The Relationship Between Memory and Event-Related Potentials in Pathologically Impulsive Aggressive Juveniles: A Retrospective Chart Study




Fisher, William

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This study is a retrospective chart review designed to test the Limbic Dysmodulation Hypothesis (LDH) of the etiology of impulsive aggression among 80 juveniles in residential treatment. The LDH suggests that limbic electrical dysfunction is the central cause of pathologically impulsive aggression. Specifically, abnormal electrical activity, or limbic kindling, is thought to lower the threshold for impulsive aggression. Thus, according to the LDH, neurophysiological indices of brain function (e.g., Event Related Potentials, ERPs) and psychometric tests of limbic function (e.g., measures of memory) should be correlated among individuals with impulsive aggression. Variables of interest included age, gender, auditory ERPs (normal or abnormal), visual ERPs (normal or abnormal), and verbal and visual memory (indexed via the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, WRAML-2). In addition, verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning and intelligence were measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC-IV). Contrary to the LDH, results indicated that measures of memory did not significantly correlate with neuroelectric measures as derived from neurologists. reports. However, summary variables of absolute memory differences (verbal minus visual memory from the WRAML2) and any ERP abnormality (either auditory or visual) were significantly positively correlated. Taken together, these findings suggest that although there is some relationship between memory and neuroelectric activity among impulsive aggressive juveniles, this relationship does not account for a substantial amount of the model variance. The LDH is not supported by these limited findings.



Impulsive, Aggression, Juveniles, ERP, Memory


Fisher, W. (2009). <i>The relationship between memory and event-related potentials in pathologically impulsive aggressive juveniles: A retrospective chart study</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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