Decision-making in psychopathy

Melissa A. Hughes, Mairead C. Dolan, Julie C. Stout*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Psychopathy is a complex developmental personality disorder. Recent theories have linked psychopathy to impairment in the frontostriatal circuitry linking the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Similar neural regions have been implicated in decision-making. Given the importance of decision-making in the context of personal and societal problems, together with the convergence of brain regions important in both decision-making and psychopathy, the study of decision-making in psychopathy has the potential to illuminate important cognitive and neurobiological bases for psychopathy. In this review, we synthesise past research on psychopathy and decision-making, and then describe three decision-making tasks that we predict would be useful for understanding cognitive decisional processes in psychopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive decision processes
  • Decision-making
  • Decision-making tasks
  • Neurocognitive
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychopathy


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