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Neurobiol Aging. 2003 Sep;24(5):675-85.

Response-monitoring dysfunction in aging and Alzheimer's disease: an event-related potential study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Psychiatry Service (116A), Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516, USA.


Executive control is a broad-reaching function that includes response monitoring and is likely implemented in the frontal lobes. Age- and dementia-related changes in response-monitoring were assessed during a Picture-Name Verification Task, using response-synchronized event-related potential (ERP) markers of response monitoring: the centrally oriented error-related negativity (ERN); the smaller and more frontally-oriented correct-response negativity (CRN); and the positivity associated with errors (Pe), a marker of error awareness. These were recorded from 10 younger and 10 older healthy controls, as well as 12 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Although the older and younger controls showed equivalent accuracy, error awareness (Pe), and relative ERN>CRN amplitude, aging was associated with slower behavioral responses and decreased ERN amplitude. Although dementia was associated with decreased accuracy, decreased ERN, and a loss of relative ERN>CRN amplitude, error awareness (Pe) remained somewhat intact in AD patients. In AD patients, CRN amplitude was affected by item certainty (assessed a week earlier), being larger to items that were idiosyncratically difficult for patients to name.

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