Study: Specific electrophysiological components disentangle affective sharing and empathic concern in psychopathy

Empathic impairment is one of the hallmarks of psychopathy, a personality dimension associated with poverty in affective reactions, lack of attachment to others, and a callous disregard for the feelings, rights, and welfare of others.

Neuroscience research on the relation between empathy and psychopathy has predominately focused on the affective sharing and cognitive components of empathy in forensic populations, and much less on empathic concern.

The current study used high-density electroencephalography in a community sample to examine the spatiotemporal neurodynamic responses when viewing people in physical distress under two subjective contexts: one evoking affective sharing, the other, empathic concern.

Jean DecetyKimberly L LewisJason M Cowell