Attention Network Performance and Psychopathic Symptoms in Early Adolescence: An ERP Study

  • Kristina Hiatt Racer
  • Tara Torassa Gilbert
  • Phan Luu
  • Joshua Felver-Gant
  • Yalchin Abdullaev
  • Thomas J. Dishion


Reaction time (RT) and event-related potential (ERP) measures were used to examine the relationships between psychopathic symptoms and three major attention networks (alerting, orienting, and executive attention) among a community sample of youth. Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD; Frick and Hare 2001) total and subscale scores were negatively correlated with ERP measures of attentional alerting, indicating that youth with psychopathic symptoms had difficulty using warning cues to prepare for upcoming targets. APSD total scores were not related to performance on measures of orienting or executive attention, although weaker executive attention was found among youth with higher scores on the Impulsivity subscale. These findings support attention-based models of psychopathy and provide evidence of specific deficits in attentional alerting among youth with psychopathic traits. Deficiencies in attentional alerting may be related to noradrenergic functioning and may have cascading effects on higher order cognitive and affective processing.


Attention Psychopathy Antisocial personality ANT Evoked potential 



This project was supported by National Institutes of Health grants MH82127 to KHR and MH20012 and DA018760 to TJD.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristina Hiatt Racer
    • 1
  • Tara Torassa Gilbert
    • 3
  • Phan Luu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joshua Felver-Gant
    • 4
  • Yalchin Abdullaev
    • 2
    • 5
  • Thomas J. Dishion
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Child and Family CenterUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  3. 3.Electrical Geodesics Inc.EugeneUSA
  4. 4.Department of School PsychologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  5. 5.Pioneer Pacific CollegeNursing ProgramSpringfieldUSA

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