Chemosensory Perception

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 198–210 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Psychopathy and Olfactory Tasks Sensitive to Orbitofrontal Cortex Function in a Non-criminal Student Sample

  • Travis M. Bettison
  • Mehmet K. MahmutEmail author
  • Richard J. Stevenson


This study investigated the relationship between psychopathy and tests presumed sensitive to orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) function in a non-criminal student sample. While converging lines of evidence indicate OFC-associated dysfunction in criminal psychopaths, few studies have investigated whether non-criminal psychopaths manifest similar deficits. Psychopathic traits were indexed using the Self-Report Psychopathy scale and the “Sniffin' Sticks” and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) were employed as neuropsychological measures of OFC function. The results showed higher degrees of psychopathy were significantly associated with poorer olfactory discriminative ability and poorer IGT performance. The discussion focuses on what these findings contribute to the understanding of the psychopathy and OFC relationship, suggesting the degree of OFC-associated dysfunction may be one differentiating factor between criminal and non-criminal psychopaths.


Psychopathy Olfaction Orbitofrontal cortex Non-criminal 


Compliance with Ethics Requirements

Conflict of Interest

Travis M. Bettison declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Mehmet K. Mahmut declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Richard J. Stevenson declares that he has no conflict of interest.

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Travis M. Bettison
    • 1
  • Mehmet K. Mahmut
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard J. Stevenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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