Attention network performance and psychopathic symptoms in early adolescence: An ERP study

Kristina Hiatt Racer, Tara Torassa Gilbert, Phan Luu, Joshua Felver-Gant, Yalchin Abdullaev, Thomas J. Dishion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Reaction time (RT) and event-related potential (ERP) measures were used to examine the relationships between psychopathic symptoms and three major attention networks (alerting, orienting, and executive attention) among a community sample of youth. Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD; Frick and Hare 2001) total and subscale scores were negatively correlated with ERP measures of attentional alerting, indicating that youth with psychopathic symptoms had difficulty using warning cues to prepare for upcoming targets. APSD total scores were not related to performance on measures of orienting or executive attention, although weaker executive attention was found among youth with higher scores on the Impulsivity subscale. These findings support attention-based models of psychopathy and provide evidence of specific deficits in attentional alerting among youth with psychopathic traits. Deficiencies in attentional alerting may be related to noradrenergic functioning and may have cascading effects on higher order cognitive and affective processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1012
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • ANT
  • Antisocial personality
  • Attention
  • Evoked potential
  • Psychopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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