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Neuropsychobiology. 2004;50(2):167-73.

P300 event-related potential amplitude and impulsivity in cocaine-dependent subjects.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Moursund, Houston, Texas, USA.


Previous studies report reduced amplitude of the P300 event-related potential in cocaine-dependent individuals. Cocaine dependence is also associated with increased impulsivity, possibly due to deficits in cognitive function that are associated with reduced P300 amplitude. In the current study, the relationship between cocaine dependence, impulsivity, and P300 amplitude were examined. An auditory oddball event-related potential task along with self-report (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale version 11) and behavioral laboratory (Immediate and Delayed Memory Task) measures of impulsivity were assessed in healthy controls (n = 14) and subjects who met DSM-IV criteria for current cocaine dependence (n = 17). P300 amplitude was reduced and self-reported and behavioral laboratory impulsivity scores were elevated among the cocaine-dependent group compared to controls. There was a positive correlation between the questionnaire and behavioral laboratory measures of impulsivity, and a negative correlation between impulsivity measures and P300 amplitude. The correlation between self-reported impulsivity scores and P300 amplitude remained after taking into account the number of childhood conduct disorder symptoms. This study supports the hypothesis that the basic neurophysiology responsible for the P300 amplitude in cocaine-dependent individuals is associated with impulsivity independent of a history of childhood conduct disorder symptoms.

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