Externalizing psychopatholog yand the error-related negativity

Psychological Science 18 (4):326-333 (2007)
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Abstract

Prior research has demonstrated that antisocial behavior, substance-use disorders, and personality dimensions of aggression and impulsivity are indicators of a highly heritable underlying dimension of risk, labeled externalizing. Other work has shown that individual trait constructs within this psychopathology spectrum are associated with reduced self-monitoring, as reflected by amplitude of the error-related negativity (ERN) brain response. In this study of undergraduate subjects, reduced ERN amplitude was associated with higher scores on a self-report measure of the broad externalizing construct that links these various indicators. In addition, the ERN was associated with a response-locked increase in anterior theta (4–7 Hz) oscillation; like the ERN, this theta response to errors was reduced among high-externalizing individuals. These findings suggest that neurobiologically based deficits in endogenous action monitoring may underlie generalized risk for an array of impulse-control problems.

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