Frontolimbic activity in a frustrating task: Covariation between patterns of coping and individual differences in externalizing and internalizing symptoms

Ida Moadab, Tara Gilbert, Thomas J. Dishion, Don M. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many problem behaviors in youth have been attributed to maladaptive self-regulation in response to frustration. Frontolimbic networks that promote flexible as well as over- and undercontrolled regulation could provide evidence linking cortical mechanisms of self-regulation to the development of internalizing or externalizing symptomology. Specifically, ineffective dorsally mediated inhibitory control may be associated with rule-breaking and substance use behaviors, whereas overengagement of ventral limbic systems responsible for self-monitoring of errors may increase risk of developing anxious and depressed symptomology. In this study, a sample of 9- to 13-year-old children were presented with an emotional go/no-go task. Event-related potentials were used to identify differences in cortical mechanisms related to inhibitory control (indexed with the stimulus-locked medial frontal negativity) and self-monitoring (indexed with the error-related negativity). These measurements were then related to externalizing and internalizing behaviors. As predicted, externalizing problems were associated with smaller medial frontal negativity amplitudes, which indicate undercontrolled self-regulation and poor dorsal mediation of actions. Internalizing symptoms were related to larger error-related negativity amplitudes, demonstrating overregulation and overengagement of ventral limbic systems. These findings suggest that the use of event-related potential methodology with paradigms that elicit cognition-emotion can provide insight into the neural mechanisms of regulatory deficits that result in problem behaviors in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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