DOI: 10.14704/nq.2012.10.4.620

Dysfunctional Love in Psychopathic Criminals: The Neural Basis

Barbara Gawda


This study focused on the description of love by individuals diagnosed with psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that psychopathic individuals have ambiguous, ambivalent, and dysfunctional representation of love, which is expressed in their emotional language. The study participants consisted of 60 prison inmates with ASPD, 40 prison inmates without ASPD, and 60 men without antisocial tendencies who described situations involving love. The descriptions of love expressed in the narratives were analyzed, and a comparison of the three groups revealed differences between inmates with psychopathy and ASPD, inmates without psychopathy and ASPD, and the control group. The psychopathic individuals described love as an unclear complex emotion, strong, and with and inappropriate valence and high self-concentration. The description of love showed the lack of clear understanding of the situation of love, people involved in this situation, and the results. This dysfunctional form of love presented by individuals with psychopathy has been discussed in terms of their neurobiological deficits related to the prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, amygdala, grey matter structure, and limbic abnormalities.

NeuroQuantology | December 2012 | Volume 10 | Issue 4| Page 725-732


love; psychopathy; neurobiological abnormalities

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