Limbic abnormalities in affective processing by criminal psychopaths as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging

  title={Limbic abnormalities in affective processing by criminal psychopaths as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging},
  author={Kent A. Kiehl and Andra M. Smith and Robert D. Hare and Adrianna Mendrek and Bruce B. Forster and Johann Brink and Peter F. Liddle},
  journal={Biological Psychiatry},

Figures and Tables from this paper

Aberrant paralimbic gray matter in criminal psychopathy.

Investigating structural abnormalities using voxel-based morphometry in a sample of incarcerated men found psychopathy was associated with decreased regional gray matter in several paralimbic and limbic areas, including bilateral parahippocampal, amygdala, and hippocampal regions.

Disturbed prefrontal and temporal brain function during emotion and cognition interaction in criminal psychopathy.

An impaired emotion-cognition interaction in psychopaths is found that correlated with a changed prefrontal and temporal brain activation and it is shown that structure and function of the right superior temporal gyrus is disturbed in psychopathy, supporting a neurobiological approach to psychopathy.

Brain Basis of Psychopathy in Criminal Offenders and General Population

It is concluded that brain characteristics underlying psychopathic spectrum in violent psychopathy are related to those observed in well-functioning individuals with asocial personality features.

Brain potentials implicate temporal lobe abnormalities in criminal psychopaths.

The authors recorded event-related potentials while 80 incarcerated men, classified as psychopathic or nonpsychopathic via the Hare Psychopathy Checklist--Revised, completed an auditory oddball task, supporting the hypothesis that psychopathy may be related to dysfunction of the paralimbic system.

Intrinsic limbic and paralimbic networks are associated with criminal psychopathy

There is strong evidence to implicate the posterior cingulate in aberrant functional connectivity associated with the manifestation of psychopathic symptoms, consistent with the hypothesis of limbic/paralimbic abnormalities associated with psychopathy.

Abnormal cortical gyrification in criminal psychopathy

The role of prefrontal cortex in psychopathy

  • M. Koenigs
  • Psychology
    Reviews in the neurosciences
  • 2012
A critical summary of human neuroimaging data implicating prefrontal dysfunction in psychopathy is provided and a growing body of evidence associates psychopathy with structural and functional abnormalities in ventromedial PFC and anterior cingulate cortex.

A cognitive neuroscience perspective on psychopathy: Evidence for paralimbic system dysfunction

  • K. Kiehl
  • Psychology
    Psychiatry Research
  • 2006



Reduced prefrontal gray matter volume and reduced autonomic activity in antisocial personality disorder.

These findings provide the first evidence for a structural brain deficit in APD and may underlie the low arousal, poor fear conditioning, lack of conscience, and decision-making deficits that have been found to characterize antisocial, psychopathic behavior.

A brain imaging (single photon emission computerized tomography) study of semantic and affective processing in psychopaths

Emotion in the criminal psychopath: fear image processing.

Results are consistent with the idea that semantic and emotional processes are dissociated in psychopaths, and high scores on the antisocial behavior factor of psychopathy predicted imagery response deficits.

Anomalous perceptual asymmetries for negative emotional stimuli in the psychopath.

This study tested the hypothesis that when processing negative emotional material, psychopaths, compared with nonpsychopaths, would rely less on connotative-emotional processes based in the right

Reciprocal limbic-cortical function and negative mood: converging PET findings in depression and normal sadness.

Reciprocal changes involving subgenual cingulate and right prefrontal cortex occur with both transient and chronic changes in negative mood, suggesting that these regional interactions are obligatory and probably mediate the well-recognized relationships between mood and attention seen in both normal and pathological conditions.

Abnormal processing of affective words by psychopaths.

It is suggested that psychopaths extract less information from affective words than do other individuals.

Emotion in the criminal psychopath: startle reflex modulation.

The results suggest an abnormality in the processing of emotional stimuli by psychopaths that manifests itself independently of affective report, with startle responses largest during unpleasant slides and smallest during pleasant slides.

Emotion and psychopathy: startling new insights.

Evidence is presented to demonstrate that the literature that indicates that criminal psychopaths do not show the expected potentiation of the startle reflex that normally occurs during processing of aversive stimuli such as unpleasant photographs or punishment cues is reviewed.

Callous-Unemotional Traits and Conduct Problems: Applying the Two-Factor Model of Psychopathy to Children

The concept of psychopathy has a long and prominent history in clinical psychology. Clinical reports spanning several decades describe the psychopathic personality as being characterized by

Semantic and affective processing in psychopaths: an event-related potential (ERP) study.

In all three tasks, nonpsychopaths showed the expected event-related potential (ERP) differentiation between word stimuli, whereas psychopaths did not; the interpretation and significance of these differences are discussed.