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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The ends justify the meanness: An investigation of psychopathic traits and utilitarian moral endorsement

JustinBalasha and Diana M.Falkenbach
Personality and Individual Differences
Volume 127, 1 June 2018, Pages 127-132

Abstract

Although psychopathy has traditionally been synonymous with immorality, little research exists on the ethical reasoning of psychopathic individuals. Recent examination of psychopathy and utilitarianism suggests that psychopaths' moral decision-making differs from nonpsychopaths (Koenigs et al., 2012). The current study examined the relationship between psychopathic traits (PPI-R, Lilienfeld & Widows, 2005; TriPM, Patrick, 2010) and utilitarian endorsement (moral dilemmas, Greene et al., 2001) in a college sample (n = 316). The relationships between utilitarian decisions and triarchic dimensions were explored and empathy and aggression were examined as mediating factors. Hypotheses were partially supported, with Disinhibition and Meanness traits relating to personal utilitarian decisions; aggression partially mediated the relationship between psychopathic traits and utilitarian endorsements. Implications and future directions are further discussed.

Highlights

• Authors examined the relationship between psychopathy and utilitarian decision-making.

• Empathy and aggression were explored as mediating factors.

• Disinhibition and Meanness were positively related to personal utilitarian decisions.

• Meanness, Coldheartedness, and PPI-R-II were associated with personal utilitarian decisions.

• Aggression partially mediated the relationship between psychopathy and utilitarian decisions.

The research can be found here.

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