Academic journal article Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience

Performance Monitoring in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Temporo-Spatial Principal Component Analysis

Academic journal article Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience

Performance Monitoring in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Temporo-Spatial Principal Component Analysis

Article excerpt

Published online: 28 January 2014

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Hyperactive performance monitoring is a robust finding in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Patients show increased amplitudes of the error-related negativity (ERN) and correct-related negativity (CRN). Recently, two temporo-spatial factors were shown to contribute to both ERPs in healthy individuals. In the present study, it was investigated whether the factor structure underlying ERN and CRN is similar in OCD and which factors differ between groups. A principal component analysis (PCA) was employed to investigate the temporo-spatial factor structure of ERN and CRN. Twenty-six OCD patients and 26 healthy controls conducted a flanker task. EEG data were analyzed as conventional ERP components and as factor scores derived from temporo-spatial PCA. ERP results showed expected increases in ERN and CRN amplitudes in OCD patients. For both groups, the PCA confirmed the assumed factor structure of a central and a fronto-parietal factor contributing to ERN and CRN. Factor scores of both factors were differently affected by response correctness in OCD. Alterations in factor scores indicate increased activity in both an outcome-independent monitoring process and an error-sensitive process, contributing to overactive performance monitoring in OCD.

Keywords OCD · Error-related negativity · Correct-related negativity · Performance monitoring · EEG · PCA


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a severe psychopathological condition characterized by symptoms of recurring intrusive thoughts or impulses (obsessions) and/or repetitive actions and rituals (compulsions) with various manifestations (DSM-IV, APA, 2000). Neurobiological models of OCD are based on findings from neuroimaging studies, indicating overactivity in fronto-striatal brain regions (Aouizerate et al., 2004; Menzies et al., 2008), altered connectivity patterns (Beucke et al., 2013), and structural abnormalities (Kuhn et al., 2013). Studies on performance monitoring in OCD have initially been driven by the assumption that OCD symptoms may result from dysfunctional comparisons between actual and intended actions, leading to exaggerated error signals and the feeling that something is "not just right" even in the absence of actual errors (Pitman, 1987). Performance monitoring can be investigated with event-related potentials (ERPs). Errors in reaction time tasks elicit a negative deflection in the ERP, referred to as the error negativity (Ne; Falkenstein, Hohnsbein, Hoormann, & Blanke, 1990) or error-related negativity (ERN; Gehring, Goss, Coles, Meyer, & Donchin, 1993). The ERN appears as a sharp negative deflection, reaching its maximum about 50- 100 ms after the onset of an erroneous response. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) or, more precisely, the posterior medial frontal cortex has been commonly suggested as the neural source of the ERN (Debener et al., 2005). Notably, some studies also have reported a similar component following correct responses, the correct-related negativity (CRN; Coles, Scheffers, & Holroyd, 2001; Ford, 1999; Vidal, Burle, Bonnet, Grapperon, & Hasbroucq, 2003; Vidal, Hasbroucq, Grapperon, & Bonnet, 2000). The CRN resembles the ERN with respect to time course but is characterized by a slightly different topography (Vocat, Pourtois, & Vuilleumier, 2008). Despite numerous studies, the relation of both components is still subject to debate, and it remains unclear whether these components reflect similar or different processes. It is mainly discussed whether both components reflect a common process that is differentially active after correct or incorrect responses (Falkenstein, Hoormann, Christ, & Hohnsbein, 2000; Hoffmann & Falkenstein, 2010; Roger, Benar, Vidal, Hasbroucq, & Burle, 2010; Vidal et al., 2000) or whether they reflect different processes (Yordanova, Falkenstein, Hohnsbein, & Kolev, 2004). …

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