Mapping the association of global executive functioning onto diverse measures of psychopathic traits
Number of pages
SourcePersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 6, 4, (2015), pp. 336-346
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory; Neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Psychopathic individuals display a callous-coldhearted approach to interpersonal and affective situations and engage in impulsive and antisocial behaviors. Despite early conceptualizations suggesting that psychopathy is related to enhanced cognitive functioning, research examining executive functioning (EF) in psychopathy has yielded few such findings. It is possible that some psychopathic trait dimensions are more related to EF than others. Research using a 2-factor or 4-facet model of psychopathy highlights some dimension-specific differences in EF, but this research is limited in scope. Another complicating factor in teasing apart the EF–psychopathy relationship is the tendency to use different psychopathy assessments for incarcerated versus community samples. In this study, an EF battery and multiple measures of psychopathic dimensions were administered to a sample of male prisoners (N = 377). Results indicate that using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the independent effect of Factor 2 was related to worse EF, but neither the independent effect of Factor 1 nor the unique variance of the Factors (1 or 2) were related to EF. Using a 4-facet model, the independent effects of Facet2 (Affect) and Facet4 (Antisocial) were related to worse EF, but when examining the unique effects, only Facet2 remained significant. Finally, the questionnaire-based measure, Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire-Brief, of Fearless Dominance was related to better EF performance, whereas PCL-R Factor 1 was unrelated to EF. Overall, the results reveal the complex relationship among EF and behaviors characteristic of psychopathy-related dimensions. Moreover, they demonstrate the interpersonal and affective traits measured by these distinct assessments are differentially related to EF.
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