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Psychopathic traits are associated with reduced attention to the eyes of emotional faces among adult male non-offenders.

Gillespie SM, Rotshtein P, Wells LJ, Beech AR, Mitchell IJ - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: Although reduced attention to the eyes has been noted among children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits, similar findings are yet to be found in relation to psychopathic traits among adult male participants.We found no relationship of primary or secondary psychopathic traits with recognition accuracy.These results are the first to show effects of psychopathic traits on attention to the eyes of emotional faces in an adult male sample, and may support amygdala based accounts of psychopathy.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Birmingham Birmingham, UK.

ABSTRACT
Psychopathic traits are linked with impairments in emotional facial expression recognition. These impairments may, in part, reflect reduced attention to the eyes of emotional faces. Although reduced attention to the eyes has been noted among children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits, similar findings are yet to be found in relation to psychopathic traits among adult male participants. Here we investigated the relationship of primary (selfish, uncaring) and secondary (impulsive, antisocial) psychopathic traits with attention to the eyes among adult male non-offenders during an emotion recognition task. We measured the number of fixations, and overall dwell time, on the eyes, and the mouth of male and female faces showing the six basic emotions at varying levels of intensity. We found no relationship of primary or secondary psychopathic traits with recognition accuracy. However, primary psychopathic traits were associated with a reduced number of fixations, and lower overall dwell time, on the eyes relative to the mouth across expressions, intensity, and sex. Furthermore, the relationship of primary psychopathic traits with attention to the eyes of angry and fearful faces was influenced by the sex and intensity of the expression. We also showed that a greater number of fixations on the eyes, relative to the mouth, were associated with increased accuracy for angry and fearful expression recognition. These results are the first to show effects of psychopathic traits on attention to the eyes of emotional faces in an adult male sample, and may support amygdala based accounts of psychopathy. These findings may also have methodological implications for clinical studies of emotion recognition.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Example stimuli. A female fearful expression expressed at (left–right): low intensity (10%), moderate intensity (55%), and high intensity (90%). Reproduced from Gillespie et al. (2015).
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Figure 1: Example stimuli. A female fearful expression expressed at (left–right): low intensity (10%), moderate intensity (55%), and high intensity (90%). Reproduced from Gillespie et al. (2015).

Mentions: Ten different Caucasian models (five females) were selected from the NimStim Face Stimulus Set (Tottenham et al., 2009; http://www.macbrain.org/resources.htm). Each model conveyed a neutral expression, and each of the six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happy, sad, and surprise. The models were selected on the basis of validity data that indicate a high mean proportion correct for the chosen expressions: neutral (M = 0.84, SD = 0.13), angry (M = 0.85, SD = 0.83), disgust (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13), fear (M = 0.84, SD = 0.13), happy (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13), sad (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13), surprised (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13). In order to manipulate the intensity of the emotional expressions, each expression was morphed from neutral to 100% expressive in 10 successive frames using the STOIK Morph Man software (http://www.stoik.com/products/video/STOIK-MorphMan/). This resulted in 10 morphed continua for each of the six expressions for the 10 selected models. For task purposes, three frames of varying intensity were selected for each expression; mild intensity (10% expressive); moderate intensity (55% expressive); high intensity (90% expressive). See Figure 1 for example stimuli. Thus, we had 18 faces across all expressions for each model, 180 faces in total.


Psychopathic traits are associated with reduced attention to the eyes of emotional faces among adult male non-offenders.

Gillespie SM, Rotshtein P, Wells LJ, Beech AR, Mitchell IJ - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Example stimuli. A female fearful expression expressed at (left–right): low intensity (10%), moderate intensity (55%), and high intensity (90%). Reproduced from Gillespie et al. (2015).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4595655&req=5

Figure 1: Example stimuli. A female fearful expression expressed at (left–right): low intensity (10%), moderate intensity (55%), and high intensity (90%). Reproduced from Gillespie et al. (2015).
Mentions: Ten different Caucasian models (five females) were selected from the NimStim Face Stimulus Set (Tottenham et al., 2009; http://www.macbrain.org/resources.htm). Each model conveyed a neutral expression, and each of the six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happy, sad, and surprise. The models were selected on the basis of validity data that indicate a high mean proportion correct for the chosen expressions: neutral (M = 0.84, SD = 0.13), angry (M = 0.85, SD = 0.83), disgust (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13), fear (M = 0.84, SD = 0.13), happy (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13), sad (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13), surprised (M = 0.85, SD = 0.13). In order to manipulate the intensity of the emotional expressions, each expression was morphed from neutral to 100% expressive in 10 successive frames using the STOIK Morph Man software (http://www.stoik.com/products/video/STOIK-MorphMan/). This resulted in 10 morphed continua for each of the six expressions for the 10 selected models. For task purposes, three frames of varying intensity were selected for each expression; mild intensity (10% expressive); moderate intensity (55% expressive); high intensity (90% expressive). See Figure 1 for example stimuli. Thus, we had 18 faces across all expressions for each model, 180 faces in total.

Bottom Line: Although reduced attention to the eyes has been noted among children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits, similar findings are yet to be found in relation to psychopathic traits among adult male participants.We found no relationship of primary or secondary psychopathic traits with recognition accuracy.These results are the first to show effects of psychopathic traits on attention to the eyes of emotional faces in an adult male sample, and may support amygdala based accounts of psychopathy.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Birmingham Birmingham, UK.

ABSTRACT
Psychopathic traits are linked with impairments in emotional facial expression recognition. These impairments may, in part, reflect reduced attention to the eyes of emotional faces. Although reduced attention to the eyes has been noted among children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits, similar findings are yet to be found in relation to psychopathic traits among adult male participants. Here we investigated the relationship of primary (selfish, uncaring) and secondary (impulsive, antisocial) psychopathic traits with attention to the eyes among adult male non-offenders during an emotion recognition task. We measured the number of fixations, and overall dwell time, on the eyes, and the mouth of male and female faces showing the six basic emotions at varying levels of intensity. We found no relationship of primary or secondary psychopathic traits with recognition accuracy. However, primary psychopathic traits were associated with a reduced number of fixations, and lower overall dwell time, on the eyes relative to the mouth across expressions, intensity, and sex. Furthermore, the relationship of primary psychopathic traits with attention to the eyes of angry and fearful faces was influenced by the sex and intensity of the expression. We also showed that a greater number of fixations on the eyes, relative to the mouth, were associated with increased accuracy for angry and fearful expression recognition. These results are the first to show effects of psychopathic traits on attention to the eyes of emotional faces in an adult male sample, and may support amygdala based accounts of psychopathy. These findings may also have methodological implications for clinical studies of emotion recognition.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus