University of New Mexico, Department of Psychology, Albuquerque, NM, United States; The Mind Research Network (MRN) and Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute (LBERI), Albuquerque, NM, United States. Electronic address: [Email]
Cavum Septum Pellucidum (CSP) is a common anatomical variant of the septum pellucidum. CSP is considered a marker for abnormal limbic brain development, but its functional consequences are non-specific. In a recent report (Crooks et al., 2018), CSP size was significantly positively correlated with the affective/interpersonal traits of psychopathy in male offenders (N = 1742). Here we test the hypothesis that CSP is related to psychopathic traits in incarcerated females (N = 355). We examine continuous relationships as well as categorical assignments for CSP size corresponding to a number of prior reports. We also compare female offenders to healthy female controls (N = 385). Consistent with our reported findings in males, a positive association was observed between the interpersonal psychopathic traits and CSP size. In contrast to findings among males, an association between CSP and antisocial psychopathic traits was apparent in females. There was no significant difference in CSP size (in mm) or CSP presence/absence between incarcerated and non-incarcarated groups. However, categorical rates of medium and large CSP were more common in female inmates than in controls. This is the first systematic investigation of these variables in a female inmate sample. In combination with our prior study, these findings demonstrate that limbic abnormalities, as indexed by CSP, are related to psychopathic traits in both female and male inmates.