Boldness psychopathic traits predict reduced gaze toward fearful eyes in men with a history of violence

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Research with developmental and adult samples has shown a relationship of psychopathic traits with reduced eye gaze. However, these relationships remained to be investigated among forensic samples. Here we examined the eye movements of male violent offenders during an emotion recognition task. Violent offenders performed similar to non-offending controls, and their eye movements varied with the emotion and intensity of the facial expression. In the violent offender group Boldness psychopathic traits, but not Meanness or Disinhibition, were associated with reduced dwell time and fixation counts, and slower first fixation latencies, on the eyes compared with the mouth. These results are the first to show a relationship of psychopathic traits with reduced attention to the eyes in a forensic sample, and suggest that Boldness is associated with difficulties in orienting attention toward emotionally salient aspects of the face.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
JournalBiological Psychology
Early online date17 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • triarchic , psychopathy, eye scan paths , emotion , expression , fear , boldness , eye gaze