Neuro-cognitive System Dysfunction and Symptom Sets: A Review of fMRI Studies in Youth With Conduct Problems

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2018 Aug;91:69-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.10.022. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


In this paper, we review fMRI work on neuro-cognitive systems that are considered to be dysfunctional in individuals with conduct problems (i.e., individuals with Conduct Disorder (CD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or antisocial behavior without formal clinical diagnosis). These are: empathy, the acute threat response, reinforcement-based decision-making, response inhibition and the Default Mode Network. Evidence regarding the Default Mode Network is somewhat inconsistent and its functional role/the symptom sets consequent on its dysfunction remain underspecified. However, dysfunctions in the other four neuro-cognitive systems are associated with symptom sets seen in individuals with conduct problems.

Keywords: Aggression; Callous unemotional traits; Conduct disorder; Decision-making; Empathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Conduct Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*