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Vocally-Encoded Emotional Arousal as a Marker of Callous-Unemotional Traits in a Sample of Justice-Involved Adolescents

NCJ Number
Child Psychiatry and Human Development Volume: Online Dated: 2022
Date Published

This study examined vocally-encoded emotional arousal as a marker of callous-unemotional (CU) traits among a sample of justice-involved adolescents.


This study investigated the associations between f0 range measured during an emotionally evocative task, callous-unemotional (CU) traits, and emotion dysregulation in a mixed-gender sample of 168 justice-involved youth. Findings suggest that f0 range may serve as a valid indicator of CU traits in JJ-involved boys, and that detained boys and girls with high CU traits are characterized by different profiles of emotion dysregulation. CU traits are associated with severe and persistent juvenile offending. CU traits are also associated with dampened emotional arousal, which suggests that fundamental frequency (f0), a measure of vocally-encoded emotional arousal, may serve as an accessible psychophysiological marker of CU traits in youth. For boys, after controlling for covariates, wider f0 range—indicating greater emotional arousal—was negatively associated with CU traits and positively associated with emotion dysregulation. For girls, no significant associations with f0 range emerged; however, CU traits were positively associated with emotion dysregulation. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2022