Impaired attentional and socio-affective networks in subjects with antisocial behaviors: a meta-analysis of resting-state functional connectivity studies

Psychol Med. 2021 Jun;51(8):1249-1259. doi: 10.1017/S0033291721001525. Epub 2021 Apr 27.


In the past decade, there has been a growing interest in examining resting-state functional connectivity deficits in subjects with conduct and antisocial personality disorder. Through meta-analyses and literature reviews, extensive work has been done to characterize their abnormalities in brain activation during a wide range of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tasks. However, there is currently no meta-analytical evidence regarding neural connectivity patterns during resting-state fMRI. Therefore, we conducted a coordinate-based meta-analysis of resting-state fMRI studies on individuals exhibiting antisocial behaviors. Of the retrieved studies, 18 used a seed-based connectivity approach (513 cases v. 488 controls), 20 employed a non-seed-based approach (453 cases v. 460 controls) and 20 included a correlational analysis between the severity of antisocial behaviors and connectivity patterns (3462 subjects). Meta-analysis on seed-based studies revealed significant connectivity deficits in the amygdala, middle cingulate cortex, ventral posterior cingulate cortex-precuneus, ventromedial and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, premotor cortex, and superior parietal lobule. Additionally, non-seed-based meta-analysis showed increased connectivity in the ventral posterior cingulate cortex and decreased connectivity in the parietal operculum, calcarine cortex, and cuneus. Finally, we found meta-analytical evidence for negative relationship between the severity of antisocial behaviors and connectivity with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Functional characterization and meta-analytical connectivity modeling indicated that these findings overlapped with socio-affective and attentional processes. This further underscores the importance of these functions in the pathophysiology of conduct and antisocial personality disorders.

Keywords: Functional connectivity; antisocial behaviors; conduct disorder; default mode network; dorsal attention network; ventral attention network.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Gyrus Cinguli
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / pathology