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Prefrontal white matter in pathological liars

  • Yaling Yang (a1), Adrian Raine (a1), Todd Lencz (a2), Susan Bihrle (a1), Lori Lacasse (a1) and Patrick Colletti (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Studies have shown increased bilateral activation in the prefrontal cortex when normal individuals lie, but there have been no structural imaging studies of deceitful individuals.

Aims

To assess whether deceitful individuals show structural abnormalities in prefrontal grey and white matter volume.

Method

Prefrontal grey and white matter volumes were assessed using structural magnetic resonance imaging in 12 individuals who pathologically lie, cheat and deceive (‘liars’), 16 antisocial controls and 21 normal controls.

Results

Liars showed a 22–26% increase in prefrontal white matter and a 36–42% reduction in prefrontal grey/white ratios compared with both antisocial controls and normal controls.

Conclusions

These findings provide the first evidence of a structural brain deficit in liars, they implicate the prefrontal cortex as an important (but not sole) component in the neural circuitry underlying lying and provide an initial neurobiological correlate of a deceitful personality.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Yaling Yang, Department of Psychology University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089–1061, USA. Tel: +1 213 720 2220; fax: +1213 740 0897; e-mail: yalingy@usc.edu
Footnotes
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See invited commentary, pp. 326–327, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Prefrontal white matter in pathological liars

  • Yaling Yang (a1), Adrian Raine (a1), Todd Lencz (a2), Susan Bihrle (a1), Lori Lacasse (a1) and Patrick Colletti (a3)...
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