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Hum Brain Mapp. 2015 Oct;36(10):4202-9. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22911. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

Interpersonal traits of psychopathy linked to reduced integrity of the uncinate fasciculus.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin.
2
Neuroscience Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin.
4
The Non-Profit MIND Research Network, An Affiliate of Lovelace Biomedical And Environmental Research Institute (LBERI), Albuquerque, New Mexico.
5
Departments of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Law, University Of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
6
Department of Psychology, University Of Chicago, Illinois.
7
Department of Psychology, Rosalind Franklin University Of Medicine And Science, North Chicago, Illinois.

Abstract

Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by callous lack of empathy, impulsive antisocial behavior, and criminal recidivism. Here, we performed the largest diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study of incarcerated criminal offenders to date (N = 147) to determine whether psychopathy severity is linked to the microstructural integrity of major white matter tracts in the brain. Consistent with the results of previous studies in smaller samples, we found that psychopathy was associated with reduced fractional anisotropy in the right uncinate fasciculus (UF; the major white matter tract connecting ventral frontal and anterior temporal cortices). We found no such association in the left UF or in adjacent frontal or temporal white matter tracts. Moreover, the right UF finding was specifically related to the interpersonal features of psychopathy (glib superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulativeness), rather than the affective, antisocial, or lifestyle features. These results indicate a neural marker for this key dimension of psychopathic symptomatology.

KEYWORDS:

amygdala; antisocial personality disorder; crime; diffusion tensor imaging; prefrontal cortex; psychopathy; uncinate fasciculus

PMID:
26219745
PMCID:
PMC4583354
DOI:
10.1002/hbm.22911
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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