Michael J Larson

Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus, Provo, Utah, United States

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Publications (99)258.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Older adults display alterations in neural reflections of conflict-related processing. We examined response times (RTs), error rates, and event-related potential (ERP; N2 and P3 components) indices of conflict adaptation (i.e., congruency sequence effects) a cognitive control process wherein previous-trial congruency influences current-trial performance, along with post-error slowing, correct-related negativity (CRN), error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe) amplitudes in 65 healthy older adults and 94 healthy younger adults. Older adults showed generalized slowing, had decreased post-error slowing, and committed more errors than younger adults. Both older and younger adults showed conflict adaptation effects; magnitude of conflict adaptation did not differ by age. N2 amplitudes were similar between groups; younger, but not older, adults showed conflict adaptation effects for P3 component amplitudes. CRN and Pe, but not ERN, amplitudes differed between groups. Data support generalized declines in cognitive control processes in older adults without specific deficits in conflict adaptation.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Biological psychology
  • Michael J. Larson · Kaitlyn Whitcomb · Isaac J. Hunt · Daniel Bjornn
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    ABSTRACT: Poor insight into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms is relatively common, occurring in between 9 and 30 % of cases. Poor insight is associated with increased OCD severity, earlier age of symptom onset, increased likelihood of comorbidity, and decreased treatment response. Furthermore, individuals with poor insight are only half as likely as others with good insight to seek treatment for their symptoms. No research to date has systematically treated insight levels in addition to OCD symptoms. We present the case of a 55-year-old woman who sought a psychological assessment for general dysfunction who had not been employed for over 33 years and was completely unaware of the obsessive-compulsive nature of her symptoms. We discuss the assessment process and thought process in differential diagnosis of a case with little symptom insight. We subsequently emphasize the role of insight and, specifically, the relationship between improved insight and treatment response during the course of 20 weeks of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention. Specific alterations to traditional CBT protocols due to her poor insight, including additional psychoeducation, focusing on insight and symptom identification, consistent treatment frequency, and additional sessions focusing on symptom insight, are highlighted. Overall, the woman showed a strong response to treatment that continues to be maintained after an 11-week period following treatment conclusion. Adjusting treatment to emphasize symptom education and insight can be beneficial in treating individuals with poor insight into their OCD-related symptoms.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Sex differences in cognition and emotion are particularly active areas of research. Much of this work, however, focuses on mean-level differences between the sexes on cognitive and/or emotional variables in isolation. In this article, we are primarily concerned with how sex affects associations between cognition and emotion, or cognition-emotion interactions. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to shed light on a gap in our understanding of how sex affects the relationship between error monitoring, a core component of cognitive control, and anxiety. Using meta-analysis, we show that the relationship between symptoms of anxiety and a neurophysiological marker of error monitoring - the error-related negativity (ERN) - is significantly greater in women than men such that women, but not men, with higher levels of anxiety show a larger ERN. This sex difference held true across studies of anxiety-specific symptoms but not studies of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. These findings underscore the need to consider sex in studies of anxiety and the ERN as well as support growing evidence indicating that obsessive-compulsive problems are distinguishable from other anxiety-specific problems across multiple levels of analysis. Overall, we conclude that ignoring sex in studies of cognition-emotion interactions is unacceptable. Rather, future research that continues to tackle questions related to sex differences in associations between cognition and emotion will more likely lead to advancements in basic and applied sciences of relevance to health and human behavior.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Psychophysiology
