Affective traits of psychopathy are linked to white-matter abnormalities in impulsive male offenders

Anouk Vermeij, Maaike M. Kempes, Maaike J. Cima, Rogier B. Mars, Inti A. Brazil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: 

Psychopathy is a personality disorder typified by lack of empathy and impulsive antisocial behavior. Psychopathic traits may partly relate to disrupted connections between brain regions. The aim of the present study was to link abnormalities in microstuctural integrity of white-matter tracts to the severity of different psychopathic traits in 15 male offenders with impulse control problems and 10 without impulse control problems. 

Method: 

Psychopathic traits were assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-revised (PCL-R). Diffusion-weighted MRI was used to examine white-matter tracts. Fractional anisotropy (FA), an index of white-matter integrity, was calculated for each voxel. Clusters of voxels showing a significant relationship with psychopathy severity were submitted to probabilistic tractography. 

Results: 

No significant correlations between psychopathy severity and FA were present in the whole group of impulsive and nonimpulsive offenders. In impulsive offenders. interpersonal-affective traits (PCL-R Factor I) were negatively correlated with FA in the anterior and posterior temporal lobe and orbitofrontal area. Further analyses indicated that elevated affective traits (PCL-R Facet 2) were specifically related to reduced FA in the right temporal lobe. 

Conclusions: 

Our findings suggest that white-matter abnormalities in temporal and frontotemporal tracts may be linked to the interpersonal-affective deficits of psychopathy in offenders with relatively severe impulse control problems. Our study offers novel insights into the relationships between the four facets of psychopathy and disrupted structural connectivity, and may provide new leads for further characterization of different subtypes of antisocial populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-745
JournalNeuropsychology
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • antisocial behavior
  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • neuroimaging
  • psychopathy
  • uncinate fasciculus
  • HUMAN CONNECTOME PROJECT
  • DIFFUSION MRI
  • GRAY-MATTER
  • ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR
  • FUNCTIONAL CONNECTIVITY
  • UNCINATE FASCICULUS
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • BRAIN
  • INTEGRITY
  • VOLUME

Cite this

Vermeij, Anouk ; Kempes, Maaike M. ; Cima, Maaike J. ; Mars, Rogier B. ; Brazil, Inti A. / Affective traits of psychopathy are linked to white-matter abnormalities in impulsive male offenders. In: Neuropsychology. 2018 ; Vol. 32, No. 6. pp. 735-745.
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abstract = "Objective: Psychopathy is a personality disorder typified by lack of empathy and impulsive antisocial behavior. Psychopathic traits may partly relate to disrupted connections between brain regions. The aim of the present study was to link abnormalities in microstuctural integrity of white-matter tracts to the severity of different psychopathic traits in 15 male offenders with impulse control problems and 10 without impulse control problems. Method: Psychopathic traits were assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-revised (PCL-R). Diffusion-weighted MRI was used to examine white-matter tracts. Fractional anisotropy (FA), an index of white-matter integrity, was calculated for each voxel. Clusters of voxels showing a significant relationship with psychopathy severity were submitted to probabilistic tractography. Results: No significant correlations between psychopathy severity and FA were present in the whole group of impulsive and nonimpulsive offenders. In impulsive offenders. interpersonal-affective traits (PCL-R Factor I) were negatively correlated with FA in the anterior and posterior temporal lobe and orbitofrontal area. Further analyses indicated that elevated affective traits (PCL-R Facet 2) were specifically related to reduced FA in the right temporal lobe. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that white-matter abnormalities in temporal and frontotemporal tracts may be linked to the interpersonal-affective deficits of psychopathy in offenders with relatively severe impulse control problems. Our study offers novel insights into the relationships between the four facets of psychopathy and disrupted structural connectivity, and may provide new leads for further characterization of different subtypes of antisocial populations.",
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author = "Anouk Vermeij and Kempes, {Maaike M.} and Cima, {Maaike J.} and Mars, {Rogier B.} and Brazil, {Inti A.}",
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Affective traits of psychopathy are linked to white-matter abnormalities in impulsive male offenders. / Vermeij, Anouk; Kempes, Maaike M.; Cima, Maaike J.; Mars, Rogier B.; Brazil, Inti A.

