Exploring the Relationship Between Callous-Unemotional Traits, Empathy Processing and Affective Valence in a General Population

Emma M. Lethbridge, Paul Richardson, Lisa Reidy, Naira A. Taroyan

Abstract


Callous–Unemotional (CU) traits are personality attributes, which are associated with a deficit of affective valence and reduced empathetic responding in high CU trait clinical populations. The aim of the research was to explore whether a similar pattern of empathy and emotional responding correlated with CU trait manifestation in the general population. A total of 124 participants completed the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the Empathy Quotient, an expression recognition task, and a measure of affective response. Negative correlations with CU trait score were observed for both cognitive empathy and emotional empathy. Accuracy in the identification of fearful expressions presented a negative association with CU trait score. Self-rating of affective valence, when viewing both positive and negative images, indicated a universal reduction in emotional response associated with increased CU trait manifestation.

Keywords


callous–unemotional traits; CU traits; emotion; empathy; affective valence; personality

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https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v13i1.1179