Learning-style bias and the development of psychopathy

Caroline Moul*, Mark R. Dadds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In accordance with a recently proposed account of amygdala function in psychopathy, it is hypothesized that people with high levels of psychopathic personality traits have a bias in learning style to encode the general valence, and neglect the specific-features, of an outcome. We present a novel learning task designed to operationalize these biases in learning style. The results from pilot samples of healthy adults and children and from a clinical sample of children with conduct problems provide support for the validity of the learning task as a measure of learning style and demonstrate a significant relationship between general-valence style learning and psychopathic personality traits. It is suggested that this relationship may be important for the aetiology of the social-cognitive deficits exhibited by psychopaths. These preliminary results suggest that this measure of learning style has the potential to be utilized as a research tool and may assist with the early identification, and treatment, of children with conduct problems and high levels of callous-unemotional traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue numberSPL.ISS.1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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