The neurobiology of psychopathy

John Stratton, Kent A. Kiehl, Robert E. Hanlon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This review outlines the neurocognitive and neurobiological models of psychopathy. Neurocognitive models propose that deficits in cognition (specifically attention) underlie the deficient processing of emotional information among people with psychopathy. Neurobiological models propose that abnormalities in brain structures, functions, and circuitry give rise to the emotional and behavioral disturbances, including violent criminal behavior, that characterize the disorder. The relevant neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies of individuals with psychopathy are reviewed. Findings implicate structural and functional abnormalities in prefrontal, limbic, and paralimbic structures, including the orbital frontal cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, anterior superior temporal gyrus, insula, anterior and posterior cingulate, amygdala, and parahippocampal gyrus. Proposed therapeutic and neurobiological treatment interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Annals
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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