ERP components associated with an indirect emotional stop signal task in healthy and depressed participants



Publication Details

Camfield, D., Burton, T., De Blasio, F., Barry, R. & Croft, R. (2018). ERP components associated with an indirect emotional stop signal task in healthy and depressed participants. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 124 12-25.


2017 Elsevier B.V. Recent research has provided evidence to suggest that emotional stimuli may interfere with response inhibition, due to automatic capture of attention. Whilst previous studies have provided data regarding changes to event-related potentials (ERPs) in emotional Go/NoGo tasks, few studies to-date have utilized an emotional stop signal task (SST). Thirty-five participants were included in the study; 21 healthy controls and 14 depressed. An indirect emotional SST was employed, which consisted of the presentation of neutral, negative or positive visual images. The primary two-choice reaction time task required responding to frame colour (blue or green), whilst in 33% of trials an auditory stop signal was presented, with stop signal delay adjusted according to an adaptive tracking procedure. ERPs associated with both the primary visual task and the auditory SST were analysed using temporal principle components analysis (tPCA). In the primary task, reaction times were found to be slower for negative compared to neutral images. Stop signal reaction time (SSRT) was not found to be affected by image category or depression status. However, the NoGo-N2 component was found to be reduced for positive images, whilst the NoGo-P3 component was reduced for both positive and negative images in comparison to neutral images in the stop signal task. This effect was found to be enhanced for the depressed participants, indicating that inhibitory processing in the presence of positive stimuli may be inhibited to a greater extent in depressed individuals than in healthy controls. These findings provide further evidence for the ability of emotional valence and major depressive disorder to influence inhibitory processing.

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