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Brain Cogn. 2007 Feb;63(1):42-50. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Action monitoring and perfectionism in anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Behaviour Therapy Department, University Psychiatric Centre Catholic University Leuvan, Kortenberg B-3070, Belgium.


To study action monitoring in anorexia nervosa, behavioral and EEG measures were obtained in underweight anorexia nervosa patients (n=17) and matched healthy controls (n=19) while performing a speeded choice-reaction task. Our main measures of interest were questionnaire outcomes, reaction times, error rates, and the error-related negativity ERP component. Questionnaire and behavioral results indicated increased perfectionism in patients with anorexia nervosa. In line with their perfectionism and controlled response style patients made significantly less errors than controls. However, when controlling for this difference in error rates, the EEG results demonstrated a reduced error-related negativity in the patient group. These seemingly contradictory outcomes of improved performance and reduced error monitoring are discussed in relation with indications of anterior cingulate cortex hypoactivity in anorexia nervosa patients.

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