Article

Effects of comorbid psychopathy on criminal offending and emotion processing in male offenders with Antisocial Personality Disorder. J Abnorm Psychol

Department of Psychology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 12/2006; 115(4):798-806. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.115.4.798
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and psychopathy are two syndromes with substantial construct validity. To clarify relations between these syndromes, the authors evaluated 3 possibilities: (a) that ASPD with psychopathy and ASPD without psychopathy reflect a common underlying pathophysiology; (b) that ASPD with psychopathy and ASPD without psychopathy identify 2 distinct syndromes, similar in some respects; and (c) that most correlates of ASPD reflect its comorbidity with psychopathy. Participants were 472 incarcerated European American men who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (4th ed., American Psychiatric Association, 1994) criteria for ASPD and Psychopathy Checklist criteria for psychopathy, who met the criteria for ASPD but not for psychopathy, or who did not meet diagnostic criteria for either ASPD or psychopathy (controls). Both individuals with ASPD only and those with ASPD and psychopathy were characterized by more criminal activity than were controls. In addition, ASPD with psychopathy was associated with more severe criminal behavior and weaker emotion facilitation than ASPD alone. Group differences in the association between emotion dysfunction and criminal behavior suggest tentatively that ASPD with and ASPD without prominent psychopathic features may be distinct syndromes.

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    • "Although these findings have been confirmed in the metaanalysis of Marsh and Blair (2008), others suggest more pervasive impairments including deficits for expressions of sadness and disgust (Kosson et al., 2002; Dolan and Fullam, 2006; also see Dawel et al., 2012). Similar to adult studies, callousunemotional (CU) traits in developmental samples have also been linked with impaired recognition of sad and afraid facial expressions (Blair et al., 2001; Muñoz, 2009), and afraid bodily postures (Muñoz, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychopathic traits are linked with impairments in emotion recognition, and reduced attention to the eyes has been noted among children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. However, similar findings are yet to be found in relation to psychopathic traits among adult male participants. Here we investigated the relationship of primary (selfish, uncaring) and secondary (impulsive, antisocial) psychopathic traits with attention to the eyes among adult male non-offenders during an emotion recognition task. We measured the number of fixations, and overall dwell time, on the eyes and the mouth of male and female faces showing the six basic emotions at varying levels of intensity. We found no relationship of primary or secondary psychopathic traits with recognition accuracy. However, primary psychopathic traits were associated with a reduced number of fixations, and lower overall dwell time, on the eyes relative to the mouth across expressions, intensity, and sex. Furthermore, the relationship of primary psychopathic traits with attention to the eyes of angry and fearful faces was influenced by the sex and intensity of the expression. We also showed that a greater number of fixations on the eyes, relative to the mouth, was associated with increased accuracy for angry and fearful expression recognition. These results are the first to show effects of psychopathic traits on attention to the eyes of emotional faces in an adult male sample, and may support amygdala based accounts of psychopathy. These findings may also have methodological implications for clinical studies of emotion recognition.
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    • "In support of a theoretical distinction between psychopathy and ASPD, findings indicate that offenders with ASPD plus psychopathy show a more severe pattern of offending relative to those with ASPD in the absence of psychopathy, and those with neither diagnosis [9]. Additional evidence points to differences in the processing of emotional stimuli between psychopaths and non-psychopaths with ASPD [9,10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychopathic personality traits are linked with selfish and non-cooperative responses during economical decision making games. However, the possibility that these responses may vary when responding to members of the in-group and the out-group has not yet been explored. We aimed to examine the effects of primary (selfish, uncaring) and secondary (impulsive, irresponsible) psychopathic personality traits on the responses of non-offending participants to the in-group and the out-group (defined in terms of affiliation to a UK University) across a series of economical decision making games. We asked a total of 60 participants to act as the proposer in both the dictator game and the ultimatum game. We found that across both tasks, those who scored highly for secondary psychopathic traits showed an elevated intergroup bias, making more generous offers toward members of the in-group relative to the out-group. An exaggerated intergroup bias may therefore represent a motivational factor for the antisocial behavior of those with elevated secondary psychopathic traits.
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    • "In contrast, antisocial individuals without psychopathy and delinquent controls showed emotional facilitation (Kosson et al., 2006). Affective processing in psychopaths has also been studied using lexical decision tasks (Intrator et al., 1997; Kiehl et al., 1999; Williamson et al., 1991). "
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    ABSTRACT: Offenders with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) may be characterized by a lack in emotional functioning that manifests in irritability and a lack of remorse. The proposed link between ASPD and negative emotionality led to the question of emotional processing anomalies in ASPD. Furthermore, the effect of childhood maltreatment/abuse on emotional processing was tested in the present study. Violent and sexual offenders with ASPD (n=35), without ASPD (n=34), and healthy non-criminal controls (n=24) were compared in an Emotional Stroop Task (EST) using neutral, negative, and violence-related words. Secondary analyses focused on the effect of psychopathic traits and childhood maltreatment. Offenders with ASPD showed a stronger attentional bias to violence-related and negative words as compared to controls. Comparable results were obtained when grouping offenders to high, medium, and low psychopathic subgroups. Offenders with childhood maltreatment specifically showed stronger violence-related attentional bias than non-maltreated offenders. The data suggest that enhanced attention to violence-related stimuli in adult criminal offenders is associated with adverse developmental experiences and delinquency but to a lesser extent with antisocial or psychopathic traits.
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