Budhani S, Blair RJ. Response reversal and children with psychopathic tendencies: success is a function of salience of contingency change. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 46: 972-981

Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Heath, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2670, USA.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 10/2005; 46(9):972-81. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00398.x
Source: PubMed


Previous work has inconsistently reported difficulties with response reversal/extinction in children with psychopathic tendencies.
We tested the hypothesis that the degree of impairment seen in children with psychopathic tendencies is a function of the salience of contingency change. We investigated the performance of children with psychopathic tendencies on a novel probabilistic response reversal task involving four conditions with gradated reward-punishment contingencies (100-0, 90-10, 80-20 and 70-30; i.e., for the 100-0 contingency, responding to one object is always rewarded while responding to the other is always punished).
In line with predictions, the impairment seen in the children with psychopathic tendencies was an inverse function of the salience of the contingency change.
We suggest that this data is consistent with suggestions of subtle orbital frontal cortex impairment in children with psychopathic tendencies.

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    • "Adults and youth with elevated psychopathic traits exhibit similar paralimbic neural dysfunction (Blair, 2006; Budhani and Blair, 2005; Cope et al., 2014; Ermer et al., 2012, 2013; Harenski et al., 2014; Kiehl, 2006; Lockwood et al., 2013; Marsh et al., 2008; Motzkin et al., 2011; Raine et al., 2003). Deficits appear to be specific to the orbitofrontal cortex (Budhani and Blair, 2005; Cope et al., 2014; Ermer et al., 2013), insula (Lockwood et al., 2013), amygdala (Harenski et al., 2014; Marsh et al., 2008), PCC (Ermer et al., 2013), parahippocampal gyrus (Ermer et al., 2013), and ACC (Cope et al., 2014; Ermer et al., 2013; Marsh et al., 2008). Well-established structural differences have been identified between adults and youth with and without elevated psychopathic or CU/CD traits. "
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    ABSTRACT: Classification models are becoming useful tools for finding patterns in neuroimaging data sets that are not observable to the naked eye. Many of these models are applied to discriminating clinical groups such as schizophrenic patients from healthy controls or from patients with bipolar disorder. A more nuanced model might be to discriminate between levels of personality traits. Here, as a proof-of-concept, we take an initial step toward developing prediction models to differentiate individuals based on a personality disorder: psychopathy. We included three groups of adolescent participants: incarcerated youth with elevated psychopathic traits (i.e., callous and unemotional traits and conduct disordered traits; n = 71), incarcerated youth with low psychopathic traits (n =72), and non-incarcerated youth as healthy controls (n = 21). Support vector machine (SVM) learning models were developed to separate these groups using an out-of-sample cross-validation method on voxel-based morphometry (VBM) data. Regions-of-interest from the paralimbic system, identified in an independent forensic sample, were successful in differentiating youth groups. Models seeking to classify incarcerated individuals to have high or low psychopathic traits achieved 69.23% overall accuracy. As expected, accuracy increased in models differentiating healthy controls from individuals with high psychopathic traits (82.61%) and low psychopathic traits (80.65%). Here we have laid the foundation for using neural correlates of personality traits to identify group membership within and beyond psychopathy. This is only the first step, of many, toward prediction models using neural measures as a proxy for personality traits. As these methods are improved, prediction models with neural measures of personality traits could have far-reaching impact on diagnosis, treatment, and prediction of future behavior.
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    • "In OFC, Finger et al. (2011) found reduced fMRI responses in a network of regions including OFC during a reinforcement learning task in youths with CP and elevated psychopathic traits; while Marsh et al. (2011) found reduced OFC-amygdala connectivity in a similar sample during a moral judgment task. Behavioural work has also shown subtle impairments on OFC-dependent tasks such as reversal learning (e.g., Budhani and Blair 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic, behavioural and functional neuroimaging studies have revealed that different vulnerabilities characterise children with conduct problems and high levels of callous-unemotional traits (CP/HCU) compared with children with conduct problems and low callous-unemotional traits (CP/LCU). We used voxel-based morphometry to study grey matter volume (GMV) in 89 male participants (aged 10-16), 60 of whom exhibited CP. The CP group was subdivided into CP/HCU (n = 29) and CP/LCU (n = 31). Whole-brain and regional GMV were compared across groups (CP vs. typically developing (TD) controls (n = 29); and CP/HCU vs. CP/LCU vs. TD). Whole-brain analyses showed reduced GMV in left middle frontal gyrus in the CP/HCU group compared with TD controls. Region-of-interest analyses showed reduced volume in bilateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the CP group as a whole compared with TD controls. Reduced volume in left OFC was found to be driven by the CP/HCU group only, with significant reductions relative to both TD controls and the CP/LCU group, and no difference between these latter two groups. Within the CP group left OFC volume was significantly predicted by CU traits, but not conduct disorder symptoms. Reduced right anterior cingulate cortex volume was also found in CP/HCU compared with TD controls. Our results support previous findings indicating that GMV differences in brain regions central to decision-making and empathy are implicated in CP. However, they extend these data to suggest that some of these differences might specifically characterise the subgroup with CP/HCU, with GMV reduction in left OFC differentiating children with CP/HCU from those with CP/LCU.
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    • "Psychopathy has also been related to impaired punishment and reward learning, particularly on tasks involving aversive information (Flor, Birbaumer, Hermann, Ziegler, & Patrick, 2002;Mitchell et al., 2006), as well as emotional memory (Dolan & Fullam, 2005;Glass & Newman, 2009). Finally, high levels of psychopathy are associated with impairments in learning to change or stop behaviour when reinforcement contingencies change (Budhani & Blair, 2005;Mitchell et al., 2002). A number of neuroscientific studies have related psychopathy to alterations in brain structure and function (for a comprehensive review, see Muller, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychopathy is a complex developmental personality disorder. Recent theories have linked psychopathy to impairment in the frontostriatal circuitry linking the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Similar neural regions have been implicated in decision-making. Given the importance of decision-making in the context of personal and societal problems, together with the convergence of brain regions important in both decision-making and psychopathy, the study of decision-making in psychopathy has the potential to illuminate important cognitive and neurobiological bases for psychopathy. In this review, we synthesise past research on psychopathy and decision-making, and then describe three decision-making tasks that we predict would be useful for understanding cognitive decisional processes in psychopathy. © 2015 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
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