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J Res Pers. 2011 Jun 1;45(3):322-327.

Disparities in the moral intuitions of criminal offenders: The role of psychopathy.

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The Mind Research Network, University of New Mexico, 1101 Yale Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA, .


The present study examined whether and in what ways psychopathy is associated with abnormal moral intuitions among criminal offenders. Using Haidt et al.'s Moral Foundations Questionnaire, 222 adult male offenders assessed for clinical psychopathy reported their degree of support for five moral domains: Harm Prevention, Fairness, Respect for Authority, Ingroup Loyalty, and Purity/Sanctity. As predicted, psychopathy total score explained a substantial proportion of the variance in reduced support for Harm Prevention and Fairness, but not the other domains. These results confirm that psychopathy entails a discrete set of moral abnormalities and suggest that these abnormalities could potentially help to explain the characteristic antisocial behavior of individuals with psychopathy.

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