The effects of empathy, emotional intelligence and psychopathy on interpersonal interactions

Elise S. Owens*, Ferguson W.H. McPharlin, Nathan Brooks, Katarina Fritzon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number1
Early online date9 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of empathy, emotional intelligence and psychopathy on interpersonal interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this