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Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(12):2013-22.

Risky decisions and response reversal: is there evidence of orbitofrontal cortex dysfunction in psychopathic individuals?

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK.


This study investigates the performance of psychopathic individuals on tasks believed to be sensitive to dorsolateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) functioning. Psychopathic and non-psychopathic individuals, as defined by the Hare psychopathy checklist revised (PCL-R) [Hare, The Hare psychopathy checklist revised, Toronto, Ontario: Multi-Health Systems, 1991] completed a gambling task [Cognition 50 (1994) 7] and the intradimensional/extradimensional (ID/ED) shift task [Nature 380 (1996) 69]. On the gambling task, psychopathic participants showed a global tendency to choose disadvantageously. Specifically, they showed an impaired ability to show learning over the course of the task. On the ID/ED task, the performance of psychopathic individuals was not significantly different from incarcerated controls on attentional set-shifting, but significant impairments were found on response reversal. These results are interpreted with reference to an OFC and amygdala dysfunction explanation of psychopathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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