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State-dependent executive deficits among psychopathic offenders

  • YANA SUCHY (a1) and DAVID S. KOSSON (a2)


Three hypotheses for cognitive deficits among psychopaths were tested: Response modulation, left hemisphere activation, and an interaction between the 2. Twenty-six psychopathic and 32 nonpsychopathic criminal offenders identified with the Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised were randomly assigned to left- and right-hemisphere activation groups. An auditory processing task was administered, such that the ability to classify nonverbal auditory signals and the ability to manage subgoals were assessed under left- and right-hemisphere activation conditions. The results showed that psychopaths' information processing in general, including response modulation, was deleteriously affected by left-hemisphere activation, supporting 2 of the 3 hypotheses tested. These results offer an explanation for inconsistent findings of executive deficits among psychopaths. (JINS, 2005, 11, 311–321.)


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Yana Suchy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Department of Psychology, 380 S. 1530 E., Rm. 502, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0251. E-mail:


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