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Abstract

Psychopathy is a disorder characterized by antisocial and affective traits. Psychopaths present various behavioral problems and moral violations, rendering psychopathy to be defined as a disorder of moral insanity. In addition to behavioral and cognitive research providing evidence of these behavioral issues, neuroscientific research has found abnormal brain activity in psychopaths during moral reasoning tasks, specifically in brain areas that are have been implicated in moral cognition in normal population, such as the amygdala, posterior cingulate, hippocampus, and the basal ganglia. In this study, I aim to gather the results of all fMRI research that have studied brain activity during moral reasoning tasks in psychopath, and run a meta-analysis to see how psychopathy impairs brain activity during moral reasoning. Using the software GingerALE, devised by brainmap.com, I ran the results of 16 studies that have met the criteria to be included in this meta-analysis. The main meta-analysis did not provide any likelihood of activation results. This is the case due to the small number of studies included in the meta-analysis paired with the different methodology and tasks used in each study. In the future, as more fMRI research is completed in this area—moral reasoning in psychopaths—it is expected that a meta-analysis would show conclusive results.

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