Functional connectivity in incarcerated male adolescents with psychopathic traits

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2017 Jul 30;265:35-44. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 May 11.


The present study examined the association between psychopathic traits and functional connectivity in 177 incarcerated male adolescents. We hypothesized that psychopathic symptoms would be associated with functional connectivity within networks encompassing limbic and paralimbic regions, such as the default mode (DMN), salience networks (SN), and executive control network (ECN). The present sample was drawn from the Southwest Advanced Neuroimaging Cohort, Youth sample, and from research at a youth detention facility in Wisconsin. All participants were scanned at maximum-security facilities. Psychopathic traits were assessed using Hare's Psychopathy Checklist-Youth Version. Resting-state networks were computed using group Independent Component Analysis. Associations between psychopathic traits and resting-state connectivity were assessed using Mancova analyses. PCL-YV Total score and Factor 1 score (interpersonal and affective traits) were associated with the power spectra of the DMN. Factor 1 score was associated with SN and ECN spatial maps. Factor 2 score (lifestyle and antisocial traits) was associated with spatial map of the ECN. Only the Factor 1 association with DMN power spectrum survived correction for multiple testing. Comparable to adult psychopathy, adolescent psychopathic traits were associated with networks implicated in self-referential thought, moral behavior, cognition, and saliency detection: functions previously reported to be disrupted in adult psychopaths.

Keywords: Adolescence; Default mode network; Juvenile delinquents; Psychopathy; Resting state fMRI; Salience network.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnostic imaging*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / physiopathology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Executive Function*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Prisons*
  • Wisconsin