To test the hypothesis that lowered reactivity and/or more rapid adaptation to sensory inputs is a primary characteristic in psychopaths, 19 psychopathic, 21 neurotic, and 26 normal juvenile delinquents were identified by a behavior checklist and were presented with 21 successive tone stimuli while skin conductance and heart rate (HR) were being monitored. Results indicate that psychopaths gave significantly lower GSRs to the initial stimulus and lower, though not significantly lower, HR changes and prestimulus to poststimulus basal skin conductance increases. Skin conductance levels during rest and stimulation periods were not significantly different. It is concluded that the psychopathic autonomic characteristic resides in lower initial reactivity and not in more rapid adaptation, at least in response to a simple auditory stimulus. (18 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health