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

ABSTRACT 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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