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Egocentric perceptions of the environment in primary, but not secondary, psychopathy

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Cognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)412-418
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Several theories of psychopathy link it to an egocentric mode of perceiving the world. This explanatory perspective is quite plausible given that psychopaths are viewed as callous, uncaring, and narcissistic. This explanatory perspective, though, has been an insufficient focus of research, particularly in basic cognitive tasks. Building on the work of Wapner and Werner (1957), an implicit measure of cognitive egocentrism was developed. Continuous variations in primary and secondary psychopathy were assessed in a sample of college undergraduates (N = 80). Individuals high in primary psychopathy exhibited cognitive egocentrism, whereas individuals low in primary psychopathy did not. On the other hand, variations in secondary psychopathy were non-predictive of performance in the task. Results are discussed in terms of theories of psychopathy, distinctions between its primary and secondary components, and the utility of modeling egocentrism in basic cognitive terms.