shed important light on the decision-making process of psychopaths. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The assumption has always been that they...

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