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Data from: Impact of psychopathy on moral judgments about causing fear and physical harm

Citation

Cardinale, Elise M.; Marsh, Abigail A. (2016), Data from: Impact of psychopathy on moral judgments about causing fear and physical harm, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9rs72

Abstract

Psychopathy is a personality variable associated with persistent immoral behaviors. Despite this, attempts to link moral reasoning deficits to psychopathic traits have yielded mixed results with many findings supporting intact moral reasoning in individuals with psychopathic traits. Abundant evidence shows that psychopathy impairs responses to others’ emotional distress. However, most studies of morality and psychopathy focus on judgments about causing others physical harm. Results of such studies may be inconsistent because physical harm is an imperfect proxy for emotional distress. No previous paradigm has explicitly separated judgments about physical harm and emotional distress and assessed how psychopathy affects each type of judgment. In three studies we found that psychopathy impairs judgments about causing others emotional distress (specifically fear) but minimally affects judgments about causing physical harm and that judgments about causing fear predict instrumental aggression in psychopathy. These findings are consistent with reports linking psychopathy to insensitivity to others’ fear, and suggest that sensitivity to others’ fear may play a fundamental role in the types of moral decision-making impaired by psychopathy.

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