Emotional Intelligence: Painting Different Paths for Low-Anxious and High-Anxious Psychopathic Variants

Psychopathic individuals may be disaggregated into low-anxious (emotionally stable ‘‘primary psychopaths’’) and high-anxious (emotionally disturbed ‘‘secondary psychopaths’’) variants that may differ in their capacity for adaptive behavior. In turn, the skills encompassed by emotional intelligence (EI) predict social and
business success. Based on a sample of 188 male undergraduates, we evaluate the performance of low-anxious psychopathic, high-anxious psychopathic, and low psychopathic comparison groups on a measure of EI. Highanxious psychopaths manifested significantly lower EI than the other two groups, particularly with respect to managing emotions and facilitating thoughts. In contrast, low-anxious psychopaths manifested intact EI, with skill in facilitating thoughts. High-anxious (but not low anxious) psychopaths were more likely than low psychopathic comparisons to manifest violence. These results are consistent with the notion that primary psychopaths have greater capacity to attain success in traditional society than secondary psychopaths, and invite a direct test of this hypothesis in future research.