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The neuropsychology of prefrontal function in antisocial personality disordered offenders with varying degrees of psychopathy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 December 2011

M. Dolan*
Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Monash University, Clifton Hill, VIC, Australia
*Address for correspondence: Professor M. Dolan, Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Monash University, 505 Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, Victoria 3068, Australia. (Email:



Despite methodological differences between studies, it has been suggested that psychopathy may be associated with a ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) deficit and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), as classified in the DSM-IV, with a broader range of deficits in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and VMPFC function.


Ninety-six male offenders with ASPD who were assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV) and 49 male right-handed healthy controls (HCs), matched for age and IQ, completed a neuropsychological test battery.


Offenders with ASPD displayed subtle impairments on executive function tasks of planning ability and set shifting and behavioural inhibition compared to HCs. However, among the offenders with ASPD there was no significant association between executive function impairment and scores on the measure of psychopathy.


Psychopathic traits in offenders with ASPD are not associated with greater executive function impairment.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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