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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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110. NEURAL RESPONSE TO ERRORS PREDICTS REAL-WORLD DAILY DISTRESS DURING PERIODS OF ACADEMIC STRESS IN EMERGING ADULTS

The error-related negativity (ERN), an event-related potential component that measures neural response to error commission, has been shown to prospectively predict the onset of anxiety disorders. The ERN may contribute to pathological anxiety by rendering people more susceptible to the adverse effects of life stress. The present study measured the ERN in 55 undergraduate students at the beginning of the academic year, followed by an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) paradigm to investigate whether ERN magnitude interacts with daily academic stress to predict distress. Participants completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (9 times throughout the day), as well as questions about daily academic events, for a period of ten days. On days when participants did not report adverse academic events, the ERN did not predict daily negative affect. But on days when participants experienced a stressful academic event (e.g., performing poorly on an exam), individuals with a larger ERN reported feeling more upset relative to those with a smaller ERN. These results indicate that individuals with an enhanced neural response to errors may be more reactive to negative evaluative events, pointing to a potential pathway through which the ERN may increase risk of anxiety disorders.

Iulia Banica
McGill University

Aislinn Sandre
McGill University

Anna Weinberg
McGill University

 


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