Navigation Links
Impulsive-antisocial personality traits linked to a hypersensitive brain reward system
Date:3/15/2010

Normal individuals who scored high on a measure of impulsive/antisocial traits display a hypersensitive brain reward system, according to a brain imaging study by researchers at Vanderbilt University. The findings provide the first evidence of differences in the brain's reward system that may underlie vulnerability to what's typically referred to as psychopathy.

The study in the current issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a combination of superficial charm, manipulative and antisocial behavior, sensation-seeking and impulsivity, blunted empathy and punishment sensitivity, and shallow emotional experiences. Psychopathy is a particularly robust predictor of criminal behavior and recidivism.

Since psychopathic individuals are at increased risk for developing substance use problems, the Vanderbilt team decided to investigate possible links between the brain's reward system (activated by abused substances and natural reward), and a behavioral trait (impulsive/antisociality) characteristic of psychopathy. Researchers used two different technologies to measure the brain's reward response.

In the first experiment, positron emission tomography (PET) was used to image the brain's dopamine response in subjects who received a low oral dose of amphetamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with reward and motivation.

In the second experiment, the same subjects participated in a game, in which they could make (or lose) money while their brains were being scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) .

The results in both cases show that individuals who scored high on a personality assessment that teases out traits like egocentricity, manipulating others, and risk taking had a hypersensitive dopamine response system. The picture that emerges from these high resolution PET and fMRI scans suggests that alterations in the function of the brain's reward system may contribute to a latent psychopathic trait.

The researchers speculate that a heightened response to an anticipated reward could make such individuals less fearful about the consequences of their behavior, which, combined with a reduced sensitivity to others' emotions and resistance to learning from mistakes, could lead to the manipulative and aggressive style of behaviors that is common in psychopaths.

The traits analyzed in this study have been previously shown to predict antisocial behavior and substance abuse in both incarcerated and community samples.

"By linking traits that suggest impulsivity and the potential for antisocial behavior to an overreactive dopamine system, this study helps explain why aggression may be as rewarding for some people as drugs are for others," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. "However, while having an antisocial trait may be a driving factor, it is clearly not sufficient to trigger aggressive behaviors; thus, we need to continue to investigate the other contributors to psychopathy."

While the Vanderbilt researchers believe they've made an important first step showing that characterizations of psychopathic behavior are closely related to changes in brain activity, they hope to validate their findings with new studies on individuals who have been actually diagnosed as psychopaths.

"The amount of dopamine released was up to four times higher in people with high levels of these traits, compared to those who scored lower on the personality profile," says Joshua Buckholtz, doctoral candidate in neuroscience and the lead author of the study.

"Because of these exaggerated dopamine responses, individuals with a latent psychopathic trait may become focused on a chance to get a reward, and less able to shift their attention until they get what they're after. This pattern, along with other traits, could develop into psychopathic personality disorder."


'/>"/>

Contact: NIDA Press Team
media@nida.nih.gov
301-443-6245
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Entrepreneur and TV Personality Bill Rancic to Host Mens Health Chicago Urbanathlon on October 20, 2007
2. The Personality of a Smile
3. L.A. Author, TV Personality and Substance Abuse Specialist Discusses Struggle to Break Bad-girl Syndrome Oct. 26-28 in Baltimore
4. Can shopping behavior indicate personality type?
5. Is Your Yoga Mat Lacking Personality?
6. Scientists identify brain abnormalities underlying key element of borderline personality disorder
7. Preschoolers nightmares less prevalent, are trait-like and associated with personality
8. Your personality type influences how much self-control you have
9. Personality Traits Dont Affect Breast Cancer Risk
10. TV Personality and Best-Selling Author Jenny McCarthy Comes to Detroit to Share Her Story of the Struggles and Triumphs of Raising Her Son, Evan, During a Day-Long Autism Workshop
11. Personality study shows risk of first depression episode late in life
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/19/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... Sam ... planning assistance to commercial and residential clients in the California Bay Area, is launching ... heart health in the region. , Heart disease is the primary killer of adult ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... agency which serves Lawrenceville, New Jersey and the surrounding area, is inaugurating ... lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease or motor neurone ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... Spring Create Real Impact contest from Impact Teen Drivers and California Casualty. Entries ... . , Educational grants totaling $15,000 will be awarded for the best ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... Bill Howe Plumbing, Heating & ... American Heart Association; “Howe” Healthy is Your Heart Drawing Contest The drawing ... Each year, Bill Howe Plumbing, Heating & Air receives over 600 entries. The culmination ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... Sales Focus ... new clients into the US market. , Over the past 20 years SFI has ... 4 weeks SFI has launched six new clients into the US market. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... -- ViewRay, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRAY) announced today that the German ... Germany , has purchased a MRIdian ... Clinic Heidelberg as part of its initiative for MRI-based ... be headed by Medical Director and Professor Jürgen Debus, ... German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the Heidelberg Heavy Ion ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Pfizer joins Astex, AstraZeneca, ... Consortium   Major research investment to ...   The Milner Therapeutics Institute today ... a partner to the Milner Therapeutics Consortium. Pfizer has ... transfer of materials between industry and academia and allocation ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... FRANCISCO , January 19, 2017 The global  pacemaker ... new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The heightening prevalence of cardiac conditions ... the growth of Pacemaker globally. In addition, technological enhancements in these devices are ... ... Grand View Research Logo ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: