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Title:Attention-Emotion Interactions in Psychopathy
Author(s):Samimi Sadeh, Naomi
Director of Research:Verona, Edelyn
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Miller, Gregory A.; Heller, Wendy; Berenbaum, Howard; Simons, Daniel J.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Event-related potentials (ERP)
attention-emotion interactions
Abstract:The present study was designed to test an etiological model of psychopathy that re-conceptualizes the attentional and emotional deficits associated with the disorder in an integrative framework. The sample consisted of 63 justice-system involved individuals who were recruited based on their scores on the Psychopathy Checklist-Screening Version (Hart, Cox, Hare, 1999), a widely used and well validated measure of psychopathic traits. Event-related brain potentials and startle reflex magnitude were collected while participants heard blink eliciting noise probes and viewed unpleasant and neutral pictures matched on visual complexity from the International Affective Picture System (Lang et al., 2005). These psychophysiological indices were used to measure basic affective and attentional effects of the stimuli on neural processes. Two dimensions of psychopathic traits were examined, specifically the affective-interpersonal dimension and impulsive-antisociality dimension, given evidence that they index potentially separable sets of risk factors for the manifestation of psychopathy and antisocial behavior. Results indicated the affective-interpersonal dimension is associated with: (1) enhanced sensitivity to attentional load as demonstrated by larger visual N1 to picture onset for high- than low-complexity images, (2) reduced emotional processing of unpleasant compared to neutral pictures as measured by the late positive potential, and (3) an interaction of these two phenomena indexed by reduced fear-potentiated startle during high-complexity pictures. In contrast, the impulsive-antisociality dimension was associated with decreased sensitivity to picture complexity in visual N1 and auditory N1. The findings suggest that psychopathy is a heterogeneous construct that is not characterized solely by an emotional or attentional deficit, as the literature has historically assumed. Rather, it is characterized by multiple, interactive cognition-emotion deficits that manifest differentially across the psychopathy dimensions.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Naomi Samimi Sadeh
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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