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Durham University



Publication details for Dr James Negen

Centifanti, Luna C. M. & Negen, James (2018). Strong evidence that callous–unemotional traits are not related to risk-taking task performance. F1000Research 7: 502.

Author(s) from Durham


A hypothesized association between callous–unemotional (CU) traits and risk-taking may account for the link between CU traits and real-world risky behaviors, such as illegal behavior. Prior findings show that reward and punishment responsivity differs in relation to CU traits, but is not associated with general risk-taking. However this has only been examined previously with one task, only with a frequentist framework, and with limited interpretation. Here, we expand to another task and to Bayesian analyses. A total of 657 participants (52% female) completed the Inventory of Callous–Unemotional Traits, the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (essentially a gambling task), and the Stoplight driving task, which repeatedly presents participants with riskier or less risky choices to make while driving. We found strong evidence for the null model, in which there is no relation between the two risk-taking tasks and CU traits (R2 = 0.001; BF10 = 1/60.22). These results suggest that general risk-taking does not underlie the real-world risky behavior of people with CU traits. Alternative explanations include a different method of valuing certain outcomes.

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