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Electrophysiology of blunted emotional bias in psychopathic personality

Authors

  • Patrick L. Carolan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory for Affective and Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Law and Forensic Psychology Program, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
    • Address correspondence to: Patrick L. Carolan, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada. E-mail: pcarolan@sfu.ca

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  • Fern Jaspers-Fayer,

    1. Laboratory for Affective and Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Deyar T. Asmaro,

    1. Laboratory for Affective and Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Kevin S. Douglas,

    1. Law and Forensic Psychology Program, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Mid-Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden
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  • Mario Liotti

    1. Laboratory for Affective and Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
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  • This research was supported by grants from the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and the Institute for Studies on Affective Neuroscience (ISAN) to M.L., and grants from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) to K.S.D.

Abstract

Diminished emotional capacity is a core characteristic of psychopathic personality. We examined behavioral and electrophysiological differences in attentional bias to emotional material in 34 healthy individuals rated high or low in psychopathic traits using the short form of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory–Revised (18 high-trait, 16 low-trait). While performing an emotional Stroop task, high-trait participants displayed reduced emotional modulation of the late positive potential (LPP, 400–600 ms), and early anterior positivity (EAP, 200–300 ms) amplitudes. Results suggest blunted bias to affective content in psychopathic personality, characterized by diminished early capture to emotional salience (EAP) and dampened cognitive emotional processing (LPP).

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