Michael J Larson

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

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Publications (108)286.94 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The congruency effect in Stroop-like tasks (i.e., increased response time and reduced accuracy in incongruent relative to congruent trials) is often smaller when the previous trial was incongruent as compared to congruent. This congruency sequence effect (CSE) is thought to reflect cognitive control processes that shift attention to the target and/or modulate the response engendered by the distracter differently after incongruent relative to congruent trials. The neural signatures of CSEs are therefore usually attributed to cognitive control processes that minimize distraction from irrelevant stimuli. However, CSEs in previous functional neuroimaging studies were ubiquitously confounded with feature integration and/or contingency learning processes. We therefore investigated whether a neural CSE can be observed without such confounds in a group of healthy young adults (n = 56). To this end, we combined a prime-probe task that lacks such confounds with high-density ERPs to identify, for the first time, the neural time course of confound-minimized CSEs. Replicating recent behavioral findings, we observed strong CSEs in this task for mean response time and mean accuracy. Critically, conceptually replicating prior ERP results from confounded tasks, we also observed a CSE in both the parietal conflict slow potential (conflict SP) and the frontomedial N450. These findings indicate for the first time that neural CSEs as indexed by ERPs can be observed without the typical confounds. More broadly, the present study provides a confound-minimized protocol that will help future researchers to better isolate the neural bases of control processes that minimize distraction from irrelevant stimuli.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Psychophysiology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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
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    Michael J. Larson · Kaitlyn Whitcomb · Isaac J. Hunt · Daniel Bjornn
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Preview · Chapter · Jan 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE
  • Scott A. Baldwin · Michael J. Larson · Peter E. Clayson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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
  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
  • Ann Clawson · Peter E. Clayson · Michael J. Larson
    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
  • Peter E. Clayson · Michael J. Larson
    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
  • Kaylie A. Carbine · Tanja Endrass · Michael J. Larson
    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
  • Michael J. Larson · Peter E. Clayson · Scott A. Baldwin
    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014