Differences in Inhibitory Control between Impulsive and Premeditated Aggression in Juvenile Inmates.

Research paper by Zhuo Z Zhang, Qianglong Q Wang, Xu X Liu, Ping P Song, Bo B Yang

Indexed on: 10 Aug '17Published on: 10 Aug '17Published in: Frontiers in human neuroscience


Inhibitory control dysfunction was considered a universal characteristic of violent offenders. The aim of this study was to examine differences in inhibitory control between two subtypes of violent youth; those displaying predominantly impulsive and those presenting predominantly premeditated aggression (PM). Forty-four juvenile offenders, defined on the basis of the Procedures for the Classification of Aggressive/Violent Acts (Stanford and Barratt, 2001) participated (N = 23: impulsive; N = 21 premeditated). A visual Go/NoGo task was used to compare behavioral responses and event-related potentials (ERPs) between groups. The task contained two letters (W and M), W was the Go stimulus and M the NoGo stimulus. The impulsive youth showed a significantly greater decrease in N2 latency for Go relative to NoGo trials than the premeditated aggressive youth. The differentiation in N2 amplitude between Go and NoGo (N2d) was negatively correlated with impulsivity of aggression. Both groups showed no significant central NoGo P3. Our findings suggest that impulsive violent youth show stronger prepotent responses and impaired conflict monitoring during early inhibitory control processing relative to premeditated aggressive youth. Both impulsive and premeditated violent youth may show impaired response inhibition at the late processing stage of inhibitory control.