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Br J Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;189:280-1.

Attention to the eyes and fear-recognition deficits in child psychopathy.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


The ability to recognise fear is impaired in people with damage to the amygdala and, interestingly, in adult psychopathy. Here we confirm that deficits in recognising fear exist in children with psychopathic traits. We show for the first time that, as with patients with amygdala damage, this deficit can be temporarily corrected by simply asking them to focus on the eyes of other people. These data support models of psychopathy that emphasise specific dysfunction of the amygdala and suggest an innovative approach for intervening early in the development of psychopathy.

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