On the Associations Between Indicators of Resting Arousal Levels, Physiological Reactivity, Sensation Seeking, and Psychopathic Traits

Published on Apr 15, 2019in Personality and Individual Differences3.004
· DOI :10.1016/J.PAID.2019.01.013
Nicholas Kavish6
Estimated H-index: 6
(SHSU: Sam Houston State University),
Danielle Boisvert15
Estimated H-index: 15
(SHSU: Sam Houston State University)
+ 4 AuthorsTodd A. Armstrong14
Estimated H-index: 14
(UNO: University of Nebraska Omaha)
Sources
Abstract
Abstract Despite consistent findings associating autonomic activity, such as resting heart rate, with antisocial behavior, the research connecting autonomic variables to related phenotypes, such as psychopathy and sensation seeking, has been mixed. The existing research in this area has been limited by underpowered samples, focused predominantly on incarcerated males, frequently dichotomized samples into “psychopaths” and controls, and failed to consider potential gender differences. The current study sought to address some of these limitations using a relatively large undergraduate sample (N = 453), four measures of autonomic activity (e.g., resting heart rate, resting skin conductance, heart rate reactivity, and skin conductance reactivity), a sensation seeking scale, and two measures of psychopathic traits. In order to thoroughly assess possible gender differences, the analyses were conducted for males and females separately. Few significant associations were found between the autonomic and psychological variables, and most became insignificant after controlling for age and race and correcting for multiple comparisons. The current study offers little support for an association between autonomic activity and sensation seeking or psychopathic traits.
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#1Olga Sanchez De Ribera (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 3
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Abstract Substantial research has investigated the association between intelligence and psychopathic traits. The findings to date have been inconsistent and have not always considered the multi-dimensional nature of psychopathic traits. Moreover, there has been a tendency to confuse psychopathy with other closely related, clinically significant disorders. The current study represents a meta-analysis conducted to evaluate the direction and magnitude of the association of intelligence with global ...
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#1Nicholas Kavish (SHSU: Sam Houston State University)H-Index: 6
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Despite the prior linkages of low resting heart rate to antisocial behavior broadly defined, less work has been done examining possible associations between heart rate to psychopathic traits. The small body of research on the topic that has been conducted so far seems to suggest an inverse relationship between the two constructs. A smaller number of studies has found the opposite result, however, and some of the previous studies have been limited by small sample sizes and unrepresentative sample...
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#3Yu Gao (CUNY: City University of New York)H-Index: 20
Abstract Reduced autonomic activity is a risk factor for psychopathy, but the mechanisms underlying this association are under-researched. We hypothesize that emotional intelligence mediates this relationship. Emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence, scores on the Psychopathy Checklist- Revised (PCL-R), skin conductance, and heart rate were assessed in 156 men from communities in Los Angeles. Emotional intelligence fully mediated the relationship between autonomic functioning and total ps...
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A guiding question for this special section, sparked by the increasing number of studies on callous –unemotional traits (CU traits) and the DSM-5 Limited Prosocial Emotion (LPE) specifier, is whether CU traits are enough to identify a clinically meaningful subgroup of youth with conduct problems or whether other psychopathic traits contribute. Seven empirical papers and two commentary papers address this question to varying degrees and in different ways with some papers “competing” various model...
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The seven articles in this Special Section of the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment underscore the point that, at least in the psychopathy domain, parsimony is frequently an inaccurate scientific heuristic. These articles highlight the multidimensionality of youth psychopathy, suggesting that (a) the full constellation of psychopathy tends to outperform callous-unemotional traits alone in statistically predicting external criteria, (b) psychopathy subdimensions often interact ...
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Across the last several decades, a growing body of research has accumulated concerning the relationship between indicators of general intelligence and the personality construct known as psychopathy. Both traits represent key correlates of life outcomes, predicting everything from occupational and economic success, to various indicators of prosocial and antisocial behaviour. The findings to date regarding the association of the two traits, however, have been somewhat inconsistent. Moreover, there...
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Although it is well established that males engage in more crime compared with females, little is known about what accounts for the gender gap. Few studies have been aimed at empirically examining mediators of the gender–crime relationship in a longitudinal context. In this study, we test the hypothesis that a low resting heart rate partly mediates the relationship between gender and crime. In a sample of 894 participants, the resting heart rate at 11 years of age was examined alongside self-repo...
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A wealth of past research has examined the relationship between low physiological arousal and violence or antisocial behavior. Relatively little research; however, has examined the relationship between low physiological arousal and psychopathic traits, with even less having been conducted with juveniles. The current study attempts to fill this gap by evaluating juveniles’ physiological arousal using resting heart rate and their levels of psychopathic traits. Results suggest that there is indeed ...
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This study aimed to identify distinct subgroups of adults in a general population sample (N = 2,500; 52.6% females) based on their scores on three psychopathy dimensions. Using latent profile analy ...
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The associations between physiological measures (i.e., heart rate and skin conductance) of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity and severe antisocial spectrum behavior (AB) were meta-analyzed. We used an exhaustive partitioning of variables relevant to the ANS-AB association and investigated four highly relevant questions (on declining effect sizes, psychopathy subscales, moderators, and ANS measures) that are thought to be transformative for future research on AB. We investigated a broad spe...
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Elevated callous-unemotional (CU) traits have been repeatedly identified in a subgroup of offenders that displays severe antisocial behavior; establishing physiological markers may help improve early identification and treatment efforts. This study examines to what extent baseline-resting heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) can be used as markers of CU in incarcerated juvenile and adult offenders. CU traits were assessed using the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional traits. Results of ...
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A large body of research has accumulated investigating the possibility of an association between resting heart rate and psychopathic traits, with meta-analysis suggesting a modest, negative association. Some recent research suggests that prior findings of an association between heart rate and psychopathy may be influenced by inclusion of antisocial behavior in the assessment of psychopathic traits. The current study explores this possibility in a longitudinal sample of British males by comparing...
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