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    ABSTRACT: Studies using medications and psychiatric populations implicate dopamine in cognitive control and performance monitoring processes. However, side effects associated with medication or studying psychiatric groups may confound the relationship between dopamine and cognitive control. To circumvent such possibilities, we utilized a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects design wherein participants were administered a nutritionally-balanced amino acid mixture (BAL) and an amino acid mixture deficient in the dopamine precursors tyrosine (TYR) and phenylalanine (PHE) on two separate occasions. Order of sessions was randomly assigned. Cognitive control and performance monitoring were assessed using response times (RT), error rates, the N450, an event-related potential (ERP) index of conflict monitoring, the conflict slow potential (conflict SP), an ERP index of conflict resolution, and the error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe), ERPs associated with performance monitoring. Participants were twelve males who completed a Stroop color-word task while ERPs were collected four hours following acute PHE and TYR depletion (APTD) or balanced (BAL) mixture ingestion in two separate sessions. N450 and conflict SP ERP amplitudes significantly differentiated congruent from incongruent trials, but did not differ as a function of APTD or BAL mixture ingestion. Similarly, ERN and Pe amplitudes showed significant differences between error and correct trials that were not different between APTD and BAL conditions. Findings indicate that acute dopamine precursor depletion does not significantly alter cognitive control and performance monitoring ERPs. Current results do not preclude the role of dopamine in these processes, but suggest that multiple methods for dopamine-related hypothesis testing are needed.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Using a crossover design, 22 normal-weight and 22 obese women completed two free-living sleep conditions: (a) Normal Sleep: night of ~8 hr time in bed; and (b) Reduced Sleep: night of < 5 hr time in bed). Outcome measures were energy intake, physical activity and sedentary time, and mood. Sleep time was 7.7 ± 0.3 and 4.8 ± 0.2 hrs during the Normal Sleep and Reduced Sleep conditions, respectively (F = 1791.94; p < 0.0001). Energy intake did not differ between groups or as a function of sleep condition (F = 2.46; p = 0.1244). Sedentary time was ~ 30 min higher after the Reduced Sleep condition (F = 4.98; p = 0.0318); other physical activity outcomes were not different by condition (p > 0.05). Total mood score, depression, anger, vigor, fatigue, and confusion were worse after Reduced Sleep (p < 0.05). Reducing sleep acutely and negatively influenced sedentary time and mood in normal-weight and obese women.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Behavioral Sleep Medicine
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    Dustin M Logan · Kyle R Hill · Michael J Larson
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    ABSTRACT: Poor awareness has been linked to worse recovery and rehabilitation outcomes following moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (M/S TBI). The error positivity (Pe) component of the event-related potential (ERP) is linked to error awareness and cognitive control. Participants included 37 neurologically healthy controls and 24 individuals with M/S TBI who completed a brief neuropsychological battery and the error awareness task (EAT), a modified Stroop go/no-go task that elicits aware and unaware errors. Analyses compared between-group no-go accuracy (including accuracy between the first and second halves of the task to measure attention and fatigue), error awareness performance, and Pe amplitude by level of awareness. The M/S TBI group decreased in accuracy and maintained error awareness over time; control participants improved both accuracy and error awareness during the course of the task. Pe amplitude was larger for aware than unaware errors for both groups; however, consistent with previous research on the Pe and TBI, there were no significant between-group differences for Pe amplitudes. Findings suggest possible attention difficulties and low improvement of performance over time may influence specific aspects of error awareness in M/S TBI.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: An increasing trend in the workplace is for employees to walk on treadmills while working to attain known health benefits; however, the effect of walking on a treadmill during cognitive control and executive function tasks is not well known. We compared the cognitive control processes of conflict adaptation (i.e., congruency sequence effects—improved performance following high-conflict relative to low-conflict trials), post-error slowing (i.e., Rabbitt effect), and response inhibition during treadmill walking (1.5 mph) relative to sitting. Understanding the influence of treadmill desks on these cognitive processes may have implications for worker health and productivity. Sixty-nine individuals were randomized to either a sitting (n = 35) or treadmill-walking condition (n = 34). Groups did not differ in age or body mass index. All participants completed a computerized Eriksen flanker task and a response-inhibition go/no-go task in random order while either walking on a treadmill or seated. Response times (RTs) and accuracy were analyzed separately for each task using mixed model analysis of variance. Separate ANOVAs for RTs and accuracy showed the expected conflict adaptation effects, post-error slowing, and response inhibition effects when collapsed across sitting and treadmill groups (all Fs > 78.77, Ps .38), suggesting no decrements or enhancements in conflict-related control and adjustment processes or response inhibition for those walking on a treadmill versus sitting. We conclude that cognitive control performance remains relatively unaffected during slow treadmill walking relative to sitting.
