Date of Award
Psychopathy is a personality dysfunction wherein an individual is unemotional and has a deficit in empathy (Dolan & Fullam, 2004). Theory of mind is the ability to perceive other’s thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc. (Vonk, Hill, Mercer & Noser, 2015). This is similar to empathy, and as such is likely to have a relationship with psychopathy, although no such research has been undertaken to date. In this study, I correlated measures of psychopathy with theory of mind, sampling from Butler’s undergraduate population. Due to my combined major in Psychology and Criminology, I then researched and discuss the similarities theory of mind has with the sociological term, role taking, which is the process of viewing oneself from another perspective (Crawford & Novak, 2014). Rather than being an aptitude that varies per person, as is theory of mind, role taking is seen as an innate ability and rather is looked at in terms of the propensity in which one engages in it. While there were no significant relationships between theory of mind and psychopathy detected, the results suggested that a study with more statistical power may be able to find such a relationship. If a relationship does not exist between theory of mind and psychopathy, this can be explained by role taking theory.
Hays, Ariana, "Theory of Mind and its Relation to Psychopathy" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 374.