Table 1

Neuropsychological studies of frontal lobe function in aggressive and antisocial subjects

Reference Subjects Neuropsychological test measure Results
Deckelet al 29 89 men, age 21–25, recruited from community• WCST, COWT, PMT• PMT VII Maze added significantly to prediction of ASPD
• Decrease in left versus right frontal EEG activation in ASPD
Rosse et al 30 14 male crack cocaine addicted inpatients with ASPDWCST• Low violence group made significantly more perseverative errors than high violence group
Giancola and Zeichner31 Laboratory aggression in community sample, 72 white men aged 18–32SOP, CAT• Increased aggression correlated with decreased FL test performance
Lau et al 32 Laboratory aggression and alcohol intoxication in community sample, 114 male social drinkersSOP, CAT• Increased intoxication correlated with increased aggression
• Lowest 25% on FL tests significantly more aggressive
Giancola et al 33 Self reported aggression in 198 males aged 10–12 at risk for substance misuse, and controls; 2 year prospective follow upPMT, vigilance task, forbidden toy task, motor restraint task, WISC-R block design• Significantly lower EF scores in boys at risk for substance abuse
• Low EF scores significantly predicted increased aggression
Giancolaet al 34 Case-control study of aggressive antisocial behaviour in 249 conduct disordered females, age 14–18, and controlsPMT, vigilance task, motor restraint task, SCWT, WISC-R/WAIS-R block design, picture arrangement and object assembly• CD subjects had significantly lower EF scores
• Low EF scores significantly correlated with aggression, even when controlling for ADHD
Foster et al 35 One year prospective study of aggression in 23 male forensic psychiatric inpatients• SCWT, JLOT, SDMT, TONI, WCST, EPT• Scores on SCWT, JLOT, and EPT only significantly predicted frequency, but not severity of aggression
• Overt aggression scale
LaPierre et al 36 30 psychopathic male criminals compared with 30 non-psychopathic male criminals• Visual go/no-go, PMT qualitative error score, WCST, mental rotation task• Psychopathic subjects significantly impaired on visual go/no-go, PMT errors and olfactory identification
• Modular smell identification test• WCST and mental rotation no different from controls
  • WCST=Wisconsin card sorting test; COWT=controlled oral word fluency test; PMT=Porteus maze test; WISC-R=Wechsler intelligence scale for children-revised; WAIS-R=Wechsler adult intelligence scale-revised; FL=frontal lobe; EF=executive functions; SOP=self ordered pointing task; CAT=conditional associative learning task; SCWT=Stroop colour-word task; JLOT=judgment of line orientation test; SDMT=symbol digit modalities test; TONI=test of non-verbal intelligence; EPT=emotional perception test; ASPD=antisocial personality disorder; CD=conduct disorder.