Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Kids with conduct problems may have brains that under-react to painful images: May increase risk of adult psychopathy

Date:
May 2, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
When children with conduct problems see images of others in pain, key parts of their brains don't react in the way they do in most people. This pattern of reduced brain activity upon witnessing pain may serve as a neurobiological risk factor for later adult psychopathy, say researchers.

Brain scans. Brain images showed that, relative to controls, children with conduct problems show reduced responses to others' pain specifically in regions of the brain known to play a role in empathy.
Credit: © Stjepan Banovic / Fotolia

When children with conduct problems see images of others in pain, key parts of their brains don't react in the way they do in most people. This pattern of reduced brain activity upon witnessing pain may serve as a neurobiological risk factor for later adult psychopathy, say researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 2.

That's not to say that all children with conduct problems are the same, or that all children showing this brain pattern in young life will become psychopaths. The researchers emphasize that many children with conduct problems do not persist with their antisocial behavior.

"Our findings indicate that children with conduct problems have an atypical brain response to seeing other people in pain," says Essi Viding of University College London. "It is important to view these findings as an indicator of early vulnerability, rather than biological destiny. We know that children can be very responsive to interventions, and the challenge is to make those interventions even better, so that we can really help the children, their families, and their wider social environment."

Conduct problems represent a major societal problem and include physical aggression, cruelty to others, and a lack of empathy, or "callousness." In the United Kingdom, where the study was conducted, about five percent of children qualify for a diagnosis of conduct problems. But very little is known about the underlying biology.

In the new study, Viding, Patricia Lockwood, and their colleagues scanned children's brains by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see how those with conduct problems differ in their response to viewing images of others in pain.

The brain images showed that, relative to controls, children with conduct problems show reduced responses to others' pain specifically in regions of the brain known to play a role in empathy. The researchers also saw variation among those with conduct problems, with those deemed to be more callous showing lower brain activation than less callous individuals.

"Our findings very clearly point to the fact that not all children with conduct problems share the same vulnerabilities; some may have neurobiological vulnerability to psychopathy, while others do not," Viding says. "This raises the possibility of tailoring existing interventions to suit the specific profile of atypical processing that characterizes a child with conduct problems."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Patricia L. Lockwood, Catherine L. Sebastian, Eamon J. McCrory, Zoe H. Hyde, Xiaosi Gu, Stéphane A. De Brito, Essi Viding. Association of Callous Traits with Reduced Neural Response to Others’ Pain in Children with Conduct Problems. Current Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.018

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Kids with conduct problems may have brains that under-react to painful images: May increase risk of adult psychopathy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502131859.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, May 2). Kids with conduct problems may have brains that under-react to painful images: May increase risk of adult psychopathy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502131859.htm
Cell Press. "Kids with conduct problems may have brains that under-react to painful images: May increase risk of adult psychopathy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502131859.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) — China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins