Neuropsychological correlates of youth psychopathy




Bezeau, Scott Cameron.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study investigated the neuropsychological correlates of psychopathy among adolescents. Forty-four male offenders between the ages of 15 and 18 were evaluated for level of psychopathy using the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV). The PCL:YV results for the entire sample were then subjected to a Rasch analysis. The sample of youth were also administered a series of neuropsychological measures designed to assess functioning of the prefrontal cortex and hemispheric specialization. A questionnaire designed to assess schizotypy was also administered. All participants were assessed while in custody and had been charged or convicted of a criminal offense. Hypotheses included (1) that the PCL:YV would fit the Rasch model, (2) that youth high on psychopathy would display deficits on executive functioning measures sensitive to processing of the orbital prefrontal cortex (OPFC), but not on measures sensitive to functioning of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), (3) that the psychopathic group would display reduced hemispheric lateralization, and (4) that the psychopathic group would display elevations on measures of schizotypy. The results indicated that the PCL:YV does fit the Rasch model, but failed to support either the presence of orbitofrontal dysfunction or reduced laterality among psychopaths. Psychopaths, however, were elevated on the schizotypy measures of Social Anhedonia and Impulsivity-Nonconformity. Results are discussed in terms of the biological and developmental characteristics of psychopathy.