Objective: Neuropsychological studies of executive functions (EF) in psychopathy have been inconsistent, likely partly due to heterogeneity of symptoms of the disorder, with executive dysfunction showing a stronger associations with impulsive/antisocial than with affective/interpersonal traits. Variable findings may also be due to limited ecological validity of performance-based tests of EF. We evaluated the relationship between psychopathic personality traits and subjective ratings of EF in the everyday life of healthy adults. Method: A sample of 524 individuals (49% men) aged 21–35 years completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function–Adult (BRIEF-A), and the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) which assesses fearless/dominance and antisocial/impulsive dimensions of psychopathic personality traits. Results: Analysis revealed that the antisocial/impulsive dimension was positively correlated with all nine BRIEF-A scales (rs. = .24 to .51), with the strongest correlations seen for impulse control (Inhibit) and ability to recognize the impact on ones behavior on others (Self Monitor). In contrast, the fearless/dominance dimension showed negative correlations with six of nine BRIEF-A scale (rs. = −.18 to −.40), indicating generally better EF in association with this dimension. One exception was that PPI-I was also related to difficulty with impulse control (r = .10), though less than for PPI-II (r. = .51). Conclusion: Greater degree of antisocial/impulsive psychopathic personality traits was associated with subjectively worse executive functions in everyday life, consistent with prior research using performance-based measures. Furthermore, difficulty with impulse control appears to be a more general feature of psychopathy, though to a far greater extent in those with higher levels of antisocial/impulsive traits.
Psychopathic Personality Traits and Executive Functions in Daily Life
Arch Clin Neuropsychol (2015) 30 (6): 574.
25 August 2015
C Lantrip, S Towns, R Roth, P Giancola; C-31
Psychopathic Personality Traits and Executive Functions in Daily Life. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015; 30 (6): 574. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv047.233
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