EEG Asymmetry and ERN: Behavioral Outcomes in Preschoolers

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Research has documented reciprocal influences between approach-related and inhibition-related neural activity in adults. However, associations between neural systems of approach and inhibition have not been tested in children. It is thus unclear whether these links are present early in life and whether associations between neural systems of approach and inhibition have long-term behavioral consequences. To address these gaps in the literature, we used electroencephalography (EEG) to examine associations between approach-related neural activity (i.e., hemispheric asymmetry) and inhibition-related neural activity (i.e., error-related negativity [ERN]) in preschool-aged children. Furthermore, we explored whether interactions between asymmetry and ERN predicted social inhibition, a precursor to anxiety problems, or symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) six months later. Similar to research on adults, greater left asymmetry (i.e., greater approach-related neural activity) was correlated with reduced ERN amplitude (i.e., weaker inhibition-related neural activity). The interactive effect of asymmetry and ERN amplitude did not predict ADHD symptoms, but did predict social inhibition. When ERN was greater, less left asymmetry was associated with higher levels of social inhibition. Results were most prominent at parietal EEG sites. Implications for understanding the development of the overlap in neural systems of approach and inhibition are discussed.




Begnoche, J. Patrick, Rebecca J. Brooker, and Matthew Vess. "EEG Asymmetry and ERN: Behavioral Outcomes in Preschoolers." PLoS One 11, no. 5 (May 2016): e0155713. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155713.
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