Psychopathic traits associated with abnormal hemodynamic activity in salience and default mode networks during auditory oddball task

  • Nathaniel E. Anderson
  • J. Michael Maurer
  • Vaughn R. Steele
  • Kent A. Kiehl
Article

Abstract

Psychopathy is a personality disorder accompanied by abnormalities in emotional processing and attention. Recent theoretical applications of network-based models of cognition have been used to explain the diverse range of abnormalities apparent in psychopathy. Still, the physiological basis for these abnormalities is not well understood. A significant body of work has examined psychopathy-related abnormalities in simple attention-based tasks, but these studies have largely been performed using electrocortical measures, such as event-related potentials (ERPs), and they often have been carried out among individuals with low levels of psychopathic traits. In this study, we examined neural activity during an auditory oddball task using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a simple auditory target detection (oddball) task among 168 incarcerated adult males, with psychopathic traits assessed via the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). Event-related contrasts demonstrated that the largest psychopathy-related effects were apparent between the frequent standard stimulus condition and a task-off, implicit baseline. Negative correlations with interpersonal-affective dimensions (Factor 1) of the PCL-R were apparent in regions comprising default mode and salience networks. These findings support models of psychopathy describing impaired integration across functional networks. They additionally corroborate reports which have implicated failures of efficient transition between default mode and task-positive networks. Finally, they demonstrate a neurophysiological basis for abnormal mobilization of attention and reduced engagement with stimuli that have little motivational significance among those with high psychopathic traits.

Keywords

Psychopathy Attention Oddball fMRI Salience Network Default Mode Network 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Keith Harenski and Prashanth Nyalakanti for their assistance in data analysis. They also thank the Mind Research Network and the New Mexico Department of Corrections for their cooperative efforts. This research was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health R01MH070539 (PI: Kiehl) and F32MH098532 (PI: Anderson).

Supplementary material

13415_2018_588_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1524 kb)

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathaniel E. Anderson
    • 1
  • J. Michael Maurer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vaughn R. Steele
    • 3
  • Kent A. Kiehl
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Nonprofit Mind Research Network (MRN) & Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute (LBERI)AlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Neuroimaging Research Branch, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Intramural Research ProgramNational Institutes of HealthBaltimoreUSA

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