Localization of Deformations Within the Amygdala in Individuals With Psychopathy

Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Archives of general psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.48). 10/2009; 66(9):986-94. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.110
Source: PubMed


Despite the repeated findings of impaired fear conditioning and affective recognition in psychopathic individuals, there has been a paucity of brain imaging research on the amygdala and no evidence suggesting which regions within the amygdala may be structurally compromised in individuals with psychopathy.
To detect global and regional anatomical abnormalities in the amygdala in individuals with psychopathy.
Cross-sectional design using structural magnetic resonance imaging.
Participants were recruited from high-risk communities (temporary employment agencies) in the Los Angeles, California, area and underwent imaging at a hospital research facility at the University of Southern California.
Twenty-seven psychopathic individuals as defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and 32 normal controls matched on age, sex, and ethnicity.
Amygdala volumes were examined using traditional volumetric analyses and surface-based mesh modeling methods were used to localize regional surface deformations.
Individuals with psychopathy showed significant bilateral volume reductions in the amygdala compared with controls (left, 17.1%; right, 18.9%). Surface deformations were localized in regions in the approximate vicinity of the basolateral, lateral, cortical, and central nuclei of the amygdala. Significant correlations were found between reduced amygdala volumes and increased total and facet psychopathy scores, with correlations strongest for the affective and interpersonal facets of psychopathy.
Results provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of focal amygdala abnormalities in psychopathic individuals and corroborate findings from previous lesion studies. Findings support prior hypotheses of amygdala deficits in individuals with psychopathy and indicate that amygdala abnormalities contribute to emotional and behavioral symptoms of psychopathy.

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Available from: Patrick M Colletti, Mar 16, 2015
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    • "Furthermore, the present findings strongly indicate structural abnormalities in the amygdala in alexithymia and empathy . Similar findings have been reported for psychopathic traits (e.g., Yang et al., 2009; Vieira et al., 2015) antisocial personality disorder (e.g., Hyde et al., 2014; see Glenn and Raine, 2014, for a review), and conduct disorder (e.g., Raine, 2011), all of which are—like alexithymia and lack of empathy—linked to social dysfunction. Together, these findings substantiate the role of the amygdala as a critical hub in social networks (Bickart et al., 2014) and suggest a causal relationship between this region and dysfunctions in social behavior (for a review, see Glenn and Raine, 2014 "
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    ABSTRACT: Alexithymia, a deficit in emotional self-awareness, and deficits in empathy, which encompasses the awareness of other's emotions, are related constructs that are both associated with a range of psychopathological disorders. Neuroimaging studies suggest that there is overlap between the neural bases of alexithymia and empathy, but no systematic comparison has been conducted so far. The aim of this structural magnetic resonance imaging study was to disentangle the overlap and differences between the morphological profiles of the cognitive and affective dimensions of alexithymia and empathy, and to find out to what extent these differ between women and men. High-resolution T1 anatomical images were obtained from 125 healthy right-handers (18 - 42 years), 70 women and 55 men. By means of voxel-based morphometry, region of interest (ROI) analyses were performed on gray matter volumes of several anatomically defined a-priori regions previously linked to alexithymia and empathy. Partial correlations were conducted within the female and male group using ROI parameter estimates as dependent variables and the cognitive and affective dimensions of alexithymia and empathy, respectively, as predictors, controlling for age. Results were considered significant if they survived Holm-Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. The left amygdala was identified as a key substrate of both alexithymia and empathy. This association was characterized by an opposite pattern: The cognitive alexithymia dimension was linked to smaller, the two empathy dimensions to larger left amygdala volume. While sex-specific effects were not observed for empathy, they were evident for the affective alexithymia dimension: Men - but not women - with difficulty fantasizing had smaller gray matter volume in the middle cingulate cortex. Moreover, structural covariance patterns between the left amygdala and other emotion-related brain regions differed markedly between alexithymia and empathy. These differences may underlie the complex patterns of deficits in emotional self- and other-awareness observed across a range of psychopathological conditions. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 08/2015; 122. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.08.014 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    • "To date, few studies have linked Factor 1 scores to structural neuroimaging measures. Factor 1 traits have been associated with decreased amygdala volume [Yang et al., 2009] and increased caudate volume [Glenn et al., 2010], although larger studies have not found consistent relationships between Factor 1 traits and regional gray matter volume [Cope et al., 2012; Ermer et al., 2012]. Our results suggest that Factor 1 traits may be underpinned partly by deficient fronto-temporal connectivity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by callous lack of empathy, impulsive antisocial behavior, and criminal recidivism. Here, we performed the largest diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study of incarcerated criminal offenders to date (N = 147) to determine whether psychopathy severity is linked to the microstructural integrity of major white matter tracts in the brain. Consistent with the results of previous studies in smaller samples, we found that psychopathy was associated with reduced fractional anisotropy in the right uncinate fasciculus (UF; the major white matter tract connecting ventral frontal and anterior temporal cortices). We found no such association in the left UF or in adjacent frontal or temporal white matter tracts. Moreover, the right UF finding was specifically related to the interpersonal features of psychopathy (glib superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulativeness), rather than the affective, antisocial, or lifestyle features. These results indicate a neural marker for this key dimension of psychopathic symptomatology. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 07/2015; 36(10). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22911 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    • "Kent A. Kiehl (2007) a neuroscientist conducted a longitudinal research to find out the effect of dysfunctional anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) on prisoners antisocial behavior that would leads to future crime, return the results that criminals with lower activation of ACC show higher probability of rearrestment as compared to criminals with higher activation of ACC (Aharoni et al., 2013). Research by Yang et al (2009) with 86 subjects from 5 impermanent employment agencies in Los Angeles, California revealed that the : 1. Regional structural deformity in the amygdala of psychopath demonstrate relatively higher rates of psychopathy or antisocial. 2. individuals with psychopathy presented a vital decrease in the volume of amygdala compared with controls (F2, 55=3.85; "
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    ABSTRACT: Study of brain malfunctioning effects on the behavior of criminal had been carried out ever since 18th century. There are many region of interest of the brain considered to play this important role. Two types of brain regions were used to study in this project, which were anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and amygdala. ACC functions as recognizing faults or deficits within certain standards, making expectations and predictions before carry out a task and regulating emotions, while amygdala function in emotional processing such as fear, anger and happiness. Meta-analysis method was used to study the role effect of ACC and amygdala towards the behavior of criminals in terms of antisocial and aggressiveness. This method was generally used because it was a statistical technique that can combine segregated independent studies to come out with one stable summarization without prejudices and the net benefit summative over included studies can be estimated. As a result, rostral ACC with -1.44 of effect size and right amygdala with -2.35 of effect size had indicated a higher level of effects compared to other brain regions. In summary, different regions of ACC and amygdala had indicated different level of effects towards the behavior of a criminal, which will be discussed further in this project, as well as for future treatment and implementation. Keywords: anterior cingulate cortex, ACC, amygdala, antisocial behavior, aggressive behavior, psychopath, criminal
    FYP EXPO, UNIMAS CAIS Level G & LG; 05/2015
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