Date of Award

Fall 10-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Baskin-Sommers, Arielle


Antisocial behavior includes a wide range of behaviors that violate social norms, from criminal acts to substance misuse. The adverse consequences of antisocial behavior produce a great physical and emotional burden on perpetrators, victims, and family members. This burden is not addressed adequately, with incarceration being the most common intervention for antisocial behavior. When individuals who chronically engage in antisocial behavior are offered therapeutic treatments, the majority neither complete nor benefit from them. One reason existing treatments do not fully address antisocial behavior is because they do not consider or target cognitive-affective dysfunctions driving such behavior, and mechanistic research, to date, does not adequately characterize these cognitive-affective dysfunctions. The present dissertation consists of three studies that refine accounts of cognitive-affective dysfunctions contributing to antisocial behavior and demonstrate how targeting identified dysfunctions can improve cognition and behavior in chronically antisocial individuals. More specifically, Study 1 examines how reward features impact perception, executive functioning, and risk-based decision-making in antisocial individuals. Study 2 examines how reward information is integrated during effort-based decision-making in antisocial individuals, and how negative affect impacts this integration. Finally, Study 3 tests a novel cognitive remediation training package designed to address cognitive-affective dysfunctions in antisocial individuals. Across the three studies in this dissertation, findings highlight that cognitive-affective dysfunctions related to antisocial behavior reflect difficulty integrating information in specific affectively charged circumstances, and call for a less pessimistic view about treatment for antisocial behavior, and the burden it produces, when these dysfunctions are considered.