Disrupted Prefrontal Regulation of Striatal Subjective Value Signals in Psychopathy.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Psychopathy is a personality disorder with strong links to criminal behavior. While research on psychopathy has focused largely on socio-affective dysfunction, recent data suggest that aberrant decision making may also play an important role. Yet, the circuit-level mechanisms underlying maladaptive decision making in psychopathy remain unclear. Here, we used a multi-modality functional imaging approach to identify these mechanisms in a population of adult male incarcerated offenders. Psychopathy was associated with stronger subjective value-related activity within the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) during inter-temporal choice and with weaker intrinsic functional connectivity between NAcc and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). NAcc-vmPFC connectivity strength was negatively correlated with NAcc subjective value-related activity; however, this putative regulatory pattern was abolished as psychopathy severity increased. Finally, weaker cortico-striatal regulation predicted more frequent criminal convictions. These data suggest that cortico-striatal circuit dysregulation drives maladaptive decision making in psychopathy, supporting the notion that reward system dysfunction comprises an important neurobiological risk factor.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hosking, JG; Kastman, EK; Dorfman, HM; Samanez-Larkin, GR; Baskin-Sommers, A; Kiehl, KA; Newman, JP; Buckholtz, JW

Published Date

  • July 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 95 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 221 - 231.e4

PubMed ID

  • 28683266

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5796650

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-4199

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0896-6273

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.06.030


  • eng