Psychopathy, sadism, and unprovoked aggression
Reidy, Dennis E.
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Although psychopaths represent one percent of society, they are responsible for nearly fifty percent of all crime and are five times more likely to commit future violent offenses. Research has demonstrated that individuals who display psychopathic traits engage in a more violent and "cold-blooded" pattern of behavior. The present study replicates previous research that showed psychopathy levels predicted a greater probability of engaging in aggressive behavior prior to being provoked. It further expands upon this research by attempting to identify the affective motivation of the unprovoked aggressor and how this emotional experience is linked to the psychopathy-aggression relationship. Two models of association were tested in which emotion processing either mediated the relationship between psychopathy and unprovoked aggression or, alternatively, moderated the relationship between psychopathy and unprovoked aggression. Results supported a moderated model in which Happiness and Sadness Facilitation associated with violence interacted with psychopathy to predict a significantly greater probability of unprovoked aggression. Results are discussed in terms of classification of psychopathy typologies and utility for predicting violent behavior.