Psychopathy, startle blink modulation, and electrodermal reactivity in twin men

Stephen D. Benning, Christopher J. Patrick, William G. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


Psychopathy is a personality disorder with interpersonal-emotional and antisocial deviance facets. This study investigated these facets of psychopathy prospectively using normal-range personality traits in a community sample of young adult men who completed a picture-viewing task that included startle blink and skin conductance measures, like tasks used to study psychopathy in incarcerated men. Consistent with prior research, scores on the interpersonal-emotional facet of psychopathy ("fearless dominance") were associated with deficient fear-potentiated startle. Conversely, scores on the social deviance facet of psychopathy ("impulsive antisociality") were associated with smaller overall skin conductance magnitudes. Participants high in fearless dominance also exhibited deficient skin conductance magnitudes specifically to aversive pictures. Findings encourage further investigation of psychopathy and its etiology in community samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-762
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Community sample
  • Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire
  • Psychopathic Personality Inventory
  • Psychopathy
  • Skin conductance
  • Startle


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