Emotion facilitation and passive avoidance learning in psychopathic female offenders

Criminal Justice and Behavior 38 (7):641-658 (2011)

Research on psychopathy among incarcerated, Caucasian males has consistently demonstrated deficits in emotion processing and response inhibition. Using the PCL-R to classify participants as psychopathic or non-psychopathic, this study examined the performance of incarcerated, Caucasian females on two laboratory tasks: A lexical decision task used to assess emotion processing and a passive avoidance task used to assess response inhibition. Contrary to prediction, deficits in performance typically exhibited by psychopathic males were not exhibited by psychopathic females in this sample. Implications of these findings are discussed and an interpretation of the results in the context of the Response Modulation Hypothesis is presented.
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