Increases in theta CSD power and coherence during a calibrated stop signal task: implications for goal conflict processing and the Behavioural Inhibition System

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Abstract

Psychologists have identified multiple different forms of conflict, such as information processing conflict and goal conflict. As such, there is a need to examine the similarities and differences in neurology between each form of conflict. To address this, we conducted a comprehensive electroencephalogram (EEG) analysis of Shadli, Glue, McIntosh, and McNaughton’s calibrated stop-signal task (SST) goal-conflict task. Specifically, we examined changes in scalp-wide current source density (CSD) power and coherence across a wide range of frequency bands during the calibrated SST (n = 34). We assessed differences in EEG between the high and low goal-conflict conditions using hierarchical analyses of variance (ANOVAs). We also related goal-conflict EEG to trait anxiety, neuroticism, Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS)-anxiety and revised BIS (rBIS) using regression analyses. We found that changes in CSD power during goal conflict were limited to increased midfrontocentral theta. Conversely, coherence increased across 23 scalp-wide theta region pairs and one frontal delta region pair. Finally, scalp-wide theta significantly predicted trait neuroticism but not trait anxiety, BIS-anxiety or rBIS. We conclude that goal conflict involves increased midfrontocentral CSD theta power and scalp-wide theta-dominated coherence. Therefore, compared with information processing conflict, goal conflict displays a similar EEG power profile of midfrontocentral theta but a much wider coherence profile. Furthermore, the increases in theta during goal conflict are the characteristic of BIS-driven activity. Therefore, future research should confirm whether these goal-conflict effects are driven by the BIS by examining whether the effects are attenuated by anxiolytic drugs. Overall, we have identified a unique network of goal-conflict EEG during the calibrated SST.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality Neuroscience
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • conflict
  • BIS
  • theta
  • coherence
  • neuroticism

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