Reduced amygdala-orbitofrontal connectivity during moral judgments in youths with disruptive behavior disorders and psychopathic traits

Abigail A. Marsh, Elizabeth C. Finger, Katherine A. Fowler, Ilana T.N. Jurkowitz, Julia C. Schechter, Henry H. Yu, Daniel S. Pine, R. J.R. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate dysfunction in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex in adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders and psychopathic traits during a moral judgment task. Fourteen adolescents with psychopathic traits and 14 healthy controls were assessed using fMRI while they categorized illegal and legal behaviors in a moral judgment implicit association task. fMRI data were then analyzed using random-effects analysis of variance and functional connectivity. Youths with psychopathic traits showed reduced amygdala activity when making judgments about legal actions and reduced functional connectivity between the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex during task performance. These results suggest that psychopathic traits are associated with amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex dysfunction. This dysfunction may relate to previous findings of disrupted moral judgment in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Volume194
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 30 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Conduct disorder
  • FMRI
  • Moral reasoning
  • Psychopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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