Performance monitoring in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Department of Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 05/2005; 134(2):111-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2005.02.005
Source: PubMed


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with hyperactivity of brain structures involved in performance monitoring. It has been proposed that this pathophysiology results in the generation of inappropriate or excessive internal error signals, giving rise to the characteristic symptoms of OCD. We measured an electrophysiological correlate of performance monitoring, error-related negativity (ERN), to study whether OCD patients exhibit enhanced brain activity associated with errors and negative performance feedback. We found that OCD patients (n=16) and healthy control participants (n=16) did not differ in the amplitude of the ERN associated with errors and negative feedback in a probabilistic learning task. The discrepancy between these results and the results from previous studies is discussed.

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Available from: Dirk J Veltman
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    • "We also examined the age trajectory of ERN in each group. Previous studies of ERN and OCD have shown that response conflict tasks, particularly the Flanker task, are highly reliable (Meyer et al. 2013; Riesel et al. 2013), and stable (Olvet & Hajcak, 2009); however, studies of ERN and OCD using probabilistic learning or other tasks are more heterogeneous (Nieuwenhuis et al. 2005; Grundler et al. 2009; Hammer et al. 2009; Endrass et al. 2010). Given the reliability and stability of response conflict tasks for OCD, and the heterogeneity seen for other tasks, we chose to use a Flanker task for our comparisons. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with an abnormally large error-related negativity (ERN), an electrophysiological measure of error monitoring in response to performance errors, but it is unclear if hoarding disorder (HD) also shows this abnormality. This study aimed to determine whether the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying error monitoring are similarly compromised in HD and OCD. Method: We used a visual flanker task to assess ERN in response to performance errors in 14 individuals with HD, 27 with OCD, 10 with HD+OCD, and 45 healthy controls (HC). Age-corrected performance and ERN amplitudes were examined using analyses of variance and planned pairwise group comparisons. Results: A main effect of hoarding on ERN (p = 0.031) was observed, indicating ERN amplitudes were attenuated in HD relative to non-HD subjects. A group × age interaction effect on ERN was also evident. In HD-positive subjects, ERN amplitude deficits were significantly greater in younger individuals (r = -0.479, p = 0.018), whereas there were no significant ERN changes with increasing age in OCD and HC participants. Conclusions: The reduced ERN in HD relative to OCD and HC provides evidence that HD is neurobiologically distinct from OCD, and suggests that deficient error monitoring may be a core pathophysiological feature of HD. This effect was particularly prominent in younger HD participants, further suggesting that deficient error monitoring manifests most strongly early in the illness course and/or in individuals with a relatively early illness onset.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Psychological Medicine
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    • "Based on already considerable CRN amplitude in the easy task condition, the task might have already been demanding and thus have abolished group differences. These findings contribute to a growing number of studies suggesting that task characteristics play an important role when investigating performance monitoring in individuals with OC symptoms (Grundler et al., 2009; Kaczkurkin, 2013; Mathews et al., 2012; Nieuwenhuis et al., 2005) and that overactive performance monitoring may only be observable in very simple tasks that induce response conflict and in which errors are easy to detect. 7), 1877–1887. "
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    ABSTRACT: Both obsessive-compulsive disorder and subclinical obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms seem to be associated with hyperactive error-related brain activity. The current study examined performance monitoring in subjects with subclinical OC symptoms using a new task with different levels of difficulty. Nineteen subjects with high and 18 subjects with low OC characteristics performed a random dot cinematogram (RDC) task with three levels of difficulty. The high and low OC groups did not differ in error-related negativity (ERN), correct-related negativity (CRN) and performance irrespective of task difficulty. The amplitude of the ERN decreased with increasing difficulty whereas the magnitude of CRN did not vary. ERN and CRN approached in size and topography with increasing difficulty, which suggests that errors and correct responses are processed more similarly. These results add to a growing number of studies that fail to replicate hyperactive performance monitoring in individuals with OC symptoms in task with higher difficulty or requiring learning. Together with these findings our results suggest that the relationship between OC symptoms and performance monitoring may be sensitive to type of task and task characteristics and cannot be observed in a RDC that differs from typically used tasks in difficulty and the amount of response-conflict. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Brain and Cognition
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    • "To study the relationship between OC and FRN, we need to exclude the influence of the anxiety. In our study, we chose the SOC participants whose anxiety score did not reach the diagnosis standard, and our ERP results were also consistent with the suggestion of larger FRN in OCD patients [29], and the larger amplitude differences in the SOC reflect the excessive monitoring to error feedback. Covariance analysis revealed that anxiety has no obvious impacts on the FRN results. "
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    ABSTRACT: Feedback-related negativity (FRN) is believed to be an important electrophysiology index of "external" negative feedback processing. Previous studies on FRN in obsessive-compulsive (OC) individuals are scarce and controversial. In these studies, anxiety symptoms were not evaluated in detail. However, OC disorders have a number of radical differences from anxiety disorders. It is necessary to study FRN and its neuroanatomical correlates in OC individuals without anxious symptoms. A total of 628 undergraduate students completed an OC questionnaire. We chose 14 students who scored in the upper 10% and 14 students who scored in the lowest 10% without anxiety symptoms as a subclinical OC group (SOC) and a low obsessive-compulsive group (LOC). The students all performed the revised Iowa Gambling Task. We used the event-related potentials (ERP) and standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) to track external negative feedback processing and its substrate in the brain. Our study revealed poorer decision-making ability and greater FRN amplitudes in SOC subjects compared with LOC controls. The SOC subjects displayed anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC) hyperactivation during the loss feedback condition. Specifically, we found an intercorrelation of current source density during the loss condition between the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and aPFC in the LOC subjects but not in the SOC group. Our results support the notion that overactive external feedback error processing may reflect a candidate endophenotype of OC. We also provide important information on the dysfunction in the interaction between aPFC and dACC in populations with OC. Nevertheless, the findings support that OC may be distinguished from other anxiety disorders using a new electrophysiology perspective.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · PLoS ONE
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