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Cortical and autonomic modulation of attentional control /

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dc.contributor.author Capuana, Lesley. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-05-21T14:02:39Z
dc.date.available 2009-05-21T14:02:39Z
dc.date.issued 2008-05-21T14:02:39Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10464/1427
dc.description.abstract Whereas the role of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in cognitive control has received considerable attention, much less work has been done on the role of the ACC in autonomic regulation. Its connections through the vagus nerve to the sinoatrial node of the heart are thought to exert modulatory control over cardiovascular arousal. Therefore, ACC is not only responsible for the implementation of cognitive control, but also for the dynamic regulation of cardiovascular activity that characterizes healthy heart rate and adaptive behaviour. However, cognitive control and autonomic regulation are rarely examined together. Moreover, those studies that have examined the role of phasic vagal cardiac control in conjunction with cognitive performance have produced mixed results, finding relations for specific age groups and types of tasks but not consistently. So, while autonomic regulatory control appears to support effective cognitive performance under some conditions, it is not presently clear just what factors contribute to these relations. The goal of the present study was, therefore, to examine the relations between autonomic arousal, neural responsivity, and cognitive performance in the context of a task that required ACC support. Participants completed a primary inhibitory control task with a working memory load embedded. Pre-test cardiovascular measures were obtained, and ontask ERPs associated with response control (N2/P3) and error-related processes (ERN/Pe) were analyzed. Results indicated that response inhibition was unrelated to phasic vagal cardiac control, as indexed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). However, higher resting RSA was associated with larger ERN ampUtude for the highest working memory load condition. This finding suggests that those individuals with greater autonomic regulatory control exhibited more robust ACC error-related responses on the most challenging task condition. On the other hand, exploratory analyses with rate pressure product (RPP), a measure of sympathetic arousal, indicated that higher pre-test RPP (i.e., more sympathetic influence) was associated with more errors on "catch" NoGo trials, i.e., NoGo trials that simultaneously followed other NoGo trials, and consequently, reqviired enhanced response control. Higher pre-test RPP was also associated with smaller amplitude ERNs for all three working memory loads and smaller ampUtude P3s for the low and medium working memory load conditions. Thus, higher pretest sympathetic arousal was associated with poorer performance on more demanding "catch" NoGo trials and less robust ACC-related electrocortical responses. The findings firom the present study highlight tiie interdependence of electrocortical and cardiovascular processes. While higher pre-test parasympathetic control seemed to relate to more robust ACC error-related responses, higher pre-test sympathetic arousal resulted in poorer inhibitory control performance and smaller ACC-generated electrocortical responses. Furthermore, these results provide a base from which to explore the relation between ACC and neuro/cardiac responses in older adults who may display greater variance due to the vulnerabihty of these systems to the normal aging process. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Brock University en_US
dc.subject Neuropsychology. en_US
dc.subject Autonomic nervous system. en_US
dc.title Cortical and autonomic modulation of attentional control / en_US
dc.type Electronic Thesis or Dissertation en_US
dc.degree.name M.A. Psychology en_US
dc.degree.level Masters en_US
dc.contributor.department Department of Psychology en_US


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