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Psychophysiology. 2018 Feb;55(2). doi: 10.1111/psyp.12977. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

Emotion processing in female youth: Testing the stability of the late positive potential.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA.
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, USA.
Department of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Policy Research, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.


The Emotional Interrupt Task (EIT) has been used to probe emotion processing in healthy and clinical samples; however, research exploring the stability and reliability of behavioral measures and ERPs elicited from this task is limited. Establishing the psychometric properties of the EIT is critical, particularly as phenotypes and biological indicators may represent traitlike characteristics that underlie psychiatric illness. To address this gap, test-retest stability and internal consistency of behavioral indices and ERPs resulting from the EIT in healthy, female youth (n = 28) were examined. At baseline, participants were administered the EIT while high-density 128-channel EEG data were recorded to probe the late positive potential (LPP). One month later, participants were readministered the EIT. Four principal findings emerged. First, there is evidence of an interference effect at baseline, as participants showed a slower reaction time for unpleasant and pleasant images relative to neutral images, and test-retest of behavioral measures was relatively stable over time. Second, participants showed a potentiated LPP to unpleasant and pleasant images compared to neutral images, and these effects were stable over time. Moreover, in a test of the difference waves (unpleasant-neutral vs. pleasant-neutral), there was sustained positivity for unpleasant images. Third, behavioral measures and LPP demonstrated excellent internal consistency (odd/even correlations) across conditions. Fourth, highlighting important age-related differences in LPP activity, younger age was associated with larger LPP amplitudes across conditions. Overall, these findings suggest that the LPP following emotional images is a stable and reliable marker of emotion processing in healthy youth.


ERPs; adolescents; emotion

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