Individual differences in error monitoring in healthy adults: psychological symptoms and antisocial personality characteristics

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Recent studies have investigated the relationship between psychological symptoms and personality traits and error monitoring measured by error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe) event-related potential (ERP) components, yet there remains a paucity of studies examining the collective simultaneous effects of psychological symptoms and personality traits on error monitoring. This present study, therefore, examined whether measures of hyperactivity–impulsivity, depression, anxiety and antisocial personality characteristics could collectively account for significant interindividual variability of both ERN and Pe amplitudes, in 29 healthy adults with no known disorders, ages 18–30 years. The bivariate zero-order correlation analyses found that only the anxiety measure was significantly related to both ERN and Pe amplitudes. However, multiple regression analyses that included all four characteristic measures while controlling for number of segments in the ERP average revealed that both depression and antisocial personality characteristics were significant predictors for the ERN amplitudes whereas antisocial personality was the only significant predictor for the Pe amplitude. These findings suggest that psychological symptoms and personality traits are associated with individual variations in error monitoring in healthy adults, and future studies should consider these variables when comparing group difference in error monitoring between adults with and without disabilities.


© 2010 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2010 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd

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European Journal of Neuroscience