A cognitive developmental approach to morality: investigating the psychopath

  title={A cognitive developmental approach to morality: investigating the psychopath},
  author={Robert James R. Blair},
  • R. Blair
  • Published 1 October 1995
  • Psychology
  • Cognition
What's wrong? Moral understanding in psychopathic offenders.
A dark side of the human mind: Affective dysfunction as a function of psychopathy
This review summarizes empirical findings that have shown affective deficits of psychopathy and proposes that psychopathy is one side of humans to shape a selfish strategy if necessary.
Aberrant neural processing of moral violations in criminal psychopaths.
An analysis of brain activity during the evaluation of pictures depicting moral violations in psychopaths versus nonpsychopaths showed atypical activity in several regions involved in moral decision-making, revealing potential neural underpinnings of moral insensitivity in psychopathy.
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Psychopathy and Implications for Judgments of Responsibility
Individuals with psychopathy show atypical responding within the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the roles of the amygdala in stimulus-reinforcement learning and responding to emotional expressions and vmPFC in the representation of reinforcement expectancies are compromised.
Moral Responsibility and the Psychopath
Psychopathy involves impaired capacity for prudential and moral reasoning due to impaired capacity for empathy, remorse, and sensitivity to fear-inducing stimuli. Brain abnormalities and genetic
The Responsibility of the Psychopath Revisited
The question of the psychopath's responsibility for his or her wrongdoing has received considerable attention. Much of this attention has been directed toward whether psychopaths are a counterexample
Psychopaths know right from wrong but don't care.
The results force a rejection of the strong hypothesis that emotional processes are causally necessary for judgments of moral dilemmas, suggesting instead that psychopaths understand the distinction between right and wrong, but do not care about such knowledge, or the consequences that ensue from their morally inappropriate behavior.
Neuroimaging of Psychopathy and Antisocial Behavior: A Targeted Review
  • R. Blair
  • Psychology
    Current psychiatry reports
  • 2010
The literature reveals that individuals who present with an increased risk for reactive, but not instrumental, aggression show increased amygdala responses to emotionally evocative stimuli, consistent with suggestions that such individuals are primed to respond strongly to an inappropriate extent to threatening or frustrating events.
Can psychopathic offenders discern moral wrongs? A new look at the moral/conventional distinction.
It is found that insufficient data exist to infer that psychopathic individuals cannot know what is morally wrong, and a modified version of the classic Moral/Conventional Transgressions task that uses a forced-choice format to minimize strategic responding is used.


A Sociological Theory of Psychopathy
  • H. Gough
  • Psychology
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1948
The sociological theory of role-playing provides a synthesis of the known facts of psychopathy, in addition to suggesting deductive hypotheses which may be submitted to empirical test.
Disinhibitory psychopathology: a new perspective and a model for research.
The syndrome produced by lesion of the septum in animals can serve as a functional research model of human disinhibitory psychopathology and a program of experimentati on utilizing this animal model is outlined.
Psychopathy and Language
Psychopaths ace capable of behavior so hedonistic, callous, irresponsible, and self-defeating that it is easy to conclude that they must be brain damaged, insane, or both. Indeed, the most
Theory of Mind in the psychopath
Abstract This paper investigates the Theory of Mind ability of psychopaths. Happe's (1994) advanced test of Theory of Mind was presented to 25 psychopaths and 25 non-psychopathic incarcerated
Hypothetical versus real-life moral reasoning among psychopathic and delinquent youth
Abstract Differences in moral reasoning concerning hypothetical versus real-life conflicts were examined with a sample of 44 youths (aged 15–18 years) who were classified as psychopathic, delinquent,
Moral develpment and parent behavior antecedents in adolescent psychopaths.
  • E. Fodor
  • Psychology
    The Journal of genetic psychology
  • 1973
Analysis of subjects' perceptions of the behavior of their parents disclosed that psychopaths, as against nonpsychopathic delinquents, saw their fathers as having been less nurturant toward them and as having given them less praise.
Interrelations of empathy, cognition, and moral reasoning with dimensions of juvenile delinquency
Role-taking, logical cognition, and moral reasoning were significantly related to one another and anticipated differences in level of empathy between the delinquent and nondelinquent adolescents failed to occur.
Emotion in the criminal psychopath: startle reflex modulation.
The results suggest an abnormality in the processing of emotional stimuli by psychopaths that manifests itself independently of affective report, with startle responses largest during unpleasant slides and smallest during pleasant slides.
Moral judgment in sociopathic and normal children.
The results revealed that level of moral reasoning was higher for normal than for sociopathic children at both mental age levels, suggesting the presence of a general cognitive factor underlying moral development.