Neurological Underpinnings of Psychopathy Essays

Neurological Underpinnings of Psychopathy Essays

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Prefrontal Cortex
Another highly implicated area in psychopathy is the prefrontal cortex which helps monitor ongoing behavior, tie emotional learning to decision making, and making conjectures about consequences to actions (Anderson & Kiehl, 2012). Damage here can lead to impulsive behavior combined with poor judgment. Anderson & Kiehl (2012) also found not only through functioning imaging but in a prisoner’s dilemma task involving complicated decisions about working together socially that individuals with psychopathy showed lower Orbitofrontal cortex activity when deciding whether to obey and lower dorsolateral prefrontal activity when deciding to engage in anti-social behavior than normal people (Anderson & Kiehl, 2012; Craig et al., 2009; Harenski et al., 2010). Our Orbitofrontal cortex is associated with reversal learning where former reward stimuli are affiliated with punishment (Craig et al., 2009). Past evidence shows us that damage to the ventromedial portion of the prefrontal cortex leas to certain types of moral judgment, however; damage to the orbitofrontal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex is most common area implicated (Anderson & Kiehl, 2012). Another study based on the usage of emotional information showed adult psychopaths showed no prefrontal cortical activity when emotionally stimulated. Medical prefrontal areas were dormant when retaliating in a reinforcement competitive task. Interestingly though psychopaths experienced greater activity although when watching an opponent being punished (Anderson & Kiehl, 2012). A meta-analysis by Yang and Raine (as cited in Anderson & Kiehl, 2012) found a link among negative facets of psychopathy and prefrontal abnormalities.
To continue, Harenski et al. (2010) conducted a ...


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... Criminology and Criminal Justice, Doi: 1-.3138/cjccj.52.1.29
Harenski, C. L., & Harenski, K. A. (2010). Aberrant neural processing of moral violations in criminal psychopaths. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(4), 863-874. Doi: 10.1037/a0020979.
Newman, J. P., Curtin, J. J., Bertsch, J. D., & Baskin-Sommers, A. R. (2010). Attention moderates the fearlessness of psychopathic offenders. Society of Biological Psychiatry, 67, 66-70. Doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.07.035
Weber, S., Habel, U., Amunts, K. & Schneider, F. (2008). Structural brain abnormalities in psychopaths—a review. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 26, 7-28. Doi: 10.1002/bsl.802.
Wilson, K., Juodis, M., & Porter, S. (2011). Fear and loathing in psychopaths: A meta-analytic investigation of the facial affect recognition deficit. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38, 659-666. Doi: 10.1177/0093854811404120


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