Between empathy and psychopathy – moral and ineffective or effective and immoral

Beata Pastwa-Wojciechowska, Maria Kaźmierczak


Empathy and psychopathy seem to be two distant extremes, which only differ, with nothing similar. Therefore, the question that seems to be surprising is whether such a theoretical perspective is justified. Empathy exerts significant influence on social relationships and is associated with moral development, whereas psychopathy seems to be an opposite phenomenon, as it is associated with the lack of deep interpersonal bonds and the violation of legal norms. As studies from various disciplines and scientific areas indicate, such concepts as behavioral effectiveness, morality or altruism might help explain the complex nature of the interrelationship between psychopathy and empathy. The authors tried to explore and describe the complexity of the two presented concepts in the light of the conducted research, and the resulting theoretical and empirical implications.


empathy; psychopathy; effectiveness; morality; disorders

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