Theta phase coherence in affective picture processing reveals dysfunctional sensory integration in psychopathic offenders

Academic Article


  • © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Psychopathic offenders are described as emotionally cold, displaying deficits in affective responding. However, research demonstrates that many of the psychopathy-related deficits are moderated by attention, such that under conditions of high attentional and perceptual load psychopathic offenders display deficits in affective responses, but do not in conditions of low load. To date, most studies use measures of defensive reflex (i.e., startle) and conditioning manipulations to examine the impact of load on psychopathy-related processing, but have not examined more direct measures of attention processing. In a sample of adult male offenders, the present study examined time-frequency EEG phase coherence in response to a picture-viewing paradigm that manipulated picture familiarity to assess neural changes in processing based on perceptual demands. Results indicated psychopathy-related differences in the theta response, an index of readiness to perceive and integrate sensory information. These data provide further evidence that psychopathic offenders have disrupted integration of sensory information.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 19384174
  • Author List

  • Tillem S; Ryan J; Wu J; Crowley MJ; Mayes LC; Baskin-Sommers A
  • Start Page

  • 42
  • End Page

  • 45
  • Volume

  • 119