by Tara Francis
Psychopaths do not lack empathy and can turn it on when they want to, according to new research that challenges the current understanding of the psychological disorder.
Psychopaths involved in the study showed very little empathy for others, but this was reversed once they were told the experiment would measure their levels of empathy.
“It was one of the really exciting and surprising results,” said Christian Keysers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, who announced these results at the Euroscience Open Forum in Dublin, Ireland.
“We would certainly expect them to have reduced empathy. What I wasn’t expecting so much was that simply giving the instructions to empathise would almost completely normalise it. And that turns out to be the most exciting finding.”