They know the words but not the music: Deficits in perceiving prosodic cues to emotion by individuals with psychopathic characteristics

Angel MackenzieCarleton University
John LoganCarleton University

Abstract

Psychopathic individuals possess a deficit in emotion-processing that interferes with their ability to perceive emotional expression in others. Participants varying in “subclinical psychopathy” (i.e., psychopathic characteristics below the cutoff for psychopathy) categorized the emotional prosody in semantically neutral words and sentences representing five emotion categories (happy, sad, angry, fear, and disgust). Word-length stimuli were predicted to be perceived with greater ambiguity than the sentence-length stimuli due to the duration difference between the two kinds of stimuli, with the difference between the stimuli predicted to be larger for participants with more psychopathic characteristics. Participants with more psychopathic characteristics and participants with fewer psychopathic characteristics were equally good at identifying the emotion in sentence-length stimuli. However, the participants with more psychopathic characteristics were less accurate at identifying emotion in word-length stimuli than participants with fewer psychopathic characteristics.

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They know the words but not the music: Deficits in perceiving prosodic cues to emotion by individuals with psychopathic characteristics (168 KB)



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