Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by callous lack of empathy, impulsive antisocial behavior, and criminal recidivism. Studies of brain structure and function in psychopathy have frequently identified abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex. However, findings have not yet converged to yield a clear relationship between specific subregions of prefrontal cortex and particular psychopathic traits. We performed a multimodal neuroimaging study of prefrontal cortex volume and functional connectivity in psychopathy, using a sample of adult male prison inmates (N = 124). We conducted volumetric analyses in prefrontal subregions, and subsequently assessed resting-state functional connectivity in areas where volume was related to psychopathy severity. We found that overall psychopathy severity and Factor 2 scores (which index the impulsive/antisocial traits of psychopathy) were associated with larger prefrontal subregion volumes, particularly in the medial orbitofrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, Factor 2 scores were also positively correlated with functional connectivity between several areas of the prefrontal cortex. The results were not attributable to age, race, IQ, substance use history, or brain volume. Collectively, these findings provide evidence for co-localized increases in prefrontal cortex volume and intra-prefrontal functional connectivity in relation to impulsive/antisocial psychopathic traits.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Korponay, Cole; Pujara, Maia; Deming, Philip; Philippi, Carissa; Decety, Jean; Kosson, David; Kiehl, Kent; and Koenigs, Michael, "Impulsive-Antisocial Psychopathic Traits Linked to Increased Volume and Functional Connectivity Within Prefrontal Cortex" (2017). Psychology Faculty Works. 31.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/psychology-faculty/31