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Cognitive Control Under Contingencies in Anxious and Depressed Adolescents: An Antisaccade Task

  • Sandra Jazbec
    Affiliations
    Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Erin McClure
    Affiliations
    Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Michael Hardin
    Affiliations
    Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Daniel S. Pine
    Affiliations
    Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Monique Ernst
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Monique Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, NIMH/NIH/HHS, 15K North Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892
    Affiliations
    Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    Search for articles by this author

      Background

      Emotion-related perturbations in cognitive control characterize adult mood and anxiety disorders. Fewer data are available to confirm such deficits in youth. Studies of cognitive control and error processing can provide an ideal template to examine these perturbations. Antisaccade paradigms are particularly well suited for this endeavor because they provide exquisite behavioral measures of modulation of response errors.

      Methods

      A new monetary reward antisaccade task was used with 28 healthy, 11 anxious, and 12 depressed adolescents. Performance accuracy, saccade latency, and peak velocity of incorrect responses were analyzed.

      Results

      Performance accuracy across all groups was improved by incentives (obtain reward, avoid punishment). However, modulation of saccade errors by incentives differed by groups. In incentive trials relative to neutral trials, inhibitory efficiency (saccade latency) was enhanced in healthy, unaffected in depressed, and diminished in anxious adolescents. Modulation of errant actions (saccade peak velocity) was improved in the healthy group and unchanged in both the anxious and depressed groups.

      Conclusions

      These findings provide grounds for testing hypotheses related to the impact of motivation deficits and emotional interference on directed action in adolescents with mood and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, neural mechanisms can now be examined by using this task paired with functional neuroimaging.

      Key Words

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