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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    • "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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