Poster B1, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Cardiac Measures of Autonomic Arousal are Associated with ERP Measures of Selective Attention in Children and Adults
Ryan Giuliano1, Christina Karns1, Theodore Bell1, Leslie Roos1, Seth Petersen1, Elizabeth Skowron1, Helen Neville1, Eric Pakulak1; 1University of Oregon
Neurovisceral integration theory stipulates that higher-order functions of the brain, in particular those indexing networks involving the prefrontal cortex, are intricately linked to the regulation of autonomic physiology. However, few studies include simultaneous neural and autonomic measures. To this end, we recruited young children and adults for a laboratory visit where we recorded cardiovascular measures of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system activity, respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and pre-ejection period (PEP) respectively, during an ERP dichotic listening measure of auditory selective attention. During the dichotic listening task, participants were simultaneously presented with two narrators reading different stories from speakers to their left and right, and ERPs were examined as mean amplitudes evoked by auditory stimuli embedded in stories they were asked to attend versus stories they were asked to ignore. Results demonstrated that for both children and adults, cardiac arousal was associated with better indices of selective attention. Among children, ERP amplitudes elicited by distracting stimuli were inversely associated with arousal, such that children with the smallest ERP response to distractor sounds also had the shortest resting PEP (i.e., higher sympathetic activity) and showed the greatest RSA withdrawal from rest to the task (i.e., parasympathetic deactivation). Among adults, ERP amplitudes elicited by to-be-attended sounds were associated with the degree of PEP shortening from rest (i.e., sympathetic activation). Overall these results suggest that greater cardiac arousal is associated with more efficient neural indices of selective attention, with higher arousal associated with more narrow attentional focus.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Auditory