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Executive Functioning and Risky Decision Making in Young Male Offenders

Syngelaki, Eva-Manolia, Moore, Simon Christopher ORCID:, Savage, Justin C. D. ORCID:, Fairchild, G. and Van Goozen, Stephanie Helena Maria ORCID: 2009. Executive Functioning and Risky Decision Making in Young Male Offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior 36 (11) , pp. 1213-1227. 10.1177/0093854809343095

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Executive functioning (EF) deficits have been implicated in antisocial behavior. EF constitutes a broad selection of functions, and it is yet to be determined what specific aspects of EF are associated with antisocial behavior. This study examines IQ, EF, and related decision-making processes in young males involved with the criminal justice system and their age-matched male controls. The Risky Choice Task (RCT), the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), and tests taken from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) assessing spatial working memory, planning, and set-shifting ability were administered. Young offenders showed lower estimated IQ scores and perseveration of responding, as indicated by performance on the WCST. There were also specific EF impairments, such as problems in working memory and planning (CANTAB). Finally, young offenders showed more risky decision-making than controls did, particularly after a small win. The results on the RCT suggest altered reward mechanisms in young offenders, whereas the findings also support the notion of EF difficulties related to dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex functioning. The implications of these findings for interventions with young offenders are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: executive functioning; decision making; young offenders; reward sensitivity; prefrontal cortex
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0093-8548
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 02:06

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