Investigating the EEG Error- Related Negativity in College Students with ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression

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Error- related Negativity (ERN) is an event- related potential elicited by the commission of errors. It appears as a negative deflection peaking between 50ms and 100ms after an erroneous response. Previous literature demonstrated that individuals who suffer from either anxiety or depression display a higher ERN amplitude compared to a control group. It has also been shown that people with ADHD display a lower ERN amplitude. Based on these findings, we investigated the relationships between these three disorders and their effects on the amplitude of the ERN. We recruited thirty- one students at East Tennessee State University and gathered data on their level of anxiety, depression, and ADHD through completion of three surveys: the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and the ADHD self- report scale. Subsequently, participants were asked to perform a modified Flanker task while their EEG was collected using a 32- channel EEG cap. ERN amplitude for error responses was significantly higher than ERN amplitude for correct responses. In contrast with previous literature, no significant influence on the ERN due to anxiety, depression, and ADHD was found. Additional research on the topic with larger sample size and different diagnostic procedures may be necessary to further investigate the phenomenon.


Washington, D.C.

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