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The Characteristics of Moral Judgment of Psychopaths: The Mediating Effect of the Deontological Tendency

Authors Li S, Ding D, Lai J, Zhang X, Wu Z, Liu C

Received 10 August 2019

Accepted for publication 18 February 2020

Published 9 March 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 257—266

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S226722

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman


Shenglan Li,1,2 Daoqun Ding,1,2 Ji Lai,1 Xiangyi Zhang,1,2 Zhihui Wu,1 Chang Liu3

1Department of Psychology, School of Education Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, People’s Republic of China; 2Cognition and Human Behavior Key Laboratory of Hunan Province, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Criminal Justice, Ningxia Police Vocational College, Ningxia, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Daoqun Ding
Department of Psychology, School of Education Science, Hunan Normal University, 36 Lushan Road, Changsha 410081, Hunan, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 15575851428
Email psychding@hunnu.edu.cn

Purpose: Many studies explore the relationship between moral judgment and psychopathy in western culture, but the mechanism underlying this relationship remains unclear. By far, no research about this topic in the background of Chinese culture exists. In the current study, we adopt one of the creative process-dissociation approaches to explore the relationship between the psychopath and moral judgment.
Methods: Adopt the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathic Scale, the Chinese version of Interpersonal Reactivity and Process-dissociation approach to explore the relationship between the psychopath and moral judgment.
Results: Traditional utilitarian moral score of the high psychopathy group are significantly higher than that of low psychopathy group (t= 2.97, p< 0.05), people with high psychopathy utilitarian tendency U factor score and people with low psychopathy have no significant difference (F= 0.85, p = 0.36).
Conclusion: Individuals with high psychopathy tend to make fewer deontological moral judgments because of their decreased deontological tendencies rather than their increased utilitarian tendencies. They may make more acceptance choices not to increase the well-being of the majority of people, but because of their increased acceptance of hurting others in the moral dilemma.

Keywords: psychopathy, moral judgment, deontological inclination, utilitarian inclination

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