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Date of Award


Date Available to Non-EWU Users

December 2019

Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only




"The emotional interrupt task is presented as a motor response task that is bracketed by emotional images. The motor response task, in this study, is presented as a reaction time task. The participants either choose the left or right finger as a response to the circle or square on the screen, respectively. The emotional images that are presented before and after the motor response task are presented as either negative, neutral or positive images, known as interrupt conditions. The reaction time that occurs during each of the interrupt conditions are affected by personality traits of each participant. This study focused on participants who completed the Levenson Primary and Secondary Psychopathy Scale, who scored high enough to be categorized within the high scoring primary psychopathy group, high scoring secondary psychopathy group, and control group. Historically, psychopathy was an all-encompassing term to describe a personality trait used by psychologists to describe antisocial traits. Presently, psychopathy is conceptualized by many investigators to consist of two factors: primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy. Literature has described primary psychopaths as having superficial charm, compulsive lying, and lack of empathy, whereas secondary psychopaths are described as those with a parasitic lifestyle, who are impulsive, and prone to boredom. The results of the present study indicate that it is important to distinguish between primary and secondary psychopathy and gender because these variables moderate the relationships between reaction time and interrupt conditions. The results revealed that participants scoring high in primary psychopathic traits had faster reaction times than participants scoring high in secondary psychopathy traits. Also, control participants had a faster reaction time than participants scoring high in secondary psychopathic traits. Gender also illustrated that females are slower than males in almost all conditions except for high scoring secondary psychopathic males who had the slowest reaction time while viewing the negative interrupt condition"--Leaf iv-v.