Natural rewards, learning and risk-taking in psychopathy
Date of Archiving2020
Radboud Data Repository
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Key wordsFeedback-related negativity; Behavioral Disciplines and Activities; Behavioral Sciences; Psychiatry; Forensic Psychiatry; Mental Disorders; Personality Disorders; Antisocial Personality Disorder; Reversal learning; Psychopathy; Passive avoidance
Among the most extensively studied impairments observed in individuals with psychopathy are those related to the disturbed processing of reward and punishment in relation to different forms of learning and decision making. In general, research shows deficient responding to (predictors of) punishment, especially when facing a competing reward, as well as impaired learning and decision making following reward. However, a possibly crucial limitation of these studies is that the experimental rewards that were used may not have been ecologically valid, and consequently not relevant or motivationally significant for participants with psychopathy, particularly for those that were incarcerated. Therefore, in the current project two experimental tasks were employed using individualized rewards and their subjective values to study (1) passive avoidance and reversal learning (PasRev dataset), and (2) risky decision making (WoF dataset) in offenders with and without psychopathy, as well as healthy controls. The results showed that sufficient subjective value of reward facilitates acquisition but not response reversal in psychopathic offenders. However, although we did find psychopathic offenders to be guided more by pay-off sizes than probabilities, we did not find any effects of subjective reward value on overall risky decision making. These findings suggest that specific reinforcement learning impairments often found in individuals with psychopathy can be reduced with the use of personalized rewards.Raw data files of each individual participant contain behavioral output from both experiments, either labeled PW or WP, depending on the order in which the two tasks were administered (PasRev-WoF, or WoF-PasRev). Data from each experimental task can be separated on different tabs using the appropriate VBA script that is also provided (see session nr and task order). For the PasRev dataset, raw EEG-data files of each individual participant are provided for each of the three experimental runs separately. In addition, spreadsheets with all behavioral and ERP data on which the reported analyses have been conducted are provided for each task separately. For the main analyses, the applied SPSS syntax is also provided.