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01-12-2014 | Uitgave 4/2014

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2014

Psychophysiological and Neuropsychological Characteristics of Non-Incarcerated Adult Males with Higher Levels of Psychopathic Personality Traits

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2014
Auteurs:
Eric H. Zimak, Julie Suhr, Elizabeth M. Bolinger

Abstract

Although much research on psychopathic individuals has been conducted in incarcerated settings, there is increasing interest in studying adults with higher levels of psychopathic traits in the general population. The present study investigated differences in psychophysiological response and neuropsychological functioning between undergraduate males with higher levels of psychopathic traits (higher-p) and undergraduate males with lower levels of psychopathic traits (lower-p). Participants completed self-report measures and neuropsychological measures, and skin conductance response was measured during a risk-taking and affective-picture viewing task. Consistent with previous findings among samples of incarcerated psychopaths, higher-p adults exhibited diminished responses to aversive and positive affective stimuli and were more disinhibited on a motoric response inhibition task. Contrary to expectations, higher-p adults made marginally better decisions on a risky decision making task. Findings were discussed in relation to Gao and Raines’ (Behavioral Sciences & the Law 28(2) 194–210, 2010) model of the neurobiological underpinnings of adults with higher levels of psychopathic traits in non-incarcerated settings, and offer evidence that higher-p adults have both adaptive and non-adaptive traits.

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