Theory of mind in the psychopath

J. Blair, C. Sellars, I. Strickland, F. Clark, A. Williams, M. Smith, L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

144 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the Theory of Mind ability of psychopaths. Happe's advanced test of Theory of Mind was presented to 25 psychopaths and 25 non-psychopathic incarcerated controls. The psychopaths and the non-psychopathic controls did not differ in their performance on this task. However, the psychopaths were performing significantly better than Happe's most highly able adult autistic population. It was therefore concluded that the psychopath does not have a Theory of Mind deficit. Speculations are made about the different developmental pathways of autism and psychopathy and the differences in the empathy deficit present in both these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Autism
  • Empathy
  • Psychopath
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Blair, J., Sellars, C., Strickland, I., Clark, F., Williams, A., Smith, M., & Jones, L. (1996). Theory of mind in the psychopath. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 7(1), 15-25.