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Kevin Dutton

B.Sc, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Summary

I am a research psychologist with two main areas of interest: 1.) Persuasion and social influence; and 2.) The psychopathic personality.

In relation to the former, I currently hold research grants from the Ministry of Defence and the USAF to investigate the effects of both covert and overt surveillance on behaviour, especially within the context of promoting prosocial action.

In relation to the latter, my research primarily focuses on how certain functional psychopathic personality variables may predispose individuals to flourish in a variety of professional arenas - how natural variation on the psychopathic spectrum can influence success or failure depending on social context and other individual characteristics.

To illustrate, I currently head a research programme entitled "The Role of Personality Traits and Emotion Regulation Skills in Various Occupational Domains."

Good emotion regulation skills are a significant predictor of successful navigation of work-related social situations and, in combination with high scores on the psychopathic spectrum, can code for success in certain professions such as politics, investment fund management, surgery, and the military.

While there is some preliminary evidence for this notion there is a need for further empirical work to determine the respective roles of a) psychopathic (and other personality) traits and b) emotion regulation skills as determinants of success in these occupations.

Thus my research programme comprises two parts.

First, the aim is to provide basic scientific evidence on the role of these aspects (personality traits and emotion regulation skills) in politics, investment banking, surgery, and the military.

Second, having established the basic empirical evidence a follow-up aim is to determine whether emotion regulation skills and/or certain personality traits can be boosted by valid scientific means (e.g., cognitive training interventions) to improve job performance and decision making in these occupations. 

Engaging the public with psychology is also a priority and I divide my time between lab-based research and popular writing. 


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