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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Sep;46(9):972-81.

Response reversal and children with psychopathic tendencies: success is a function of salience of contingency change.

Author information

  • 1Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Heath, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2670, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous work has inconsistently reported difficulties with response reversal/extinction in children with psychopathic tendencies.

METHOD:

We tested the hypothesis that the degree of impairment seen in children with psychopathic tendencies is a function of the salience of contingency change. We investigated the performance of children with psychopathic tendencies on a novel probabilistic response reversal task involving four conditions with gradated reward-punishment contingencies (100-0, 90-10, 80-20 and 70-30; i.e., for the 100-0 contingency, responding to one object is always rewarded while responding to the other is always punished).

RESULTS:

In line with predictions, the impairment seen in the children with psychopathic tendencies was an inverse function of the salience of the contingency change.

CONCLUSIONS:

We suggest that this data is consistent with suggestions of subtle orbital frontal cortex impairment in children with psychopathic tendencies.

PMID:
16109000
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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