The Dark Triad measures antisocial traits and refers to three constructs: psychopathy, machiavellianism and narcissism. All three possess a lack of empathy which enhances the risk of engagement in criminal behaviour. Previous research has suggested that individual differences in empathy can be accounted for by levels of motivation.
Subsequently, this study aims to investigate the relationship between empathy and motivation within the Dark Triad to further our understanding of the criminal mind. As this study assesses the general population, self report measures of each variable was presented to participants as an online questionnaire. The items were produced from
existing scales that measure the Dark Triad traits, cognitive-affective empathy and apathy. The analysis involved a correlation matrix to determine any significant relationships between the variables. Of the significant variables, a multiple regression analysis was conducted which found psychopathy positively correlated with emotional apathy, whereas narcissism negatively correlated with social apathy. The results indicate a lack of emotional motivation is associated with psychopathic traits. Emotional apathy may be paramount to enhancing the empathic abilities of psychopaths in rehabilitation. Further research is necessary to understand the possible effects of increasing emotional motivation in psychopathic individuals.
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