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Biol Psychol. 2013 Sep;94(1):185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.05.017. Epub 2013 Jun 2.

Brain-heart coupling at the P300 latency is linked to anterior cingulate cortex and insula--a cardio-electroencephalographic covariance tracing study.

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Department of Psychology, Philipps-Universit├Ąt Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


Prior work on the coupling of cortical and cardiac responses to feedback demonstrated that feedback-evoked single-trial EEG magnitudes 300 ms post-stimulus predict the degree of subsequent cardiac acceleration. The main goal of the current study was to explore the neural sources of this phenomenon using (a) independent component analysis in conjunction with dipole fitting and (b) low resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) in N=14 participants who performed a gambling task with feedback presented after each trial. It was shown that independent components localized near anterior cingulate cortex produced robust within-subjects correlations with feedback-evoked heart-period, suggesting that anterior cingulate cortex activity 300ms after feedback presentation predicts the strength of subsequent cardiac acceleration. Moreover, interindividual differences in evoked left insular cortex LORETA-estimated activity at around 300ms moderated within-subjects EEG-heart period correlations. These results suggest that key regions of central autonomic control are involved in cortico-cardiac coupling evoked by feedback stimuli.


Anterior cingulate cortex; Autonomic control; Cortico-cardiac coupling; EEG; Heart period; Insula

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