In: Neuropsychology, Vol. 32, No. 6, 2018, p. 735-745.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Affective traits of psychopathy are linked to white-matter abnormalities in impulsive male offenders

AU - Vermeij, Anouk

AU - Kempes, Maaike M.

AU - Cima, Maaike J.

AU - Mars, Rogier B.

AU - Brazil, Inti A.

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Objective: Psychopathy is a personality disorder typified by lack of empathy and impulsive antisocial behavior. Psychopathic traits may partly relate to disrupted connections between brain regions. The aim of the present study was to link abnormalities in microstuctural integrity of white-matter tracts to the severity of different psychopathic traits in 15 male offenders with impulse control problems and 10 without impulse control problems. Method: Psychopathic traits were assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-revised (PCL-R). Diffusion-weighted MRI was used to examine white-matter tracts. Fractional anisotropy (FA), an index of white-matter integrity, was calculated for each voxel. Clusters of voxels showing a significant relationship with psychopathy severity were submitted to probabilistic tractography. Results: No significant correlations between psychopathy severity and FA were present in the whole group of impulsive and nonimpulsive offenders. In impulsive offenders. interpersonal-affective traits (PCL-R Factor I) were negatively correlated with FA in the anterior and posterior temporal lobe and orbitofrontal area. Further analyses indicated that elevated affective traits (PCL-R Facet 2) were specifically related to reduced FA in the right temporal lobe. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that white-matter abnormalities in temporal and frontotemporal tracts may be linked to the interpersonal-affective deficits of psychopathy in offenders with relatively severe impulse control problems. Our study offers novel insights into the relationships between the four facets of psychopathy and disrupted structural connectivity, and may provide new leads for further characterization of different subtypes of antisocial populations.

AB - Objective: Psychopathy is a personality disorder typified by lack of empathy and impulsive antisocial behavior. Psychopathic traits may partly relate to disrupted connections between brain regions. The aim of the present study was to link abnormalities in microstuctural integrity of white-matter tracts to the severity of different psychopathic traits in 15 male offenders with impulse control problems and 10 without impulse control problems. Method: Psychopathic traits were assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-revised (PCL-R). Diffusion-weighted MRI was used to examine white-matter tracts. Fractional anisotropy (FA), an index of white-matter integrity, was calculated for each voxel. Clusters of voxels showing a significant relationship with psychopathy severity were submitted to probabilistic tractography. Results: No significant correlations between psychopathy severity and FA were present in the whole group of impulsive and nonimpulsive offenders. In impulsive offenders. interpersonal-affective traits (PCL-R Factor I) were negatively correlated with FA in the anterior and posterior temporal lobe and orbitofrontal area. Further analyses indicated that elevated affective traits (PCL-R Facet 2) were specifically related to reduced FA in the right temporal lobe. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that white-matter abnormalities in temporal and frontotemporal tracts may be linked to the interpersonal-affective deficits of psychopathy in offenders with relatively severe impulse control problems. Our study offers novel insights into the relationships between the four facets of psychopathy and disrupted structural connectivity, and may provide new leads for further characterization of different subtypes of antisocial populations.

KW - antisocial behavior

KW - diffusion tensor imaging

KW - neuroimaging

KW - psychopathy

KW - uncinate fasciculus

KW - HUMAN CONNECTOME PROJECT

KW - DIFFUSION MRI

KW - GRAY-MATTER

KW - ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR

KW - FUNCTIONAL CONNECTIVITY

KW - UNCINATE FASCICULUS

KW - PREFRONTAL CORTEX

KW - BRAIN

KW - INTEGRITY

KW - VOLUME

U2 - 10.1037/neu0000448

DO - 10.1037/neu0000448

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 735

EP - 745

JO - Neuropsychology

JF - Neuropsychology

SN - 0894-4105

IS - 6

ER -