Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2016 Jul;1(4):335-344. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2016.04.004.

Electrocortical Reactivity During Self-referential Processing in Female Youth With Borderline Personality Disorder.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry (RPA, NT, EB, JGS, BA, CK, WY, DAP), McLean Hospital, Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychology (WY), Hunan Normal University, Hunan, China.



Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is debilitating, and theoretical models have postulated that cognitive-affective biases contribute to the onset and maintenance of BPD symptoms. Despite advances, our understanding of BPD pathophysiology in youth is limited. The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify cognitive-affective processes that underlie negative self-referential processing in BPD youth.


Healthy females (n = 33) and females with BPD (n = 26) 13 to 22 years of age completed a self-referential encoding task while 128-channel electroencephalography data were recorded to examine early (i.e., P1 and P2) and late (late positive potential [LPP]) ERP components. Whole-brain standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography explored intracortical sources underlying significant scalp ERP effects.


Compared to healthy females, participants with BPD endorsed, recalled, and recognized fewer positive and more negative words. Moreover, unlike the healthy group, females with BPD had faster reaction times to endorse negative versus positive words. In the scalp ERP analyses, the BPD group had greater P2 and late LPP positivity to negative as opposed to positive words. For P2 and late LPP, whole-brain standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography analyses suggested that females with BPD overrecruit frontolimbic circuitry in response to negative stimuli.


Collectively, these findings show that females with BPD process negative self-relevant information differently than healthy females. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.


Borderline personality disorder; LPP; P1; P2; Self-referential processing; sLORETA

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center