Psychopathy and distance estimation

  • Research on psychopathy has so far been largely limited to the investigation of high-level processes, such as emotion perception and regulation. In the present work, we investigate whether psychopathy has an effect on the estimation of fundamental physical parameters, which are computed in the brain during early stages of sensory processing. We employed a simple task in which participants had to estimate their interpersonal distance from a moving avatar and stop it at a given distance. The face expression of the avatars were positive, negative, or neutral. Participants carried out the task online on their home computers. We measured the psychopathy level via a self-report questionnaire. Regardless of the degree of psychopathy, the facial expression of the avatars showed no effect on distance estimation. Our results show that individuals with a high degree of psychopathy underestimate distance of approaching avatars significantly less (let the avatar approach them significantly closer) than did participants with a lesser degree of psychopathy. Moreover, participants who scored high in Self-Centered Impulsivity underestimate the distance to approaching avatars significantly less (let the avatar approach closer) than participants with a low score. Distance estimation is considered an automatic process performed at early stages of visual processing. Therefore, our results imply that psychopathy affects basic early sensory processes, such as feature extraction, in the visual cortex.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Author:Georgios MichalareasORCiD, Claudia Lehr, Matthias Grabenhorst, Heiko HechtORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2022/12/19
Date of first Publication:2022/12/19
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/03/20
Page Number:36
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-ND - Namensnennung - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International