Correlates of Social Cognition and Psychopathic Traits in a Community-Based Sample Of Males

Grace Carroll, V. Tamara Montrose, Tom Burke*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Social cognition is the ability to identify, understand, and interpret mental states and emotions. Psychopathic traits are typically described in two ways; Primary: shallow affect, emotional detachment, and relationship difficulties, and Secondary Psychopathic Traits: antisocial traits, impulsiveness, and emotional dysregulation. People with high psychopathic traits tend to perform lower on measures of social cognition. This study investigated the relationship of social cognition (mentalising) to primary and secondary psychopathic traits in a non-clinical sample, and investigated the psychometric properties of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET) Short Forms (A and B). A community-based male sample (N = 1,000; age range 18–78) was recruited through an online platform. Psychopathic traits were measured using Levenson, Kiehl, and Fitzpatrick’s Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, and stratified into Primary and Secondary Psychopathic traits. Secondary validation of the RMET Short Forms was completed investigating scale reliability, and validity. Findings suggest excellent psychometrics in a large community cohort for the RMET Short Forms (A and B), with significant negative correlations on social cognitive performance and high self-report psychopathy. The item valence within the social cognitive measure (positive, negative, and neutral affect stimuli) was also examined, and correlated significantly with both Primary and Secondary Psychopathic traits. This study provides further validation of the RMET Short Forms (A and B), and adds to the literature on the scale by investigating performance on short-form specific valence. This study further suggests that in a non-clinical community sample of males, that higher psychopathic traits correlated significantly, and negatively, with social cognitive performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number656299
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • social cognition; psychopathy traits; psychometrics; short forms; Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test

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