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Biol Psychol. 2006 Aug;73(2):114-23. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

They know the words, but not the music: affective and semantic priming in individuals with psychopathy.

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Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Previous work has indicated dysfunctional affect-language interactions in individuals with psychopathy through use of the lexical decision task. However, it has been uncertain as to whether these deficits actually reflect impaired affect-language interactions or a more fundamental deficit in general semantic processing. In this study, we examined affective priming and semantic priming (dependent measures were reaction times and error rates) in individuals with psychopathy and comparison individuals, classified according to the psychopathy checklist revised (PCL-R) [Hare, R.D., 1991. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Multi-Health Systems, Toronto, Ont] Individuals with psychopathy showed significantly less affective priming relative to comparison individuals. In contrast, the two groups showed comparable levels of semantic priming. The results are discussed with reference to current models of psychopathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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