Facial Emotion Recognition and Processing in Fearless Dominance and Impulsive Antisociality
Wilson, George H., III
Psychopathy has been shown to be associated with deficits in recognizing and processing emotion. We used a face recognition task in which 86 participants screened in the Vanderbilt emergency room viewed faces of men and women expressing one of seven possible emotions and identified which emotion each face displayed. During this task, we recorded the participants’ accuracy in identifying the emotion portrayed by each face and their brains’ responses to the faces through EEG. These responses were correlated with scores on fearless dominance (FD) and impulsive antisociality (IA) in psychopathy. We found that whereas FD was unrelated to facial recognition accuracy, IA was negatively correlated with recognition of disgust, and that those high in IA mistook pictures of disgusted faces as angry. Mirroring these behavioral findings, the amplitudes of the early P1 component for disgust faces were inversely related to IA, particularly for components measured in the right hemisphere. In contrast, the right frontal vertex positive potential was negatively correlated with FD for all faces. P3 magnitude was negatively correlated with all faces, and significantly more negatively correlated with FD for angry faces than for fearful faces; again, these relationships were observed in the right hemisphere. Taken together, these results indicate that both FD and IA are associated with deviant right hemispheric face processing, but these deficits are reflected in behavioral emotion recognition only in IA.