Category: Transdiagnostic

Symposium

Error-Related Negativity May Differentiate Risk for Depression Versus Anxiety Across Development

Saturday, November 18
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom B, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Neuroscience | Child Anxiety | Depression
Presentation Type: Symposium

Anxiety and depression often follow developmental trajectories beginning early in life that persist across the lifespan, resulting in chronic impairment.  However, surprisingly little is known about the underlying neural and psychophysiological changes associated with the onset and course of these disorders. Furthermore, identifying neural markers that differentiate these trajectories has proven difficult. The error-related negativity (ERN) is a negative deflection in the event-related potential (ERP) waveform that occurs when someone makes a mistake in speeded reaction time tasks and has been found to be increased in anxious individuals in over 40 studies to date. Therefore, the ERN has been proposed as a potential neural marker of anxiety. 


The current presentation will focus on data from community samples suggesting that the ERN can predict the onset of anxiety disorders, as well as differentiate anxious versus depressive trajectories across development. We will discuss two large, longitudinal investigations that suggest that an increased ERN predicts the onset of anxiety disorders, both in young children and adolescents. Additionally, we will present data in a large sample of adolescents, suggesting that anxiety symptoms relate to a larger ERN and depression symptoms relate to a smaller ERN. Furthermore, children with a maternal history of chronic depression are characterized by a decreased ERN. Together, these results suggest that the magnitude of the ERN may index risk for anxiety and depression in opposing directions, and thereby may be useful in distinguishing these developmental trajectories.

Alexandria Meyer

Assistant Professor
Florida State University

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