Empathy and psychopaths' inability to grieve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Psychopaths exhibit diminished ability to grieve. Here I address whether this inability can be explained by the trademark feature of psychopaths, namely, their diminished capacity for interpersonal empathy. I argue that this hypothesis turns out to be correct, but requires that we conceptualize empathy not merely as an ability to relate (emotionally and ethically) to other individuals but also as an ability to relate to past and present iterations of ourselves. This reconceptualization accords well with evidence regarding psychopaths' intense focus on the temporal present and difficulties in engaging in mental time travel, as well as with the essentially egocentric and identity-based nature of grief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-431
Issue number4
Early online date5 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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