Deficient Response Modulation and Emotion Processing in Low-Anxious Caucasian Psychopathic Offenders. Results From a Lexical Decision Task

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.
Emotion (Impact Factor: 3.88). 07/2002; 2(2):91-104. DOI: 10.1037//1528-3542.2.2.91
Source: PubMed


The clinical and research literatures on psychopathy have identified an emotion paradox: Psychopaths display normal appraisal but impaired use of emotion cues. Using R. D. Hare's (1991) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and the G. S. Welsh Anxiety Scale (1956), the authors identified low-anxious psychopaths and controls and examined predictions concerning their performance on a lexical-decision task. Results supported all the predictions: (a) low-anxious psychopaths appraised emotion cues as well as controls; (b) their lexical decisions were relatively unaffected by emotion cues; (c) their lexical decisions were relatively unaffected by affectively neutral word-frequency cues; and (d) their performance deficits were specific to conditions involving right-handed responses. The authors propose that deficient response modulation may underlie both the emotional and cognitive deficits associated with low-anxious psychopaths.

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Available from: Joseph P Newman, Sep 25, 2015
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    • "As noted, there is much evidence that individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits are less sensitive to cues of distress in others (Blair & Mitchell, 2009). Additionally, findings from learning studies suggest that the rewardfocused behaviour of such individuals may be more resistant to interference from peripheral emotional stimuli than that of individuals low in psychopathic traits (Lorenz & Newman, 2002; Mitchell, Richell, Leonard, & Blair, 2006). It was therefore hypothesised that psychopathic traits would be inversely associated with cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma, but that this association would be strongest when individuals were provided with feedback on the emotional cues of their opponent. "
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    • "Deficits in emotion processing related to psychopathy have been demonstrated across multiple modalities. Psychopathic males show reduced physiological responses to unpleasant and fear-inducing events (Patrick et al., 1993, 1994), impaired ability to identify multiple types of facial and vocal expressions (Blair et al., 2002; Kosson et al., 2002; Glass and Newman, 2006; Bagley et al., 2009; Dawel et al., 2012), and reduced response facilitation to emotional words in lexical decision tasks (Lorenz and Newman, 2002). Fewer investigations of these processes have been conducted in female psychopathy. "
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