Associations Between Parental Psychopathology, Temperament, and Error-Related Brain Activity in Young Children
Torpey, Dana Catherine
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The error-related negativity (ERN) is an event-related brain potential that is believed to originate in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and is observed in adults and older children when errors are committed. Evidence is mixed regarding whether or not young children reliably demonstrate an ERN. A number of studies suggest that the amplitude of the ERN is modulated by individual differences, including psychopathology and temperament. The correct-response negativity (CRN) is also a negative-deflection that appears on correct trials and is similar to the ERN in terms of scalp topography and morphology. Less is known about its function and whether individual differences influence the amplitude of the CRN. The error positivity (Pe) is a large positive deflection that follows the ERN and appears to have a more posterior origin. Less is known about the function. The current study employed a Go/No-Go paradigm to characterize these response-monitoring ERP components in a community sample of 328 5- to 7- year-old children and confirmed that an ERN can be reliably elicited in a young population. Additionally, associations between these ERP components, parental psychopathology, and temperament were examined. Maternal history of an anxiety disorder was associated with a less negative ERN in the young offspring, as were child negative emotionality and child fear. These results may provide additional evidence of the existence of two overlapping neural mechanisms associated with response monitoring, one of which is localized in the rostral ACC, which is developed as early as 5. 7 years-old, and the other of which is localized is the dorsal ACC and is not yet developed in early childhood. Maternal history of depression was associated with a less negative CRN, suggesting decreased response monitoring in young children at-risk for depression. There were no associations between the CRN and child temperament, nor were there associations between the Pe and parental psychopathology or between the Pe and child temperament.