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Biol Psychol. 2018 Jul;136:100-110. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2018.05.006. Epub 2018 May 21.

Acute effects of caffeine on threat-selective attention: moderation by anxiety and EEG theta/beta ratio.

Author information

1
Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands; Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden, The Netherlands. Electronic address: danavson@gmail.com.
2
Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.
3
Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands; Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden, The Netherlands.
4
Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands.
5
Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands; Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden, The Netherlands; Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Spontaneous EEG theta/beta ratio (TBR) probably marks prefrontal cortical (PFC) executive control, and its regulation of attentional threat-bias. Caffeine at moderate doses may strengthen executive control through increased PFC catecholamine action, dependent on basal PFC function.

GOAL:

To test if caffeine affects threat-bias, moderated by baseline frontal TBR and trait-anxiety.

METHODS:

A pictorial emotional Stroop task was used to assess threat-bias in forty female participants in a cross-over, double-blind study after placebo and 200 mg caffeine.

RESULTS:

At baseline and after placebo, comparable relations were observed for negative pictures: high TBR was related to low threat-bias in low trait-anxious people. Caffeine had opposite effects on threat-bias in low trait-anxious people with low and high TBR.

CONCLUSIONS:

This further supports TBR as a marker of executive control and highlights the importance of taking baseline executive function into consideration when studying effects of caffeine on executive functions.

KEYWORDS:

Attentional bias to threat; Caffeine; EEG theta/beta ratio

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