P3 amplitude reduction and executive function deficits in men convicted of spousal/partner abuse

Matthew S. Stanford, Sarah M. Conklin, Laura E. Helfritz, Tim R. Kockler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Recent studies using neuropsychological measures have demonstrated that a large percentage of spousal/partner abusers show significant clinical impairment. However, no studies to date have incorporated event-related potentials, such as the P3, to assess cognitive functioning in this population. In order to better define the cognitive processing deficits that may underlie intimate partner violence, the present study included both neuropsychological and psychophysiological (P3) measures in a sample of men convicted of spousal/partner abuse (n = 18). Study participants completed a battery of executive function measures and a standard auditory oddball task. P3 amplitude and latency to target stimuli were obtained at midline electrode sites. Analysis of the data found that perpetrators of spousal/partner abuse show significant deficits in executive functioning, specifically impulse control, and lower P3 amplitude compared to non-violent controls. The results of the present study suggest that aggressive behavior at least within the context of spousal/partner abuse may be partially explained by deficits in cognitive processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-375
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Event-related potentials
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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