Callous-unemotional traits modulate the neural response associated with punishing another individual during social exchange: A preliminary investigation

Stuart F. White, Sarah J. Brislin, Harma Meffert, Stephen Sinclair, R. James R. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


The current study examined whether Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits, a core component of psychopathy, modulate neural responses of par-ticipants engaged in a social exchange game. In this task, participants were offered an allocation of money and then given the chance to pun-ish the offerer. Twenty youth participated and responses to both offers and the participant's punishment (or not) of these offers were exam-ined. Increasingly unfair offers were associated with increased dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) activity but this responsiveness was not modulated by CU traits. Increasing punishment of unfair offers was associated with increased dACC and anterior insula activity and this activity was modulated by CU traits. Higher CU trait participants showed a weaker association between activity and punishment level. These data suggest that CU traits are associated with appropriate ex-pectations of other individual's normative behavior but weaker repre-sentations of such information when guiding behavior of the self.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue numberSPL.ISS.1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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