White matter correlates of psychopathic traits in a female community sample
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CitationLindner P. Budhiraja M. Westerman J. Savic I. Jokinen J. Tiihonen J. Hodgins S. (2017). White matter correlates of psychopathic traits in a female community sample. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 12 (9) , 1500-1510. 10.1093/scan/nsx070.
Psychopathy comprises interpersonal, affective, lifestyle and antisocial facets that vary dimensionally in the population and are associated with criminal offending and adverse psychosocial outcomes. Evidence associating these facets with white matter microstructure of the uncinate fasciculus and the cingulum tracts is inconsistent and derives principally from studies of male offenders. In a sample of 99 young women presenting a range of scores on the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version, we used Diffusion Tensor Imaging, tractography and Tract-Based Spatial Statistics to investigate microstructure across the brain and of the uncinate fasciculus and cingulum. Right uncinate fasciculus microstructure was negatively associated with the interpersonal facet, while cingulum integrity was not associated with any facet of psychopathy. Whole-brain analyses revealed that both affective and lifestyle facets were negatively correlated with white matter microstructure adjacent to the fusiform gyrus, and the interpersonal facet correlated negatively with the integrity of the fornix. Findings survived adjustment for the other facet scores, and age, verbal and performance IQ. A similar negative association between the interpersonal facet and uncinate fasciculus integrity was previously observed in male offenders. Thus, previous evidence showing that psychopathic traits are associated with functional and structural abnormalities within limbic networks may also apply to females.