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Affective startle potentiation in juvenile offenders: The role of conduct problems and psychopathic traits

Syngelaki, Eva-Manolia, Fairchild, Graeme, Moore, Simon Christopher ORCID:, Savage, Justin C. D. ORCID: and Van Goozen, Stephanie Helena Maria ORCID: 2013. Affective startle potentiation in juvenile offenders: The role of conduct problems and psychopathic traits. Social Neuroscience 8 (2) , pp. 112-121. 10.1080/17470919.2012.712549

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Emotion processing difficulties are observed in antisocial individuals exhibiting serious antisocial behavior. This study examined emotion processing in 40 male juvenile offenders (JOs) and 52 male controls by measuring startle reflex responses to aversive sounds during the passive viewing of affective and neutral images. JOs as a group exhibited reduced startle-elicited blinks across all slide categories compared to normal controls. Moreover, within the offender group those with more conduct disorder symptoms and higher levels of psychopathic traits displayed reduced startle amplitudes compared to lower-scoring offenders. The finding that startle magnitudes were inversely related to severity of conduct problems supports a dimensional or continuous approach to understanding externalizing disorders. Reductions in amygdala activity could lead to blunted startle magnitudes. The current findings not only provide further evidence that antisocial children have a general defensive motivational system dysfunction and present with impairments in neural systems that subserve emotion processing, but also show for the first time that those with more severe conduct problems have reduced startle responses compared to those who are less severely affected. The implications of these findings for interventions with JOs are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RK Dentistry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Juvenile delinquency, Emotion, Psychopathy, Conduct problems, Startle
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1747-0919
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 02:09

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