Katie O'Farrell

Research group:
Developmental & Health Psychology
029 208 76770
57, Park Place

Research summary

Psychopathy is characterised by a callous, interpersonal affective style alongside antisocial and deviant behaviour. Research on the nature of emotional dysfunction in psychopaths has indicated a severe discrepancy: Psychopaths appears to have a cognitive understanding of emotion alongside an absence of any experiential value. My PhD is designed to examine the nature of this ‘callous empathy’ in psychopathy in order to clarify at which stage of emotional processing the deficit lies. This will be accomplished through utilising a 3 stage structure of behavioural tasks, in line with appraisalist theories of emotion: tasks will assess recognition and identification of facial emotion of others; the affective state produced in response to this encountered emotion, and the regulation of the affective state and behaviour.

Teaching summary

2012 – present: First year undergraduate psychology PG tutor; conducting tutorials on statistics and practical report writing, marking assessed practical reports.

Jan-Feb 2013: Second year undergraduate psychology practical support; providing statistical support to students undertaking a practical assignment with Prof Robert Snowden.

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Full list of publications


Research topics and related papers

Research topics: The nature of the emotional dysfunction in psychopathy, with specific analysis of facial emotion recognition


I was awarded a full Travelling Studentship in Humanities and Social Sciences from the National University of Ireland (NUI) in order to undertake my PhD at Cardiff University.  I am also a recipient of a top-up scholarship from the School of Psychology at Cardiff University.

Research group

Developmental & Health Psychology

Research collaborators

Professor Robert Snowden
Professor Nicola Gray

Undergraduate education

2004 – 2007. BA Drama and Theatre Studies and Politics, University College Cork, Republic of Ireland. First class honours

Awards: Title of University Scholar awarded based on first year academic results

Postgraduate education

2008 – 2009. PGCert in Psychology, Oxford Brookes University, England. 2.1 Hons
2010 – 2011. PGDip in Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales, Distinction

Awards/external committees

I was awarded a full (4 year) Travelling Studentship in Humanities and Social Sciences from the National University of Ireland (NUI), one of 6 students awarded from a national selection.


June – October 2011: Undergraduate Research Opportunity Placement (UROP) at Cardiff University. Here I worked with Dr Chris Chambers examining impulsivity and snacking.