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Journal Article


Leicht G, Trosch├╝tz S, Andreou C, Karamatskos E, Ertl M, Naber D, Mulert C. PLoS One 2013; 8(12): e83414.


Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychiatry Neuroimaging Branch (PNB), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)






BACKGROUND: The processing of reward and punishment stimuli in humans appears to involve brain oscillatory activity of several frequencies, probably each with a distinct function. The exact nature of associations of these electrophysiological measures with impulsive or risk-seeking personality traits is not completely clear. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate event-related oscillatory activity during reward processing across a wide spectrum of frequencies, and its associations with impulsivity and sensation seeking in healthy subjects.

METHODS: During recording of a 32-channel EEG 22 healthy volunteers were characterized with the Barratt Impulsiveness and the Sensation Seeking Scale and performed a computerized two-choice gambling task comprising different feedback options with positive vs. negative valence (gain or loss) and high or low magnitude (5 vs. 25 points).

RESULTS: We observed greater increases of amplitudes of the feedback-related negativity and of activity in the theta, alpha and low-beta frequency range following loss feedback and, in contrast, greater increase of activity in the high-beta frequency range following gain feedback. Significant magnitude effects were observed for theta and delta oscillations, indicating greater amplitudes upon feedback concerning large stakes. The theta amplitude changes during loss were negatively correlated with motor impulsivity scores, whereas alpha and low-beta increase upon loss and high-beta increase upon gain were positively correlated with various dimensions of sensation seeking.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that the processing of feedback information involves several distinct processes, which are subserved by oscillations of different frequencies and are associated with different personality traits.

Language: en


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