Reduced punishment sensitivity in neural systems of behavior monitoring in impulsive individuals

Rice University, Department of Psychology, MS-25, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77005-1892, USA.
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.03). 04/2006; 397(1-2):130-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2005.12.003
Source: PubMed


This study measured the response-locked event-related potential during a flanker task with performance-based monetarily rewarding and punishing trials in 37 undergraduate students separated into high- and low-impulsive groups based on a median split on self-reported Barrett Impulsiveness Scale. The high-impulsive group had a smaller medial frontal error-related negativity (ERN) on punishment trials than the low-impulsive group. The medial prefrontal neural system of behavior monitoring, indexed by the ERN, appears less sensitive to punishment signals in normal impulsivity. This reduced punishment sensitivity in impulsivity, a personality variation associated with several mental and personality disorders including ADHD and substance abuse may be related to the tendency to select short-term rewards despite potential long-term negative consequences in these individuals.

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    • "In line with previous results (Martin & Potts, 2009; Potts et al., 2006), our main hypothesis was that HI participants would show an overall decreased Ne amplitude as compared to LI participants. Based on the premise that our manipulation of task difficulty induces more effortful control to be allocated in order to maintain performance, we assumed that the amplitude of Ne would increase with task difficulty level in the LI group because of increased self-monitoring imposed by task requirements, whereas HI participants would not show such effect. "
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    ABSTRACT: High impulsive individuals have problems with self-monitoring and learning from their mistakes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether error processing is impaired in high trait impulsivity, and how it is modulated by the task difficulty. Adults were classified as high (n = 10) and low (n = 10) impulsive participants based on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, and they participated in a modified flanker task. The flanker trials had three levels of task difficulty manipulated by visual degradation of the stimuli. We measured RTs and ERP components (Ne, Pe) related to erroneous responses. Low impulsive participants responded significantly faster than high impulsive participants. The two groups did not differ in accuracy. The Ne amplitude was smaller in high than in low impulsivity in case of medium and high difficulty levels, but not at low difficulty level. However, the groups did not differ either in the amplitude or in the latency of Pe. We suggest that trait impulsivity is characterized by impaired error detection.
    Journal of Psychophysiology 01/2015; 29(2):64-72. DOI:10.1027/0269-8803/a000135 · 1.59 Impact Factor
    • "In a similar vein, reduced ERN amplitudes may not necessarily reflect increased efficiency in processing or decreased awareness of conflict. Decreased ERN amplitudes are associated with high levels of impulsivity (Potts et al., 2006; Ruchsow et al., 2005) that may reduce appropriate alterations in stimulus and/or target processing. In addition, males display increased ERN amplitudes relative to females and may require greater conflict activation for similar performance, suggesting that males may be less efficient at monitoring conflict than females (Larson et al., 2011b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive control theory suggests goal-directed behavior is governed by a dynamic interplay between areas of the prefrontal cortex. Critical to cognitive control is the detection and resolution of competing stimulus or response representations (i.e., conflict). Event-related potential (ERP) research provides a window into the nature and precise temporal sequence of conflict monitoring. We critically review the research on conflict-related ERPs, including the error-related negativity (ERN), Flanker N2, Stroop N450 and conflict slow potential (conflict SP or negative slow wave [NSW]), and provide an analysis of how these ERPs inform conflict monitoring theory. Overall, there is considerable evidence that amplitude of the ERN is sensitive to the degree of response conflict, consistent with a role in conflict monitoring. It remains unclear, however, to what degree contextual, individual, affective, and motivational factors influence ERN amplitudes and how ERN amplitudes are related to regulative changes in behavior. The Flanker N2, Stroop N450, and conflict SP ERPs represent distinct conflict-monitoring processes that reflect conflict detection (N2, N450) and conflict adjustment or resolution processes (N2, conflict SP). The investigation of conflict adaptation effects (i.e., sequence or sequential trial effects) shows the N2 and conflict SP reflect post-conflict adjustments in cognitive control, but the N450 generally does not. Conflict-related ERP research provides a promising avenue for understanding the effects of individual differences on cognitive control processes in healthy, neurologic and psychiatric populations. Comparisons between the major conflict-related ERPs and suggestions for future studies to clarify the nature of conflict-related neural processes are provided.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 06/2014; 93(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2014.06.007 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    • "The individual need of external incentives is part of the basic-stimulus response mechanism known as " reward dependency " (Cloninger, 1987), and can be overexpressed in pathological conditions such as gambling and compulsive buying (Avila and Parcet, 2001). Moreover, both clinical and experimental evidence support the view that ADHD children are particularly affected by immediate and salient rewards when engaging with a task (Michel et al., 2005; Sonuga-Barke, 2005; Potts et al., 2006; Groom et al., 2010; Luman et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to override a dominant response, often referred to as behavioural inhibiton, is considered a key element of executive cognition. Poor behavioural inhibition is a defining characteristic of several neurological and psychiatric populations. Recently, there has been increasing interest in the motivational dimension of behavioural inhibition, with some experiments incorporating emotional contingencies in classical inhibitory paradigms such as the Go/Nogo and Stop Signal Tasks. Several studies have reported a positive modulatory effect of reward on the performance of such tasks in pathological conditions such as substance abuse, pathological gambling, and ADHD. However, experiments that directly investigate the modulatory effects of reward magnitudes on the performance of inhibitory paradigms are rare and consequently, little is known about the finer grained relationship between motivation and self-control. Here, we probed the effect of reward and reward magnitude on behavioural inhibition using two modified version of the widely used Stop Signal Task. The first task compared no reward with reward, whilst the other compared two different reward magnitudes. The reward magnitude effect was confirmed by the second study, whereas it was less compelling in the first study, possibly due to the effect of having no reward in some conditions. In addition, our results showed a “kick start” effect over global performance measures. More specifically, there was a long lasting improvement in performance throughout the task, when participants received the highest reward magnitudes at the beginning of the protocol. These results demonstrate that individuals’ behavioural inhibition capacities are dynamic not static because they are modulated by the reward magnitude and initial reward history of the task at hand.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:257. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00257 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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