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Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Nov 1;50(9):677-84.

Limbic abnormalities in affective processing by criminal psychopaths as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Psychopathy is a complex personality disorder of unknown etiology. Central to the disorder are anomalies or difficulties in affective processing.

METHODS:

Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to elucidate the neurobiological correlates of these anomalies in criminal psychopaths during performance of an affective memory task.

RESULTS:

Compared with criminal nonpsychopaths and noncriminal control participants, criminal psychopaths showed significantly less affect-related activity in the amygdala/hippocampal formation, parahippocampal gyrus, ventral striatum, and in the anterior and posterior cingulate gyri. Psychopathic criminals also showed evidence of overactivation in the bilateral fronto-temporal cortex for processing affective stimuli.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that the affective abnormalities so often observed in psychopathic offenders may be linked to deficient or weakened input from limbic structures.

PMID:
11704074
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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