Disrupted neural processing of emotional faces in psychopathy

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Publication Details

Author list: Soriano-Mas C
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy C - Option D / Oxford University Press
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (1749-5016)
Volume number: 9
Issue number: 4
Start page: 505
End page: 512
Number of pages: 8
ISSN: 1749-5016
eISSN: 1749-5024
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Abstract

Psychopaths show a reduced ability to recognize emotion facial
expressions, which may disturb the interpersonal relationship
development and successful social adaptation. Behavioral hypotheses
point toward an association between emotion recognition deficits in
psychopathy and amygdala dysfunction. Our prediction was that amygdala
dysfunction would combine deficient activation with disturbances in
functional connectivity with cortical regions of the face-processing
network. Twenty-two psychopaths and 22 control subjects were assessed
and functional magnetic resonance maps were generated to identify both
brain activation and task-induced functional connectivity using
psychophysiological interaction analysis during an emotional
face-matching task. Results showed significant amygdala activation in
control subjects only, but differences between study groups did not
reach statistical significance. In contrast, psychopaths showed
significantly increased activation in visual and prefrontal areas, with
this latest activation being associated with psychopaths'
affective-interpersonal disturbances. Psychophysiological interaction
analyses revealed a reciprocal reduction in functional connectivity
between the left amygdala and visual and prefrontal cortices. Our
results suggest that emotional stimulation may evoke a relevant cortical
response in psychopaths, but a disruption in the processing of
emotional faces exists involving the reciprocal functional interaction
between the amygdala and neocortex, consistent with the notion of a
failure to integrate emotion into cognition in psychopathic individuals.


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45