Psychopathic traits modulate brain responses to drug cues in incarcerated offenders

Lora M. Cope, Gina M. Vincent, Justin L. Jobelius, Prashanth K. Nyalakanti, Vince D. Calhoun, Kent A. Kiehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent neuroscientific evidence indicates that psychopathy is associated with abnormal function and structure in limbic and paralimbic areas. Psychopathy and substance use disorders are highly comorbid, but clinical experience suggests that psychopaths abuse drugs for different reasons than non-psychopaths, and that psychopaths do not typically experience withdrawal and craving upon becoming incarcerated. These neurobiological abnormalities may be related to psychopaths' different motivations for-and symptoms of-drug use. This study examined the modulatory effect of psychopathic traits on the neurobiological craving response to pictorial drug stimuli. Drug-related pictures and neutral pictures were presented and rated by participants while hemodynamic activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging. These data were collected at two correctional facilities in New Mexico using the Mind Research Network mobile magnetic resonance imaging system. The sample comprised 137 incarcerated adult males and females (93 females) with histories of substance dependence. The outcome of interest was the relation between psychopathy scores (using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised) and hemodynamic activity associated with viewing drug-related pictures vs. neutral pictures. There was a negative association between psychopathy scores and hemodynamic activity for viewing drug-related cues in the anterior cingulate, posterior cingulate, hippocampus, amygdala, caudate, globus pallidus, and parts of the prefrontal cortex. Psychopathic traits modulate the neurobiological craving response and suggest that individual differences are important for understanding and treating substance abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue number1 FEB
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 24 2014

Keywords

  • Drug craving
  • Incarcerated offenders
  • Paralimbic system
  • Psychopathic traits
  • Substance dependence
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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