Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2018 May 1;13(5):525-534. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsy019.

Psychopathic traits influence amygdala-anterior cingulate cortex connectivity during facial emotion processing.

Author information

Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK.
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 2PY, UK.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 8AH, UK.
Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK.


There is accumulating evidence that youths with antisocial behavior or psychopathic traits show deficits in facial emotion recognition, but little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying these impairments. A number of neuroimaging studies have investigated brain activity during facial emotion processing in youths with Conduct Disorder (CD) and adults with psychopathy, but few of these studies tested for group differences in effective connectivity-i.e. changes in connectivity during emotion processing. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and psycho-physiological interaction methods, we investigated the impact of CD and psychopathic traits on amygdala activity and effective connectivity in 46 male youths with CD and 25 typically-developing controls when processing emotional faces. All participants were aged 16-21 years. Relative to controls, youths with CD showed reduced amygdala activity when processing angry or sad faces relative to neutral faces, but the groups did not significantly differ in amygdala-related effective connectivity. In contrast, psychopathic traits were negatively correlated with amygdala-ventral anterior cingulate cortex connectivity for angry vs neutral faces, but were unrelated to amygdala responses to angry or sad faces. These findings suggest that CD and psychopathic traits have differential effects on amygdala activation and functional interactions between limbic regions during facial emotion processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center