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Can J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;54(12):813-23.

The neurobiology of psychopathy: a neurodevelopmental perspective.

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Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


We provide an overview of the neurobiological underpinnings of psychopathy. Cognitive and affective-emotional processing deficits are associated with abnormal brain structure and function, particularly the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex. There is limited evidence of lower cortisol levels being associated with psychopathic personality. Initial developmental research is beginning to suggest that these neurobiological processes may have their origins early in life. Findings suggest that psychopathic personality may, in part, have a neurodevelopmental basis. Future longitudinal studies delineating neurobiological correlates of the analogues of interpersonal-affective and antisocial features of psychopathy in children are needed to further substantiate a neurodevelopmental hypothesis of psychopathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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