Article

Prefrontal Structural and Functional Brain Imaging Findings in Antisocial, Violent, and Psychopathic Individuals: A Meta-Analysis

Laboratory of NeuroImaging, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 11/2009; 174(2):81-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.03.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Brain-imaging studies suggest that antisocial and violent behavior is associated with structural and functional deficits in the prefrontal cortex, but there is heterogeneity in findings and it is unclear whether findings apply to psychopaths, non-violent offenders, community-based samples, and studies employing psychiatric controls. A meta-analysis was conducted on 43 structural and functional imaging studies, and the results show significantly reduced prefrontal structure and function in antisocial individuals. Effect sizes were significant for both structural and functional studies. With minor exceptions, no statistically significant moderating effects of sample characteristics and methodological variables were observed. Findings were localized to the right orbitofrontal cortex, right anterior cingulate cortex, and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Findings confirm the replicability of prefrontal structural and functional impairments in antisocial populations and highlight the involvement of orbitofrontal, dorsolateral frontal, and anterior cingulate cortex in antisocial behavior.

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    • "Gregory et al. (2012) found reduced prefrontal GMV in offenders with APD, who were classified as psychopaths, relative to offenders with APD 'alone', and suggested that psychopathy represents a distinct phenotype. Moreover, psychopathy and persistent violence have also been associated with decreased gray matter in limbic and paralimbic areas such as the amygdala , the insula, the hippocampus, or the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) (e.g., Boccardi et al., 2011; Contreras- Rodrı´guez et al., 2014; Yang and Raine, 2009; Ermer et al., 2012; de Oliveira-Souza et al., 2008). Existing results are somehow inconsistent, as Boccardi et al. (2011) reported enlargement of the lateral and central nucleus of the amygdala in offenders relative to controls. "
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    • "Research findings have found evidence that exposure to media violence (McCrory et al., 2010), abuse (Hart & Rubia, 2012; McCrory et al., 2010), and the condition of conduct disorder (Yang & Raine, 2009) collectively impact similar areas of the brain among children and adolescents. Evidence links exposure to violence with the development of abnormalities in the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and striatum (Hart & Rubia, 2012; McCrory et al., 2010; Yang & Raine, 2009). When considering that these structures are theorized to be involved in empathy , emotional regulation, decision-making, and aggression, evidence suggests a link between exposure to violence, neurological correlates of violence, and antisocial behavior (Mehta, Goetz, & Carré, 2013). "
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    • "Our failure to detect group differences in amygdala and hippocampus volumes was therefore unexpected ( see Supplementary Materials for data and further discussion ) . Moreover , OFC abnormalities are consistently noted in clinically diagnosed BPD and ASPDs ( Yang and Raine , 2009 ; Sato et al . , 2012 ) , but here , we only found preliminary evidence that lateral OFC SA may be lower in subjects with Cluster B PD - Sx ( see Supplementary Materials ) . "
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