    Preview · Article · May 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: This study compared cognitive (attention, learning, and memory) and typing outcomes during slow treadmill walking or sitting. Seventy-five healthy individuals were randomly assigned to a treadmill walking group (n=37; 23 female) or sitting group (n=38; 17 female). Methods: The treadmill walking group completed a series of tests while walking at 1.5 mph. The sitting group performed the same tests while sitting at a standard desk. Tests performed by both groups included: the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and a modified version of the Paced Auditory Serial Attention Test. In addition, typing performance was evaluated. Results: Participants in the treadmill walking group performed worse on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test for total learning than the sitting group; the main effect was significant (F(1,73)=4.75, p=0.03, ηp2=0.06); however, short- and long-delay recall performance did not differ between groups (p>0.05). For the Paced Auditory Serial Attention Test, total number of correct responses was lower in the treadmill walking group relative to the sitting group; the main effect was significant (F(1,73)=4.97, p=0.03, ηp2=0.06). The performance of both groups followed the same learning slope (Group x Trial interactions were not significant) for the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and Paced Auditory Serial Attention Test. Individuals in the treadmill walking group performed significantly worse for all measures of typing (p<0.05). Conclusion: Walking on a treadmill desk may result in a modest difference in total learning and typing outcomes relative to sitting, but those declines may not outweigh the benefit of the physical activity gains from walking on a treadmill.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE
  • Scott A. Baldwin · Michael J. Larson · Peter E. Clayson
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    ABSTRACT: Psychometric studies of the ERN, CRN, Pe, and Pc ERPs are increasing. Coherent integration of these results is difficult with classical test theory because the definition of error depends on the measure of reliability. This study used generalizability theory, which extends the ideas of classical test theory, as a framework for evaluating the influence of psychopathology and number of trials on dependability of measurement. Participants included 34 people meeting criteria for major depression, 29 meeting criteria for an anxiety disorder, and 319 controls. For all ERPs, within-person variance was larger than between-person variance across groups, indicating many trials are needed for adequate dependability (at least 13). Slightly fewer trials were needed to achieve adequate dependability in the control group than the pathology groups. Regions of interest had higher dependability than single sensors.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Psychophysiology
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    Whitney Worsham · Whitney E Gray · Michael J Larson · Mikle South
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    ABSTRACT: The modification of performance following conflict can be measured using conflict adaptation tasks thought to measure the change in the allocation of cognitive resources in order to reduce conflict interference and improve performance. While previous studies have suggested atypical processing during nonsocial cognitive control tasks, conflict adaptation (i.e. congruency sequence effects) for social-emotional stimuli have not been previously studied in autism spectrum disorder. A total of 32 participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and 27 typically developing matched controls completed an emotional Stroop conflict task that required the classification of facial affect while simultaneously ignoring an overlaid affective word. Both groups showed behavioral evidence for emotional conflict adaptation based on response times and accuracy rates. However, the autism spectrum disorder group demonstrated a speed-accuracy trade-off manifested through significantly faster response times and decreased accuracy rates on trials containing conflict between the emotional face and the overlaid emotional word. Reduced selective attention toward socially relevant information may bias individuals with autism spectrum disorder toward more rapid processing and decision making even when conflict is present. Nonetheless, the loss of important information from the social stimuli reduces decision-making accuracy, negatively affecting the ability to adapt both cognitively and emotionally when conflict arises. © The Author(s) 2014.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Autism
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    ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined neuropsychological functioning among youth with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), with inconclusive results. Although methodological differences may contribute to inconsistent findings, clinical factors may also account for differential performance. Symptom dimensions are associated with specific patterns of genetic transmission, comorbidity, and treatment outcome, and may also be uniquely associated with neuropsychological performance. This study examined differences in cognitive sequelae and neurocognitive impairment across symptom dimensions among youth with OCD. Participants included 93 treatment-seeking youth diagnosed with OCD. A trained clinician administered the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) to parents and children together. Afterward, youth completed a battery of neuropsychological tests that assessed nonverbal memory and fluency, verbal memory, verbal fluency, verbal learning, processing speed, and inhibition/switching. Across five symptom dimensions, youth exhibiting Hoarding symptoms (χ(2) = 5.21, P = .02) and Symmetry/Ordering symptoms had a greater occurrence of cognitive sequelae (χ(2) = 4.86, P = .03). Additionally, youth with Symmetry/Ordering symptoms had a greater magnitude of cognitive impairment (Mann-Whitney U = 442.50, Z = -2.49, P < .02), with specific deficits identified on nonverbal fluency (P < .01), processing speed (P < .01), and inhibition and switching (P < .02). Neuropsychological deficits identified in youth with Hoarding and Symmetry/Ordering symptoms may suggest that these symptoms have characteristics specific to neurocognitive impairment. Alternatively, symptoms associated with these dimensions may impede youth's performance during testing. Findings advise neuropsychological testing for youth with symptoms on either of these dimensions when concerns about neuropsychological and/or academic impairment are present.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Depression and Anxiety
