The article “Atypical empathic responses in adolescents with aggressive conduct disorder: A functional MRI investigation” appeared online on September 30, 2008, in the journal Biological Psychology.
Its authors are Jean Decety, Kalina J. Michalska, Yuko Akitsuki, and Benjamin B. Lahey, all from The University of Chicago, in Illinois, U.S.A.
The leader of the study, Dr. Lahey, is associated with the Department of Health Studies and the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Chicago.
The abstract of their paper states, “Because youth with aggressive conduct disorder (CD) often inflict pain on others, it is important to determine if they exhibit atypical empathic responses to viewing others in pain.”
CD is a psychiatric (mental) disorder that is associated with very aggressive and/or harmful behavior towards other people and animals such as verbal and physical aggression, cruel and destructive behavior, stealing, and vandalism.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about one to four percent of nine to 17 year old children are afflicted with CD in the United States.
It is a relatively rare disorder, but is much more frequent in boys than girls.
How was the study performed? What were its results? Please read on.