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Psychiatry Res. 2002 May 15;110(1):63-72.

Error-related brain activity in obsessive-compulsive undergraduates.

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Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark DE 19716, USA.


Error-related negativity (ERN/Ne) is a component of the event-related brain potential (ERP) associated with monitoring action and detecting errors. It is a sharp negative deflection that generally occurs from 50 to 150 ms following response execution and has been associated with activity involving the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). An enhanced ERN has recently been observed in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We extended these findings by measuring the ERN in college undergraduates with OC characteristics as measured by the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory (OCI). Eighteen high-OC subjects and 17 low-OC subjects performed a modified Stroop task with equal emphasis placed on speed and accuracy. Response-locked ERPs revealed a frontally maximal negativity associated with erroneous responses that was significantly larger in the high-OCI group. There were no performance differences between the two groups. Our results support the view that the characteristics associated with OCD are related to hyper-functioning error and action-monitoring processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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