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Sci Rep. 2017 May 17;7(1):2030. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-02149-6.

Blunted Ambiguity Aversion During Cost-Benefit Decisions in Antisocial Individuals.

Author information

1
Harvard University, Center for Brain Science, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA. joshua_buckholtz@harvard.edu.
2
Harvard University, Psychology, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA. joshua_buckholtz@harvard.edu.
3
Massachusetts General Hospital, Psychiatry, Boston, MA, 02114, USA. joshua_buckholtz@harvard.edu.
4
Harvard University, Center for Brain Science, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA.
5
Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, 02163, USA.
6
Yale University, Psychology, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.
7
Yale University, Psychology, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA. arielle.baskin-sommers@yale.edu.

Abstract

Antisocial behavior is often assumed to reflect aberrant risk processing. However, many of the most significant forms of antisocial behavior, including crime, reflect the outcomes of decisions made under conditions of ambiguity rather than risk. While risk and ambiguity are formally distinct and experimentally dissociable, little is known about ambiguity sensitivity in individuals who engage in chronic antisocial behavior. We used a financial decision-making task in a high-risk community-based sample to test for associations between sensitivity to ambiguity, antisocial behavior, and arrest history. Sensitivity to ambiguity was lower in individuals who met diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder. Lower ambiguity sensitivity was also associated with higher externalizing (but not psychopathy) scores, and with higher levels of aggression (but not rule-breaking). Finally, blunted sensitivity to ambiguity also predicted a greater frequency of arrests. Together, these data suggest that alterations in cost-benefit decision-making under conditions of ambiguity may promote antisocial behavior.

PMID:
28515474
PMCID:
PMC5435701
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-02149-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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