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Psychol Assess. 2015 Dec;27(4):1494-9. doi: 10.1037/pas0000129. Epub 2015 Apr 27.

Examining the correlates of the coldheartedness factor of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised.

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Department of Psychology, Emory University.
Department of Psychology, Georgia State University.


Coldheartedness is a subscale of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R) that does not load onto either of the PPI-R's two traditional higher order factors (Fearless Dominance [FD] and Self-Centered Impulsivity [SCI]). As a result, it has been omitted from analyses in many studies. However, owing to Coldheartedness's associations with lack of empathy, guilt, and deep-seated social emotions, this subscale may be highly relevant to the construct of psychopathy. In a sample of 1,158 undergraduates, we attempted to clarify Coldheartedness's correlates within the context of a nomological network of psychopathology and personality; in addition, we examined Coldheartedness's contributions to psychopathy above and beyond FD and SCI. Coldheartedness demonstrated negative correlations with the Big Five personality factors, mixed correlations with indices of impulsivity, and largely negative correlations with measures of depression and anxiety. Regressions suggested that Coldheartedness displays substantial overlap with both FD and SCI but also contains psychologically important unique variance. Although the nature of this variance requires clarification, further research and perhaps an expansion of the Coldheartedness subscale may move the field toward a clearer understanding of the construct assessed by this measure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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