  • Kaylie A. Carbine · Tanja Endrass · Michael J. Larson

    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
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    Marie Good · Michael Inzlicht · Michael J Larson
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    ABSTRACT: In religions where God is portrayed as both loving and wrathful, religious beliefs may be a source of fear as well as comfort. Here, we consider if God’s love may be more effective, relative to God’s wrath, for soothing distress, but less effective for helping control behavior. Specifically, we assess whether contemplating God’s love reduces our ability to detect and emotionally react to conflict between one’s behavior and overarching religious standards. We do so within a neurophysiological framework, by observing the effects of exposure to concepts of God’s love vs punishment on the error-related negativity (ERN)—a neural signal originating in the anterior cingulate cortex that is associated with performance monitoring and affective responses to errors. Participants included 123 students at Brigham Young University, who completed a Go/No-Go task where they made ‘religious’ errors (i.e. ostensibly exhibited pro-alcohol tendencies). Reflecting on God’s love caused dampened ERNs and worse performance on the Go/No-Go task. Thinking about God’s punishment did not affect performance or ERNs. Results suggest that one possible reason religiosity is generally linked to positive well-being may be because of a decreased affective response to errors that occurs when God’s love is prominent in the minds of believers.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
  • Michael J Larson · Peter E Clayson · Ann Clawson
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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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
  • D. Bjornn · A. Dohm · M. South · M. J. Crowley · M. J. Larson
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Although “insistence on sameness” was described as a fundamental feature of autism in Leo Kanner’s original description, research into the underlying mechanisms of rigid behavior has been relatively scant. Understanding how this rigidity develops may inform targets for etiological research and for treatment. In the current study, we used event related potentials (ERP) to explore the neural time course of rule violation in ASD. Objectives: To investigate ERP signatures in response to rule violation in ASD children and controls. Based on previous research in healthy adults we hypothesized differences in the P300 wave (associated with decision making) and a frontal slow wave from around 500-700ms. Methods: We used the CyberShape rule violation task developed by Michael Crowley as an analog to the CyberBall social exclusion task. The participant and two virtual partners are supposed to throw to another player indicated by a target shape that matches the shape in the player’s glove. But in alternating blocks of trials, one of the virtual players consistently throws to the “wrong” player. Thirty four children 11-17 years of age, including 17 diagnosed with ASD and 17 age- and IQ-matched healthy controls, participated in the CyberShape task while being monitored using EGI’s Geodesic128 channel EEG nets and Netstation software. A parent of each participant completed questionnaires regarding dimensional measures of autism symptoms (the Social Responsiveness Scale) and anxiety (the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale). Results: No significant difference was found between groups for reaction times. ERPs were analyzed across three conditions: trials in a congruent block where there was no rule violation; trials in an incongruent block where one virtual partner threw against the rules to the other virtual player; and an incongruent condition where one virtual partner threw incorrectly to the participant. A repeated measures ANOVA using a 2 (diagnostic group) x 3 (condition) design wave found a significant main effect (highest activity for incorrect throws to the participant and lowest activity for the congruent trials) but the interaction with group was not significant. Nonetheless, for the ASD group only there was a significant negative correlation (r = -.61) between mean P300 activity and the Mannerisms subscale of the SRS, suggesting that greater repetitive and restricted behavior is associated with decreased P300 response. A frontal negativity between 300-400ms (faster than we had hypothesized) did not show an overall significant main effect but the group x condition interaction was significant. Visual inspection of the data shows that a clear main effect in the control group was obscured by a lack of differential response to condition. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the CyberShapes task can reliably elicit neural signatures related to decision making and monitoring, and there is evidence these are related to everyday symptoms of rigid repetitive behavior in ASD. Limited ability to differentiate among different conditions of rule violation or congruence may indicate arise due to inability to extinguish response from the incongruent trials and suggest confusion induced by rule changes in the environment.
