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Turnbull, O. Pally, R. (2000). Research Digest. Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):277-281.

(2000). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):277-281

Research Digest

Review by:
Oliver Turnbull

Regina Pally

Featured Articles

Anderson, S. W., Bechara, A., Damasio, H., Tranel, D., & Damasio, A. R. (1999), Impairment of social and moral behaviour related to early damage in human prefrontal cortex. Nature Neurosci., 2:1032-1037.Raine, A., Lencz, T., Bihrle, S., LaCasse, L., & Colletti, P. (2000), Reduced prefrontal gray matter volume and reduced autonomic activity in antisocial personality disorder. Arch. Gen. Psychiat., 57:119-127.Blair, R. J. R., & Cipolotti, L. (2000), Impaired social response reversal. Brain, 123:1122-1141.Damasio, A. R. (2000), Editorial. Arch. Gen. Psychiat., 57:128-129.

These papers discuss different aspects of the relationship between the frontal lobes and sociopathy/psychopathy. The Anderson et al. paper investigates the effects of early prefrontal lesions in two cases (motor vehicle accident at 15 months, and tumor resection at 3 months) on behavior when the patient has become an adult (the patients were 20 and 23 years old at testing). Like those who suffer prefrontal lesions as adults, both patients were socially inappropriate and insensitive to the consequences of their actions, in spite of normal basic cognitive abilities. They differed from the adult cases firstly by showing a far greater degree of deficit, with life histories of crime, teenage pregnancy, comprehensive failure in maintaining work, and extremely poor interpersonal relations. Perhaps more importantly, they showed defective social and moral reasoning. The latter aspect stands in contrast to adult onset cases with orbital and medial frontal lesions (especially on the right), who are aware that they should not be behaving inappropriately but seem unable to stop themselves from producing unwished-for consequences (though see the Blair and Cipolotti paper for more detail on this).

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