Executive function moderates the relationship between psychopathy and cognitive empathy

[Speaker] Tamura, Ayame:1
[Co-author] Sugiura, Yoshinori:1
1:The Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University (Japan)

Psychopathy is characterized by low empathy, especially affective empathy. On the other hand, the association between psychopathy and cognitive empathy has been mixed. Cognitive empathy is considered to be supported by higher order cognitive processing such as executive functions, which also has specific association with psychopathic facets. This study examined the moderating effect of the relationships between psychopathy and cognitive empathy by executive function. Fifty-two students completed the Color-Shape task which assesses shifting facet of executive functions, and self-reports consisted of Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy scale and Interpersonal Reactivity Index. Result showed interaction effects of psychopathy X executive function on cognitive empathy, which indicated that psychopathy was negatively related to cognitive empathy when they showed better performance on the Color-Shape task. This study suggested the role of cognitive processing underlying deficient empathy in psychopathy. Further study should investigate this moderating effect with other facets of executive functions.
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