Emotional deficits in psychopathy and sexual sadism

Implications for violent and sadistic behavior

Laura G. Kirsch, Judith V Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While both psychopaths and sexual sadists engage in acts of predatory violence, little empirical work has examined the relationship between the two disorders. This paper outlines the constructs of psychopathy and sexual sadism and reviews the literature investigating the emotional lives of individuals with these disorders, paying particular attention to how emotional deficits might facilitate instrumental violence. Specifically, it is hypothesized that the emotion recognition and emotional experience deficits found among psychopaths, and perhaps present in sexual sadists, may lead to deficits in their ability to empathize with others, resulting in an increased likelihood for perpetrating instrumental violence. The relationship between empathy and aggression in psychopaths and sexual sadists is discussed, and distinctions are drawn between the two disorders with respect to their capacities to experience cognitive and affective empathy on a global level. Gaps in the literature are identified and additional areas of inquiry are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-922
Number of pages19
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Volume27
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Fingerprint

Sadism
Violence
Aptitude
Aggression
Emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Emotional deficits in psychopathy and sexual sadism : Implications for violent and sadistic behavior. / Kirsch, Laura G.; Becker, Judith V.

In: Clinical Psychology Review, Vol. 27, No. 8, 12.2007, p. 904-922.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{6ab0d12960184f219e5b4a6f25cef996,
title = "Emotional deficits in psychopathy and sexual sadism: Implications for violent and sadistic behavior",
abstract = "While both psychopaths and sexual sadists engage in acts of predatory violence, little empirical work has examined the relationship between the two disorders. This paper outlines the constructs of psychopathy and sexual sadism and reviews the literature investigating the emotional lives of individuals with these disorders, paying particular attention to how emotional deficits might facilitate instrumental violence. Specifically, it is hypothesized that the emotion recognition and emotional experience deficits found among psychopaths, and perhaps present in sexual sadists, may lead to deficits in their ability to empathize with others, resulting in an increased likelihood for perpetrating instrumental violence. The relationship between empathy and aggression in psychopaths and sexual sadists is discussed, and distinctions are drawn between the two disorders with respect to their capacities to experience cognitive and affective empathy on a global level. Gaps in the literature are identified and additional areas of inquiry are suggested.",
author = "Kirsch, {Laura G.} and Becker, {Judith V}",
year = "2007",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1016/j.cpr.2007.01.011",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "27",
pages = "904--922",
journal = "Clinical Psychology Review",
issn = "0272-7358",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Emotional deficits in psychopathy and sexual sadism

T2 - Implications for violent and sadistic behavior

AU - Kirsch, Laura G.

AU - Becker, Judith V

PY - 2007/12

Y1 - 2007/12

N2 - While both psychopaths and sexual sadists engage in acts of predatory violence, little empirical work has examined the relationship between the two disorders. This paper outlines the constructs of psychopathy and sexual sadism and reviews the literature investigating the emotional lives of individuals with these disorders, paying particular attention to how emotional deficits might facilitate instrumental violence. Specifically, it is hypothesized that the emotion recognition and emotional experience deficits found among psychopaths, and perhaps present in sexual sadists, may lead to deficits in their ability to empathize with others, resulting in an increased likelihood for perpetrating instrumental violence. The relationship between empathy and aggression in psychopaths and sexual sadists is discussed, and distinctions are drawn between the two disorders with respect to their capacities to experience cognitive and affective empathy on a global level. Gaps in the literature are identified and additional areas of inquiry are suggested.

AB - While both psychopaths and sexual sadists engage in acts of predatory violence, little empirical work has examined the relationship between the two disorders. This paper outlines the constructs of psychopathy and sexual sadism and reviews the literature investigating the emotional lives of individuals with these disorders, paying particular attention to how emotional deficits might facilitate instrumental violence. Specifically, it is hypothesized that the emotion recognition and emotional experience deficits found among psychopaths, and perhaps present in sexual sadists, may lead to deficits in their ability to empathize with others, resulting in an increased likelihood for perpetrating instrumental violence. The relationship between empathy and aggression in psychopaths and sexual sadists is discussed, and distinctions are drawn between the two disorders with respect to their capacities to experience cognitive and affective empathy on a global level. Gaps in the literature are identified and additional areas of inquiry are suggested.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=35349007375&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=35349007375&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.01.011

DO - 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.01.011

M3 - Article

VL - 27

SP - 904

EP - 922

JO - Clinical Psychology Review

JF - Clinical Psychology Review

SN - 0272-7358

IS - 8

ER -