Article

Early temperamental and psychophysiological precursors of adult psychopathic personality

Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 09/2007; 116(3):508-18. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.116.3.508
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emerging research on psychopathy in children and adolescents raises the question of whether indicators, such as temperament or psychophysiology, exist very early in life in those with a psychopathic-like personality in adulthood. This study tests the hypothesis that individuals who are more psychopathic in adulthood would be less fearful and inhibited and more stimulation seeking/sociable at age 3 and that they would also show reduced age 3 skin-conductance (SC) responsivity. In a community sample of 335 3-year-olds, behavioral measures of temperament were taken and electrodermal activity was recorded in response to both orienting and aversive tones. R. D. Hare's (1985) Self-Report Psychopathy scale (SRP-II) was administered at follow-up at age 28. Individuals scoring higher on the measure were significantly less fearful and inhibited, were more sociable, and displayed longer SC half-recovery times to aversive stimuli compared with controls at age 3. Contrary to predictions, they also showed increased autonomic arousal and SC orienting. Findings appear to be the first to suggest that a prospective link may exist between temperament and psychophysiology in very young children and psychopathic personality in adulthood.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Andrea L Glenn, Jun 11, 2015
2 Followers
 · 
122 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article provides a comprehensive review of the research on the use of callous and unemotional (CU) traits for designating an important subgroup of children and adolescents with severe conduct problems. It focuses on the etiological significance of recognizing this subgroup of youths with severe conduct problems, its implications for diagnostic classification, and the treatment implications of this research. The review highlights limitations in existing research and provides directions for future research. The available research suggests that children and adolescents with severe conduct problems and elevated CU traits show distinct genetic, cognitive, emotional, biological, environmental, and personality characteristics that seem to implicate different etiological factors underlying their behavior problems relative to other youths with severe conduct problems. Recognizing these subgroups could be critical for guiding future research on the causes of severe conduct problems in children and adolescents. Further, children and adolescents with both severe conduct problems and elevated CU traits appear to be at risk for more severe and persistent antisocial outcomes, even controlling for the severity of their conduct problems, the age of onset of their conduct problems, and common comorbid problems, which supports the clinical importance of designating this group in diagnostic classification systems. Finally, although children and adolescents with both severe conduct problems and elevated CU traits tend to respond less positively to typical interventions provided in mental health and juvenile justice settings, they show positive responses to certain intensive interventions tailored to their unique emotional and cognitive characteristics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychological Bulletin 06/2013; 140(1). DOI:10.1037/a0033076 · 14.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Psychopathy is a developmental disorder associated with core affective traits, such as low empathy, guilt, and remorse, and with antisocial and aggressive behaviors. Recent neurocognitive and neuroimaging studies of psychopathy in both institutionalized and community samples have begun to illuminate the basis of this condition, in particular the ways that psychopathy affects the experience and recognition of fear. In this review, I will consider how understanding emotional processes in psychopathy can shed light on the three questions central to the study of emotion: (1) Are emotions discrete, qualitatively distinct phenomena, or quantitatively varying phenomena best described in terms of dimensions like arousal and valence? (2) What are the brain structures involved in generating specific emotions like fear, if any? And (3) how do our own experiences of emotion pertain to our perceptions of and responses to others' emotion? I conclude that insights afforded by the study of psychopathy may provide better understanding of not only fundamental social phenomena like empathy and aggression, but of the basic emotional processes that motivate these behaviors.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2013; 7:181. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00181 · 2.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The orienting response is a widely used experimental paradigm that reflects the association between electrodermal activity and psychological processes. The present study examined the genetic and environmental etiology of skin conductance orienting response (SCOR) magnitude in a sample of twins assessed at ages 9-10, 11-13 and 14-16 years. Structural equation modeling at each visit showed that genetic influences explained 56%, 83%, and 48% of the total variance in SCOR at visits 1, 2, and 3, respectively, with the remaining variance explained by non-shared environmental factors. SCOR was moderately stable across ages, with phenotypic correlations between time points ranging from .35 to .45. A common genetic factor explained 36%, 45% and 49% of the variance in SCOR magnitude across development. Additional age-specific genetic effects were found at ages 9-10 and 11-13 years, explaining 18% and 35% of the variance, respectively. The genetic correlations among the three time points were high, ranging from .55 to .73, indicating a substantial continuity in genetic influences from ages 9 to 16. These findings suggest that genetic factors are important influences in SCOR magnitude during late childhood and adolescence.
    Biological psychology 09/2011; 89(1):47-53. DOI:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.09.003 · 3.47 Impact Factor