Poster D9, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
ERP evidence of increased distractor salience AND suppression in psychopathic personality (target detection is unimpaired)
Patrick Carolan1, John J. McDonald1, Mario Liotti; 1Simon Fraser University
The selective attention model of psychopathy attributes the condition’s interpersonal and affective impairments to a general unresponsiveness to environmental information incongruent with attention-set. The current study used ERPs to examine whether attention abnormalities in psychopathic personality extend to goal directed deployment of spatial attention (target N2pc) and/or suppression of task-irrelevant information (distractor Ppc and Pd). 79 undergraduate students completed the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R), and performed a cognitive task in which a search display containing a lateralized singleton was presented surrounding a fixation point that varied in luminance from trial-to-trial. During visual search for the singleton, reaction time and N2pc fractional-latency were strongly correlated (r = .421, p < .001), however neither measure correlated with scores on the PPI-R or its subscales. Furthermore, regression analyses indicated that psychopathy did not moderate the association between N2pc latency and reaction time (β = .099, p = .413), and was unassociated with N2pc amplitude (r = -.086, p = .472). In contrast, when attending to fixation point luminance and ignoring the search display, distractor singleton Ppc and Pd amplitudes both correlated positively with scores on the Self-centered Impulsivity subscale of the PPI-R (r ≥ .256, p ≤ .024). This pattern of findings suggests that psychopathy does not impair the ability to simply direct attention to salient objects (N2pc). However, during focused attention, psychopathic impulsivity is characterized by a widened “preattentive window,” increasing initial salience calculations (Ppc) and subsequent suppression (Pd) of task-irrelevant items.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial