Psychopathic traits and deception: Functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Shane Mckie, Rachael S. Fullam, Shane McKie, Mairead C. Dolan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background There is relatively little existing information regarding the neural correlates of deception in individuals with psychopathic traits. Aims To investigate the relationship between neural responses during deception and psychopathic personality traits in a sample of male participants drawn from the normal population. Method Twenty-four male participants carried out a simple deception paradigm while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Psychopathic traits were assessed in the sample using the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI). Results Mean response times were greater for the lie than truth condition. Lie responses resulted in enhanced activation of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. The PPI sub-scales, coldheartedness, fearlessness, Machiavellian egocentricity, social potency and stress immunity were found to be correlated with activation patterns in the brain circuitry implicated in both deception and related processes such as behavioural restraint and social cognition. Conclusions This is a novel technology that may prove useful in our understanding of some of the key components of the psychopathy construct in both clinical and non-clinical contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-235
    Number of pages6
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


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