Thida Han

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Derek Mitchell


Psychopathy, a developmental disorder characterized by profound behavioural disturbance, is associated with impaired recognition of distress cues. Previous studies indicate that this impairment can be improved by redirecting attention to critical cues (the eyes for fearful faces), although the associated functional neuroanatomy remains unknown. fMRI was used on a community sample of individuals with high vs. low scores on the Coldheartedness (CH) subscale of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (N=32). Participants identified emotional expressions consisting o f whole, or partial faces that isolated critical portions of each expression. Contrasting functional activity between the least-informative (eyes removed) and the most-informative (eyes only) portion of fearful faces revealed reduced activity in neural regions associated with emotion (amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex) and attention (fronto-parietal network), in the high CH group relative to the low CH group. Individuals with high CH traits exhibit abnormalities in neurocognitive systems responsible for orienting attention to critical emotional cues.



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