    No preview · Conference Paper · May 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Current literature on cognitive functioning in pregnancy and postpartum is mixed, with most research showing deficits in memory and attention during pregnancy or no difference between pregnant participants and controls with little emphasis on the postpartum period. In the current study, we used a longitudinal controlled design and 42 primarily not depressed participants to compare pregnant women in the third trimester and approximately three months postpartum with matched controls over the same time period on neuropsychological domains including memory, attention, learning, visuospatial, and executive functioning. We also evaluated the role of mood and quality of life as potential moderators of cognitive functioning in pregnancy/postpartum. Results indicated no differences between controls and pregnant/postpartum women on neuropsychological measures at any time points. Self-reported memory difficulties, however, were higher in the pregnant/postpartum women. Pregnant and postpartum women had worse self-reported mood and quality of life than controls. Mood and quality of life slightly moderated specific measures of attention and verbal fluency; however, neither mood nor quality of life moderated overall neuropsychological functioning in either group. Number of previous pregnancies had no effect on the study findings. Results suggest differences in subjective memory complaints, but no differences in objective neuropsychological test results between controls and pregnant/postpartum women who are primarily not diagnosed with depression.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
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    ABSTRACT: Preliminary research suggests neuropsychological deficits in youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) similar to those in adults; however, small samples and methodological confounds limit interpretation. We aimed to examine the rates and clinical correlates of cognitive sequelae in youth with OCD, focusing on executive functioning and memory abilities. Youth ages 7–17 years with OCD (N=96) completed a hypothesis-driven neuropsychological battery (including the Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure, California Verbal Learning Test, and subtests of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System and Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning) that primarily assessed executive functioning, memory and processing speed. Cognitive sequelae were identified in 65% of youth (37% using a more stringent definition of impairment). Magnitude of cognitive sequelae was not associated with OCD severity or age; however, greater neuropsychological impairments were found amongst youth prescribed atypical neuroleptics and those diagnosed with comorbid tic disorders. Comorbidity burden was associated with presence of neuropsychological impairment, but was not specific to any single tests. Findings suggest that the presence of cognitive sequelae is prevalent amongst treatment-seeking youth with OCD. Deficits were found in executive functioning and non-verbal memory performance but these impairments were not associated with OCD severity.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Research indicates that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have a reduced ability to utilize performance feedback to regulate their behavior; however, it is unclear to what degree alterations in the environmental context affect feedback processing and contribute to the symptoms of ASD. We utilized the observational FRN (oFRN), an event-related potential (ERP) component that putatively indexes feedback processing while observing feedback directed toward another person, to examine the influence of motivational and social demands on feedback processing in ASD. High-density electroencephalogram recordings were collected from 38 youth with ASD and 31 control participants similar on age and IQ while they observed a confederate performing a modified Eriksen Flanker task. Participants were instructed to count the confederate’s errors and were told they would be awarded based on performance: the confederate would either earn points for the participant or herself. Both groups showed robust oFRN activity on traditional scalp-electrode waveforms and waveforms identified using temporospatial principal components analysis. Amplitude of oFRN did not differentiate groups. Results remained non-significant when comparing medicated to non-medicated participants. There were no significant correlations between oFRN amplitudes, autism symptom severity, and anxiety symptoms. Findings suggest that the social context of the task and motivational significance of the confederate’s performance did not limit feedback processing in ASD. Future research in which the context is manipulated further is warranted to determine whether increased environmental complexity influences feedback processing in ASD.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
  • Michael J. Larson · Peter E. Clayson · Ann Clawson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive control theory suggests that 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. õOverall, 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 that 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.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014
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    Patrick R. Steffen · Michael J. Larson
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    ABSTRACT: Mindfulness meditation is increasingly used in health interventions and may reduce stress and blood pressure. We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of brief mindfulness meditation in reducing cardiovascular reactivity and recovery during a laboratory stressor. We randomly assigned 62 meditation-naïve participants to a mindfulness meditation group or a matched non-mindful listening exercise control group. There were no differences between groups in blood pressure, demographic, or mood variables at baseline. Mindfulness participants showed lower systolic blood pressure following the mindfulness exercise and decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure reactivity during a speeded math stressor. Specifically, as the stressor progressed, blood pressure in the mindfulness group began to decrease, whereas in the control group, it continued to increase. There were no group differences during recovery. Overall, brief mindfulness meditation reduced cardiovascular reactivity to stress and may be an effective intervention for reducing stress-related blood pressure reactivity.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Mindfulness

Publication Stats

2k Citations
258.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008-2015
    • Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus
      • Department of Psychology
      Provo, Utah, United States
  • 2014
    • Redeemer University College
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2013
    • Brigham Young University - Hawaii
      • Department of Psychology
      Kahuku, Hawaii, United States
  • 2011
    • University of Utah
      Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
  • 2003-2008
    • University of Florida
      • Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
      Gainesville, Florida, United States