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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2005 May;11(3):311-21.

State-dependent executive deficits among psychopathic offenders.

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University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0251, USA.


Three hypotheses for cognitive deficits among psychopaths were tested: Response modulation, left hemisphere activation, and an interaction between the 2. Twenty-six psychopathic and 32 nonpsychopathic criminal offenders identified with the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised were randomly assigned to left- and right-hemisphere activation groups. An auditory processing task was administered, such that the ability to classify nonverbal auditory signals and the ability to manage subgoals were assessed under left- and right-hemisphere activation conditions. The results showed that psychopaths' information processing in general, including response modulation, was deleteriously affected by left-hemisphere activation, supporting 2 of the 3 hypotheses tested. These results offer an explanation for inconsistent findings of executive deficits among psychopaths.

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