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Publication - Social context modulates cognitive markers in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Publication - Social context modulates cognitive markers in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

SAP Scientists in collaboration with Scientists in the Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute-IDIBELL have just published: 
Social context modulates cognitive markers in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, 
Hernando Santamaría-García, Carles Soriano-Mas, Miguel Burgaleta, Alba Ayneto, Pino Alonso, José M. Menchón, Narcis Cardoner & Nuria Sebastián-Gallés
Pages 1-15 | Received 21 Jun 2016, Accepted author version posted online: 26 Jul 2017, Published online: 03 Aug 2017
Error monitoring, cognitive control and motor inhibition control are proposed as cognitive alterations disrupted in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD has also been associated with an increased sensitivity to social evaluations. The effect of a social simulation over electrophysiological indices of cognitive alterations in OCD was examined. A case-control cross-sectional study measuring event-related potentials (ERP) for error monitoring (Error-Related Negativity), cognitive control (N2) and motor control (LRP) was conducted. We analyzed twenty OCD patients and twenty control participants. ERP were recorded during a social game consisting of a visual discrimination task, which was performed in the presence of a simulated superior or an inferior player. Significant social effects (different ERP amplitudes in Superior vs. Inferior player conditions) were found for OCD patients, but not for controls, in all ERP components. Performing the task against a simulated inferior player reduced abnormal ERP responses in OCD to levels observed in controls. The hierarchy-induced ERP effects were accompanied effects over reaction times in OCD patients. Social context modulates signatures of abnormal cognitive functioning in OCD, therefore experiencing a social superiority position impacts over cognitive processes in OCD such as error monitoring mechanisms. These results open the door for the research of new therapeutic choices.

KEYWORDS: Social hierarchy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, evoked potentials, error monitoring process, cognitive control, motor control