Deficient Fear Conditioning in Psychopathy

Niels Birbaumer, Ralf Veit, Martin Lotze, Michael Erb, Christiane Hermann, Wolfgang Grodd, Herta Flor
2005 Archives of General Psychiatry  
Context: Psychopaths belong to a larger group of persons with antisocial personality disorder and are characterized by an inability to have emotional involvement and by the repeated violation of the rights of others. It was hypothesized that this behavior might be the consequence of deficient fear conditioning. Objective: To study the cerebral, peripheral, and subjective correlates of fear conditioning in criminal psychopaths and healthy control subjects. Design: An aversive differential
more » ... an delay conditioning paradigm with slides of neutral faces serving as conditioned and painful pressure as unconditioned stimuli. Setting: Participants: Ten male psychopaths as defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and 10 age-and education-matched healthy male controls. The psychopaths were criminal offenders on bail and waiting for their trial or were on parole. The healthy controls were recruited from the community. Main Outcome Measures: Brain activation based on functional magnetic resonance imaging, electrodermal responses, emotional valence, arousal, and contingency ratings.
doi:10.1001/archpsyc.62.7.799 pmid:15997022 fatcat:2sic3vappbgyza7dvkgygefmra