Emotion Goals: A Missing Piece in Research on Psychopathy and Emotion Regulation

F. Spantidaki Kyriazi, S. Bogaerts, M. Tamir, J.J.A. Denissen, C. Garofalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Psychopathy is associated with profound emotional disturbances. Yet little is known about associations between psychopathic traits and what individuals want to feel (i.e., emotion goals). Associations between psychopathy and emotion goals were investigated in two studies with nonclinical samples (N = 148 undergraduate students; N = 520 community sample). Four emotions often studied in psychopathy research were targeted: anger, fear, sadness, and joy. Furthermore, perceived utility and perceived pleasantness of emotions were assessed to investigate whether potential associations between psychopathy and emotion goals could be partly explained by instrumental or hedonic considerations, respectively. Psychopathic traits were positively related to negative emotion goals (primarily anger). Although joy was the most wanted emotion on average, psychopathy was negatively but less robustly related to the emotion goal of joy. Mediation analyses suggested differential motivational (hedonic and/or instrumental) mechanisms for different emotion goals. These findings provide preliminary evidence for motivated emotion regulation in psychopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-82
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue numberSuppl A
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Anger
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Motivation


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