The current study investigated the relationships between empathy (emotional and cognitive), emotional intelligence, psychopathy, emotional contagion, and non-conscious behavioural mimicry (smiles and hand scratches), using self-report scales and a script-based interview session exhibiting nine non-verbal gestures, on a student sample. Past findings suggest a deficit of emotional but not cognitive empathy in psychopaths. Empirical research on non-conscious behavioural mimicry in psychopathy with reference to emotional intelligence is somewhat scarce; however it was proposed that individuals high in psychopathic traits would show reduced emotional mimicry based on the relation of empathy to mimicry. The study was quasi-experimental, involving individual assessment of 51 participants. Results suggest decreased emotional empathy at high levels of psychopathy and show that emotional intelligence moderates the relationship between psychopathy and non-conscious mimicry (smiles per minute). Social competence might be more predictive of effects of psychopathy on non-conscious mimicry.
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis