Monoaminergic modulation of behavioural and electrophysiological indices of error processing

Barnes, Jessica J. M., O'Connell, Redmond G., Nandam, L. Sanjay, Dean, Angela J. and Bellgrove, Mark A. (2013) Monoaminergic modulation of behavioural and electrophysiological indices of error processing. Psychopharmacology, 231 2: 379-392. doi:10.1007/s00213-013-3246-y

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Author Barnes, Jessica J. M.
O'Connell, Redmond G.
Nandam, L. Sanjay
Dean, Angela J.
Bellgrove, Mark A.
Title Monoaminergic modulation of behavioural and electrophysiological indices of error processing
Journal name Psychopharmacology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0033-3158
Publication date 2013-08-31
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00213-013-3246-y
Open Access Status
Volume 231
Issue 2
Start page 379
End page 392
Total pages 14
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Rationale Error processing is a critical executive function that is impaired in a large number of clinical populations. Although the neural underpinnings of this function have been investigated for decades and critical error-related components in the human electroencephalogram (EEG), such as the error-related negativity (ERN) and the error positivity (Pe), have been characterised, our understanding of the relative contributions of key neurotransmitters to the generation of these components remains limited.

Objectives The current study sought to determine the effects of pharmacological manipulation of the dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin neurotransmitter systems on key behavioural and event-related potential correlates of error processing.

Methods A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover design was employed. Monoamine levels were manipulated using the clinically relevant drugs methylphenidate, atomoxetine and citalopram, in comparison to placebo. Under each of the four drug conditions, participants underwent EEG recording while performing a flanker task.

Results Only methylphenidate produced significant improvement in performance accuracy, which was without concomitant slowing of reaction time. Methylphenidate also increased the amplitude of an early electrophysiological index of error processing, the ERN. Citalopram increased the amplitude of the correct-response negativity, another component associated with response processing.

Conclusions The effects of methylphenidate in this study are consistent with theoretical accounts positing catecholamine modulation of error monitoring. Our data suggest that enhancing catecholamine function has the potential to remediate the error-monitoring deficits that are seen in a wide range of psychiatric conditions.
Keyword Atomoxetine
Error positivity
Error processing
Error-related negativity
Performance monitoring
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 31 August 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 02 Oct 2013, 09:40:42 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute