Alpha suppression following performance errors is correlated with depression, affect, and coping behaviors


This study tested the hypothesis that enhanced neural arousal in response to performance errors would predict poor affect and coping behaviors in everyday life. Participants were preselected as either low-depressed (LD) or high-depressed (HD) based on a screening questionnaire, and they then completed a laboratory Stroop task while EEG was recorded, followed by a 2-week period of daily reports of affect and coping behaviors. The EEG measure of arousal response to errors was the degree of error-related alpha suppression (ERAS) in the intertrial interval, that is the reduction in alpha power following errors compared with correct responses. ERAS was relatively heightened at frontal sites for the HD versus the LD group, and frontal ERAS predicted lower positive affect, higher negative affect, and less adaptive coping behaviors in the daily reports. Together, the results imply that heightened arousal following mistakes is associated with suboptimal emotion and coping with stressors.


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