Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 412–418 | Cite as

Egocentric Perceptions of the Environment in Primary, but not Secondary, Psychopathy

  • Konrad BresinEmail author
  • Ryan L. Boyd
  • Scott Ode
  • Michael D. Robinson
Original Article


Several theories of psychopathy link it to an egocentric mode of perceiving the world. This explanatory perspective is quite plausible given that psychopaths are viewed as callous, uncaring, and narcissistic. This explanatory perspective, though, has been an insufficient focus of research, particularly in basic cognitive tasks. Building on the work of Wapner and Werner (1957), an implicit measure of cognitive egocentrism was developed. Continuous variations in primary and secondary psychopathy were assessed in a sample of college undergraduates (N = 80). Individuals high in primary psychopathy exhibited cognitive egocentrism, whereas individuals low in primary psychopathy did not. On the other hand, variations in secondary psychopathy were non-predictive of performance in the task. Results are discussed in terms of theories of psychopathy, distinctions between its primary and secondary components, and the utility of modeling egocentrism in basic cognitive terms.


Primary psychopathy Secondary psychopathy Egocentrism Priming Cognition 



This publication was made possible by COBRE Grant P20 RR020151 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCRR or NIH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konrad Bresin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ryan L. Boyd
    • 2
  • Scott Ode
    • 2
  • Michael D. Robinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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