PhD Defence Ilse van de Groep On April 6th: Resisting, Desisting or Persisting? Neural correlates of antisocial and psychopathic pathways in early adulthood

On April 6th, Ilse van de Groep defended her dissertation entitled “Resisting, Desisting or Persisting? Neural correlates of antisocial and psychopathic pathways in early adulthood.”

Dissertation in short:

Children who encounter the police early are at risk of developing persistent antisocial behavior later, but by no means all of them end up on the “wrong” path. However, it is unclear why and how possible differences in development occur, particularly in young adulthood (18-30 years). During this period, a lot changes in the social environment, giving young people the opportunity to stop displaying antisocial behavior. However, successful adaptation requires (self)knowledge and skills to balance constraints of the social environment while enabling you to achieve your personal goals. In this dissertation, I therefore examined whether young adults with and without a history of antisocial behavior process and use social information about themselves and others differently. Since there is much variation in antisocial behavior, I also examined individual differences in psychopathic traits. To better explain differences in behavior, I used functional MRI scans to examine which brain regions are involved in social information processing.

This led to some important discoveries. Young adults with persistent antisocial behavior show difficulty distinguishing between different types of social information and adjusting their behavior accordingly, whereas young adults who stopped displaying antisocial behavior are particularly good at adjusting their behavior. Young adults with higher levels of psychopathic traits also showed less brain activity when thinking about themselves and made more distinctions between themselves and others in a reward area of the brain while making choices, indicating that there are indeed differences in processing and using information about self and others in young adulthood.

Well done, Dr. van de Groep!!

Proud promotors: Eveline Crone, Arne Popma, Lucres Nauta-Jansen and Marieke Bos.



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