5 years ago

Smith and Lilienfeld's meta-analysis of the response modulation hypothesis: Important theoretical and quantitative clarifications.

Baskin-Sommers AR, Newman JP
In the first meta-analytic review of the response modulation hypothesis (RMH), an attention-based model for understanding the etiology of psychopathy, Smith and Lilienfeld (2015) report that the average effect size for response modulation deficits in psychopathic individuals fell in the small to medium range (r = .20; p < .001, d = .41). Moreover, support for the RMH extended to both psychopathy dimensions, applied across diverse assessments and settings, and spanned child, adult, female, and male samples. The analysis also revealed good empirical support for a central tenet of the RMH, namely that response modulation deficits are not limited to the processing of threat or other emotion stimuli. Unfortunately, the Smith and Lilienfeld meta-analysis contains several theoretical and quantitative problems, including failing to distinguish adequately between the tasks used to evaluate RMH predictions and the theory itself, confusion regarding the evolution of the RMH and its impact on effect sizes, misinterpretations of RMH predictions and evidence regarding dominant response sets, passive avoidance, and primary task performance, and biased statements promoting the low fear model over the RMH. In this response, we endeavor to reduce misunderstanding by addressing the most salient issues, with the hope that increasing clarity will sharpen the focus of future research and result in more valid assessments of the RMH. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27869458

DOI: PubMed:27869458

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