TUESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Differences seen in the structure and function of psychopaths' brains could help explain their often callous and impulsive anti-social behavior, U.S. researchers report.
They compared brain scans of 20 prisoners diagnosed as psychopaths and 20 prisoners who weren't psychopaths.
The scans revealed that psychopaths have fewer connections between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in feelings such as empathy and guilt, and the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety.
"This is the first study to show both structural and functional differences in the brains of people diagnosed with psychopathy," Michael Koenigs, an assistant professor of psychiatry in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a university news release. "Those two structures in the brain, which are believed to regulate emotion and social behavior, seem to not be communicating as they should."