Psychopathic individuals are notorious for their grandiose sense of self-worth and disregard for the welfare of others. One potential psychological mechanism underlying these traits is the relative consideration of “self” versus “others”. Here we used task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify neural responses during personality trait judgments about oneself and a familiar other in a sample of adult male incarcerated offenders (n = 57). Neural activity was regressed on two clusters of psychopathic traits: Factor 1 (e.g., egocentricity and lack of empathy) and Factor 2 (e.g., impulsivity and irresponsibility). Contrary to our hypotheses, Factor 1 scores were not significantly related to neural activity during self- or other-judgments. However, Factor 2 traits were associated with diminished activation to self-judgments, in relation to otherjudgments, in bilateral posterior cingulate cortex and right temporoparietal junction. These findings highlight cortical regions associated with a dimension of social-affective cognition that may underlie psychopathic individuals' impulsive traits.
Deming, Philip; Philippi, Carissa; Wolf, Richard; Dargis, Monika; Kiehl, Kent; and Koenigs, Michael, "Psychopathic Traits Linked to Alterations in Neural Activity During Personality Judgments of Self and Others" (2018). Psychology Faculty Works. 30.