Set-Congruent Priming Stimuli Normalize the Information Processing of Psychopathic Offenders
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment | Uitgave 2/2017Log in om toegang te krijgen
Psychopathic individuals display characteristic deficits in processing emotion cues, the abstract meaning of words, and peripheral inhibitory cues, that have been linked to deficits in self-regulation and antisocial behavior. One view, supported by recent research, is that psychopathic individuals have difficulty processing set-incongruent information and that their difficulty may be ameliorated using task manipulations that establish a set-relevant focus of attention. We evaluated this characterization of the psychopathic deficit using a lexical decision (i.e., word recognition) task and priming manipulation that caused target stimuli to be set-congruent or set-incongruent. As predicted, low-anxious (i.e., primary) psychopathic participants displayed a significantly greater priming effect than low anxious non-psychopathic participants. The results highlight the potential value of priming relevant cognitive sets to overcome the costly information processing deficits associated with psychopathy. Treatment efforts emphasizing a balance of attention between primary and peripheral information may prove especially effective for reducing maladaptive behavior in psychopathic individuals.