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J Abnorm Psychol. 2006 Nov;115(4):815-20.

Recognition of facial affect in psychopathic offenders.

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Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The authors examined the reliability of facial affect processing deficits found in psychopathic individuals (R. Blair et al., 2004) and whether they could be modified by attentional set. One hundred eleven offenders, classified using the Psychopathy Checklist--Revised (R. Hare, 2003) and Welsh Anxiety Scale (G. Welsh, 1956), performed a facial affect recognition task under 2 conditions. On the basis of research linking psychopathy, amygdala dysfunction, and deficits in facial affect recognition, the authors predicted that psychopathic offenders would display performance deficits when required to identify the emotional expression of particular faces. In addition, given evidence linking the affective processing deficits in psychopathy to focus of attention, the authors predicted that any deficits in facial affect processing would disappear when participants could anticipate which affective cues would be relevant on a given trial. Contrary to expectation, psychopathic offenders performed as well as controls in both conditions. The authors conclude that the conditions that reveal affective deficits in psychopathic individuals require further specification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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