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The startle reflex as an indicator of psychopathic personality from childhood to adulthood: A systematic review
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1704-9543
Department of Psychology, Florida State University, United States.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7231-4293
Department of Psychology, Florida State University, United States.
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2021 (English)In: Acta Psychologica, ISSN 0001-6918, E-ISSN 1873-6297, Vol. 220, article id 103427Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The startle reflex has been suggested to operate as a psychophysiological marker of psychopathic personality, based on findings from studies using a range of different methodologies and participant samples. The present review aims at synthesizing existing evidence of the relationship between psychopathy and the startle reflex across task paradigms, psychopathic personality subtypes and subdimensions, participant samples (i.e., incarcerated/ clinical or non-offenders), and age groups using the triarchic model of psychopathy as a frame of reference. Systematic literature searches were conducted up until the 24th of March 2020 in PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. A total of 2311 potential studies were identified, out of which 40 met relevancy and quality criteria. Results indicate that reduced aversive startle potentiation is associated with psychopathic personality in general, but clusters of traits relating to the triarchic model constructs of boldness and meanness in particular. Available evidence suggest that startle paradigms could be meaningful for differentiating individuals with and without psychopathic personality. Findings support suggestions of psychopathic personality as a multifaceted, rather than a unitary construct. Reduced aversive startle potentiation has also been found in relation to psychopathic features in child-aged samples but work of this kind is limited and more research is needed. Future studies should focus on greater consistency in task paradigms and analytic strategies to enhance the capacity to compare and integrate findings across studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021. Vol. 220, article id 103427
Keywords [en]
Antisocial personality disorder, Conduct disorder, Conduct problems, EMG, Externalizing behavior, IAPS, Psychopathy, Startle reflex
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-94870DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2021.103427ISI: 000710663700002PubMedID: 34628215Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85116533116OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-94870DiVA, id: diva2:1601891
Available from: 2021-10-11 Created: 2021-10-11 Last updated: 2023-01-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Biological risk factors for crime: Adverse perinatal events and psychophysiology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biological risk factors for crime: Adverse perinatal events and psychophysiology
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Biological risk factors for crime have been largely neglected within main-stream criminology. However, a large body of research has over the past few decades converged on the conclusion that it is important to consider biological risk factors for crime, as they may help to inform theory and etiology. We are gaining more knowledge about the biological underpinnings of crime in a rapidly evolving research field, but many questions remain to be answered.

The overarching goal with the present dissertation was to expand the knowledge about biological risk factors, including adverse perinatal events and psychophysiology, for crime. Specifically, Study I aimed to examine the associations between adverse perinatal events and offspring crime in men and women respectively. Study II aimed to examine associations for resting heart rate and systolic blood pressure with reoffending in men. Study III aimed to examine associations for resting heart rate with crime in women. Lastly, Study IV aimed to synthesize existing evidence on the relationship between psychopathic personality and aversive startle potentiation. These aims were pursued through three studies utilizing Swedish population-based registers (Study I, Study II, and Study III), as well as one systematic review (Study IV).

Taken together, the overall findings of the present dissertation suggest that biological risk factors are important for crime in various ways. Biological risk factors represent an important step forward to broaden our understanding of crime and may have the potential to inform theory and etiology as well as to ultimately improve prediction, prevention, and intervention strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2022. p. 97
Series
Örebro Studies in Criminology ; 1
Keywords
Biological Risk Factors, Crime, Criminal Offender, Biological Criminology, Adverse Perinatal Events, Psychophysiology, Psychopathy
National Category
Law and Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-97712 (URN)9789175294315 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-04-22, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-03-01 Created: 2022-03-01 Last updated: 2022-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Oskarsson, SofiSiponen, RebeccaEvans, BrittanyTuvblad, Catherine

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