Title

Callous-Unemotional Traits and Empathy Deficits: Mediating Effects of Affective Perspective-Taking and Facial Emotion Recognition

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Although empathy deficits are thought to be associated with callous-unemotional (CU) traits, findings remain equivocal and little is known about what specific abilities may underlie these purported deficits. Affective perspective-taking (APT) and facial emotion recognition may be implicated, given their independent associations with both empathy and CU traits. The current study examined how CU traits relate to cognitive and affective empathy and whether APT and facial emotion recognition mediate these relations. Participants were 103 adolescents (70 males) aged 16-18 attending a residential programme. CU traits were negatively associated with cognitive and affective empathy to a similar degree. The association between CU traits and affective empathy was partially mediated by APT. Results suggest that assessing mechanisms that may underlie empathic deficits, such as perspective-taking, may be important for youth with CU traits and may inform targets of intervention.

Publication Title

Cognition and Emotion

Volume

30

Issue

6

First Page

1049

Last Page

1062

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