This article introduces a novel theoretical framework for psychopathy that bridges dominant affective and cognitive models. According to the proposed impaired integration (II) framework of psychopathic dysfunction, topographical irregularities and abnormalities in neural connectivity in psychopathy hinder the complex process of information integration. Central to the II theory is the notion that psychopathic individuals are “‘wired up’ differently” (Hare, Williamson, & Harpur, 1988, p. 87). Specific theoretical assumptions include decreased functioning of the Salience and Default Mode Networks, normal functioning in (...) executive control networks, and less coordination and flexible switching between networks. Following a review of dominant models of psychopathy, we introduce our II theory as a parsimonious account of behavioral and brain irregularities in psychopathy. The II theory provides a unified theoretical framework for understanding psychopathic dysfunction and integrates principle tenets of affective and cognitive perspectives. Moreover, it accommodates evidence regarding connectivity abnormalities in psychopathy through its network theoretical perspective. (shrink)
Although Mealey's account provides several interesting hypotheses, her integration across disparate samples renders the value of her explanation for psychopathy ambiguous. Recent evidence on Psychopathy Checklist-identified samples (Hare, 1991) suggests primary emotional and cognitive deficits inconsistent with her model. Whereas high-anxious psychopaths display interpersonal deficits consistent with Mealey's hypotheses, low-anxious psychopaths' deficits appear more sensitive to situational parameters than predicted.