Psychology ETDs


Lora Cope

Publication Date



Previous functional neuroimaging studies of psychopathy have demonstrated abnormal functioning in several brain regions associated with emotion and decision-making, including amygdala, orbital frontal cortex, insula, cingulate, anterior superior temporal gyrus, and parahippocampal gyrus. However, investigations of structural differences in these regions are sparse. The relation between structural abnormalities and psychopathy was investigated using Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) and the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). Factor analysis of the PCL-R has revealed a two factor model that was utilized here. Seventy-seven participants from a community sample of substance users were scanned using high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging and assessed for psychopathy using the PCL-R. VBM was used to investigate morphometric differences correlated with PCL-R total score, factor one (interpersonal/affective), and factor two (behavioral/antisocial). Results showed a negative correlation between gray matter concentration and total PCL-R score in middle and superior temporal areas, inferior parietal cortex, middle occipital gyrus, caudate, and posterior cingulate. A similar result was found for factor two. There was a negative correlation between gray matter concentration and factor one score in several regions, including bilateral insula, bilateral middle temporal gyri, bilateral superior temporal gyri, right temporal pole, bilateral amygdala/parahippocampal gyri, right orbital frontal cortex, bilateral anterior and posterior cingulate, and thalamus. These results are consistent with functional studies showing abnormal functioning in paralimbic regions.

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Level of Degree


Department Name


First Advisor

Kiehl, Kent

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hutchison, Kent

Second Committee Member

Clark, Vince




Brain--Psychophysiology, Antisocial personality disorders--Etiology, Antisocial personality disorders--Physiological aspects, Psychopaths--Physiology, Affective neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Brain--Magnetic resonance imaging.

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