Attention has been argued to play a crucial role in the anomalous emotional processing central to psychopathy (Newman & Baskin-Sommers, 2011). Specifically, the role of an excessively stringent attentional filter in emotion processing has gained increasing support in psychopathy research. At present, gaining further knowledge from community samples and applying alternative experimental paradigms are important steps in unravelling the attention-emotion interaction in psychopathy. Moreover, most research has been done in North-American samples, so cross-cultural validation in European samples is needed. Therefore, the current study investigated the attention-emotion interaction in a Belgian community sample comprising of 49 male and 123 female undergraduate students (N=172; mean age = 19 years). To test the influence of attentional focus on information-processing in psychopathy, we used an affective priming paradigm and a replicated flanker-task (Zeier, Maxwell, & Newman, 2009). Findings indicated that individuals with higher psychopathy scores had difficulty in cognitive control rather than applying a selective attentional filter. Results also suggested that this difficulty was related to impulsive-antisocial psychopathic traits rather than the interpersonal-affective features. These findings shed light on the cognitive problems associated with psychopathy in the broader community, and particularly a difficulty in dealing with conflicting information. Also, to our knowledge, this study was the first to employ an affective priming paradigm to examine attentional dysfunctions in psychopathy. Importantly, the differences observed between community and incarcerated samples suggest that the attention-emotion interplay fluctuates across a psychopathy severity continuum.
|Title of host publication||Unknown|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||Psychopathy and Violence Risk management: Empirical and Practical Challenges conference - Berlin, Germany|
Duration: 7 May 2014 → 8 May 2014
|Conference||Psychopathy and Violence Risk management: Empirical and Practical Challenges conference|
|Period||7/05/14 → 8/05/14|