Fine cuts of empathy and the amygdala: Dissociable deficits in psychopathy and autism

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Abstract

In the current paper, the "fine cuts" approach advocated by Uta Frith is applied to our understanding of empathy and amygdala dysfunction in two disorders, psychopathy and autism. A fine cut is made between cognitive (i.e., Theory of Mind) and emotional empathy. The literature with respect to psychopathy and autism and these two functions is then considered. A fine cut is also made between the amygdala's role in stimulus-reinforcement association and specific aspects of social cognition. Again the literature with respect to psychopathy and autism and these two functions of the amygdala is considered. It is concluded that while both conditions can be considered disorders of social cognition, fine cuts can be made dissociating the impairments associated with each.

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Physiology (medical)

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