Executive function, attention, and memory deficits in antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy
MetadataShow full item record
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and psychopathy attempt to represent individuals demonstrating callousness and disregard for others. ASPD has been criticised for capturing a heterogenous population whilst missing the essence of the diagnosis by neglecting interpersonal/affective deficits which measures of psychopathy include. This heterogeneity in operationalizations has led to diverse findings without clear understanding of what characterizes this broader population. This study sought to clarify the neuropsychological profiles of ASPD and psychopathy. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Assessment Battery was administered to 85 adult male offenders in a personality disorder secure service and to 20 healthy controls. Of patients with ASPD, 46% met criteria for psychopathy. Of those with psychopathy, 89% met criteria for ASPD. There were two sets of comparisons: ASPD versus other personality disorders versus controls and psychopathy versus other personality disorders versus controls. ASPD showed deficits across executive functions, visual short-term and working memory, and attention (compared with controls). Psychopathy showed deficits limited to attention, complex planning, inhibitory control, and response reversal. Response reversal and visual search deficits appeared specific to ASPD and psychopathy versus other personality disorders and may underpin antisocial traits. Additional deficits in inhibitory control and working memory appeared to distinguish ASPD from other personality disorders.