Deafness to fear in boys with psychopathic tendencies

R. James R. Blair, S. Budhani, E. Colledge, S. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The processing of the emotional signals of others is fundamental for normal socialization and interaction. Reduced responsiveness to the expressions of sadness and fear has been implicated in the development of psychopathy (Blair, 1995). The current study investigates the ability of boys with psychopathic tendencies to process auditory affect information. Boys with psychopathic tendencies and a comparison group, as defined by the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD: Frick & Hare, 2001), were presented with neutral words spoken with intonations conveying happiness, disgust, anger, sadness and fear and were asked to identify the emotion of the speaker based on prosody. The boys with psychopathic tendencies presented with a selective impairment for the recognition of fearful vocal affect. These results are interpreted with reference to amygdala dysfunction and components of the Integrated Emotion Systems model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-336
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Amygdala
  • Integrated emotion systems
  • Psychopathic tendencies
  • Psychopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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