Poster C19, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Impaired proactive control under threat of shock
Tara Miskovich1, Kenneth Bennett1, Daniel Stout2,3, Christine Larson1; 11University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health, VA San Diego Healthcare System, 3Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego
According to the dual-mechanisms of control theory, proactive control is impaired in individuals with high anxiety, while reactive control is intact. We aim to extend this line of research to state anxiety by demonstrating differential recruitment of proactive control when under uncertain threat to delineate a potential mechanism of cognitive difficulties in anxiety disorders. We recorded event-related potentials on 31 undergraduates, while they performed the AX-CPT, alternating between threat of shock and safe conditions. The AX-CPT provides a measure of proactive control as trials rely on maintenance of goal-relevant information. While monitoring a series of letters, participants respond “yes” when they see an X (probe) only when it follows an A (cue). Proactive control is assessed on BX trials where the probe is followed by an invalid cue (B), requiring the need to override prepotent responses to the X. Here, we demonstrate that the late positive potential (LPP), a well-validated event-related potential associated with sustained attention and goal-maintenance, was attenuated when maintaining B, compared to A, cues (p = 0.046) in threat compared to safe conditions. Moreover, LPP amplitude for B cues predicted BX probe accuracy and reaction time, but only under threat of shock, indicating that increases in the LPP under threat may reflect successful sustained maintenance of important cue information to override prepotent responses. These findings provide a neural measure of proactive control under states of anxiety; providing a better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying impaired maintenance of goal-related information under in anxiety disorders.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions