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Psychophysiology. 2009 Sep;46(5):913-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00833.x. Epub 2009 May 22.

Psychopathic traits moderate the interaction between cognitive and affective processing.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.

Abstract

Cognitive-attentional factors may moderate emotion deficits associated with psychopathy (Newman & Lorenz, 2003). This study examined the role of these factors in moderating fear-potentiated startle (FPS) as a function of Fearless Dominance and Impulsive Antisociality-personality dimensions with links to psychopathy. University students performed a task that required them to focus on a (a) threat dimension under low working memory load, (b) threat-irrelevant dimension under low load, or (c) threat-irrelevant dimension under high load. Attentional focus, but not working memory load, moderated the relationship between Fearless Dominance and FPS. Fearless Dominance was negatively correlated with FPS only when attention was directed away from the threat. There were no significant findings for Impulsive Antisociality. Results provide evidence that reduced fear response associated with psychopathy may result from an attentional mechanism.

PMID:
19497014
PMCID:
PMC2746860
DOI:
10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00833.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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