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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Antisocial behavior is a heterogeneous construct that includes a range of behavioral problems and psychopathologies. With regard to classification, children and adolescents may be identified as having conduct disorder or callous–unemotional traits; whereas adults may be identified as having antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy. The adverse consequences of the behaviors and diagnoses related to this construct produce great burdens for the perpetrators, victims, family members, and society at large. Research has focused on identifying various factors contributing to antisocial behavior, with reward processing among one of the most studied. This chapter synthesizes self-report, behavioral, electrophysiological, and neuroimaging literature on reward processing in antisocial behavior across development. Findings are organized regarding key reward constructs within the Positive Valence Systems domain of the Research Domain Criteria matrix. Overall, children with conduct disorder display deficits in action selection, responsivity to reward, and reward prediction that result in risky choices, impaired performance in the face of reward, and poor integration of reward information. By contrast, children with callous–unemotional traits demonstrate poor reward learning and use of reward cues. In adults, those with antisocial personality disorder display deficits in reward valuation; whereas those with psychopathy show context-dependent abnormalities in multiple components of reward processing. Ultimately, an integrative focus on abnormal reward processing across subtypes of individuals who engage in antisocial behavior might help refine the phenotype and improve the prediction of onset and recovery of these disorders.

Keywords: antisocial behavior, conduct disorder, callous-unemotional traits, antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, reward processing

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