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The present study examines the relationship between the constructs of psychopathy and empathy in 180 undergraduate students. This study attempts to address discrepancies in previous research concerning these constructs by assessing a number of different types of empathy concurrently. Participants were asked to complete measures of psychopathy, implicit and explicit cognitive and affective empathy, social desirability, and anxiety. To measure affective implicit empathy, participants listened to a mock news broadcast that is empathy evoking. While listening to the broadcast, the participants wore a heart rate monitor to determine if the individual experienced an increase in heart rate in response to the stimuli. The current study will test the hypotheses that those high in secondary psychopathy will be lower on all empathy measures than those low in psychopathy. In contrast, those high in primary psychopathy will only be lower on the implicit, affective empathy measure. If we find statistically significant results supporting our hypotheses, the current study will expand upon and address the discrepancies of the existing research by assessing implicit affective empathy along with more commonly assessed types of empathy in this research area (Blair, Jones, Clark, & Smith, 1997; Lishner, 2012).

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Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Catherine Lutz Zois

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