Psychopathy, attention and emotion

Psychol Med. 2009 Apr;39(4):543-55. doi: 10.1017/S0033291708003991. Epub 2008 Aug 14.


Psychopathy is a developmental disorder marked by emotional hypo-responsiveness and an increased risk for antisocial behavior. Influential attention-based accounts of psychopathy have long been made; however, these accounts have made relatively little reference to general models of attention in healthy individuals. This review has three aims: (1) to summarize current cognitive neuroscience data on differing attentional systems; (2) to examine the functional integrity of these attentional systems in individuals with psychopathy; and (3) to consider the implications of these data for attention and emotion dysfunction accounts of psychopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / physiopathology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention* / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Emotions* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests