Response reversal and children with psychopathic tendencies: Success is a function of salience of contingency change

S. Budhani, R. James R. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Previous work has inconsistently reported difficulties with response reversal/extinction in children with psychopathic tendencies. Method: We tested the hypothesis that the degree of impairment seen in children with psychopathic tendencies is a function of the salience of contingency change. We investigated the performance of children with psychopathic tendencies on a novel probabilistic response reversal task involving four conditions with gradated reward-punishment contingencies (100-0, 90-10, 80-20 and 70-30; i.e., for the 100-0 contingency, responding to one object is always rewarded while responding to the other is always punished). Results: In line with predictions, the impairment seen in the children with psychopathic tendencies was an inverse function of the salience of the contingency change. Conclusions: We suggest that this data is consistent with suggestions of subtle orbital frontal cortex impairment in children with psychopathic tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)972-981
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume46
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Psychopathy
  • Response reversal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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