Deficient response modulation and emotion processing in low-anxious Caucasian psychopathic offenders: results from a lexical decision task.
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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ABSTRACT: Appropriate reactivity to emotional facial expressions, even if these are seen whilst we are engaged in another activity, is critical for successful social interaction. Children with conduct problems (CP) and high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits are characterized by blunted reactivity to other people's emotions, while children with CP and low levels of CU traits can over-react to perceived emotional threat. No study to date has compared children with CP and high vs. low levels of CU traits to typically developing (TD) children or each other, using a task that assesses attentional capture by irrelevant emotional faces.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:570. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Purpose ‐ The present study aims to examine the influence of emotional content and gender pertaining to victim impact statements (VIS) on sentencing outcomes. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The authors used a 2 (emotionality)×2 (participant gender)×2 (victim gender)×2 (statement gender) factorial design. Participants (n=715) read a crime vignette and corresponding VIS, and completed questionnaires pertaining to sentencing recommendations, legal attitudes, and levels of emotional empathy (counterbalanced). Findings ‐ Results indicated that participant gender was related to the emotional appeal of the VIS, and ratings of punishment severity. Emotional empathy was positively associated with perceptions of credibility and emotionality. Higher legal attitudes scores were positively correlated with higher minimum sentences, ratings of credibility, emotional appeal, as well as more severe punishments. Originality/value ‐ This study has important implications with respect to perceptions of VIS in relation to how emotional they are, who the victim is, who the statement is written by, and who hears the statement. Given the lack of previous research in this area, the study provides data that warrant further investigation.Journal of Criminal Psychology. 09/2012; 2(2).
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ABSTRACT: This study presents the first neuroimaging investigation of female psychopathy in an incarcerated population. Prior studies have found that male psychopathy is associated with reduced limbic and paralimbic activation when processing emotional stimuli and making moral judgments. The goal of this study was to investigate whether these findings extend to female psychopathy. During fMRI scanning, 157 incarcerated and 46 non-incarcerated female participants viewed unpleasant pictures, half which depicted moral transgressions, and neutral pictures. Participants rated each picture on moral transgression severity. Psychopathy was assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) in all incarcerated participants. Non-incarcerated participants were included as a control group to derive brain regions of interest associated with viewing unpleasant vs. neutral pictures (emotion contrast), and unpleasant pictures depicting moral transgressions vs. unpleasant pictures without moral transgressions (moral contrast). Regression analyses in the incarcerated group examined the association between PCL-R scores and brain activation in the emotion and moral contrasts. Results of the emotion contrast revealed a negative correlation between PCL-R scores and activation in the right amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate. Results of the moral contrast revealed a negative correlation between PCL-R scores and activation in the right temporo-parietal junction. These results indicate that female psychopathy, like male psychopathy, is characterized by reduced limbic activation during emotion processing. In contrast, reduced temporo-parietal activation to moral transgressions has been less observed in male psychopathy. These results extend prior findings in male psychopathy to female psychopathy, and reveal aberrant neural responses to morally-salient stimuli that may be unique to female psychopathy.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 09/2014; 8:741. · 2.90 Impact Factor