Reduced sensitivity to others' fearful expressions in psychopathic individuals

R. J.R. Blair, D. G.V. Mitchell, K. S. Peschardt, E. Colledge, R. A. Leonard, J. H. Shine, L. K. Murray, D. I. Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations


This study investigates the ability of psychopathic individuals to process facial emotional expressions. Psychopathic and comparison individuals, as defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R), were presented with a standardized set of facial expressions depicting six emotions: happy, surprised, disgusted, angry, sad and fearful. Participants observed as these facial expressions slowly evolved through 20 successive frames of increasing intensity. The dependent variables were latency in responding as measured by frame and number of errors. The psychopathic individuals showed selective impairment for the recognition of fearful expressions. The results are interpreted with reference to the Violence Inhibition Mechanism model of psychopathy and the suggestion that psychopathic individuals present with amygdala dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1122
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Facial expressions
  • Fear
  • Orbital frontal cortex
  • Violence inhibition mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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