Poster E39, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Markers of Early Adversity Associated with Reduced Error-Related Negativity in Early Childhood
Oliver Medak1, Ryan J. Giuliano1, Leslie E. Roos1, Kathryn G. Beauchamp1, Elliot T. Berkman1, Philip A. Fisher1; 1University of Oregon
Adverse experiences early in life have been associated with deficits in self-regulation and underlying brain functions. The present study examined the relationship between early adversity and neural indices of error monitoring during a self-regulation task. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in young children (N=74) during a Go/No-go task, where children were shown pictures of animals and asked to push a button when they saw a picture if the animal was not a standard image of a chimpanzee. Analyses focused on response-locked ERPs for correct go trials and incorrect no-go trials in order to isolate the Error-Related Negativity (ERN). Cumulative exposure to adversity was calculated for each child based on measures of socioeconomic status, household chaos, and stressful life events. We also examined mothers’ reports of their own traumatic life experiences (ACES). Results demonstrated a negative relationship between ERN amplitudes and early adversity, such that children who experienced higher levels of early adversity showed smaller ERNs. Visual inspection of ERPs suggests that this effect is carried by the presence of large ERNs in children who have experienced little adversity. A parallel relationship was observed for maternal trauma: children of mothers who self-reported more experiences of trauma showed a markedly-reduced ERN. These findings suggest that the development of neural mechanisms underlying error-monitoring are sensitive to adverse experiences early in life. More specifically, the presence of both static adverse life events and perpetual pressures of adversity support an inhibited neurocognitive reaction to error.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control