Publication

Share 0
Like 0

Frontal EEG/ERP correlates of attentional processes, cortisol and motivational states in adolescents from lower and higher socioeconomic status

  • Amedeo D’Angiulli, Patricia Van Roon, Joanne Weinberg, Tim F. Oberlander, Ruth E. Grunau, Clyde Hertzman, Stefania Maggi

Event-related potentials (ERPs) and other electroencephalographic (EEG) evidence show that<br />32 frontal brain areas of higher and lower socioeconomic status (SES) children are recruited<br />33 differently during selective attention tasks. We assessed whether multiple variables related to<br />34 self-regulation (perceived mental effort) emotional states (e.g., anxiety, stress, etc.) and<br />35 motivational states (e.g., boredom, engagement, etc.) may co-occur or interact with frontal<br />36 attentional processing probed in two matched-samples of fourteen lower-SES and higher-SES<br />37 adolescents. ERP and EEG activation were measured during a task probing selective attention to<br />38 sequences of tones. Pre- and post-task salivary cortisol and self-reported emotional states were<br />39 also measured. At similar performance level, the higher-SES group showed a greater ERP<br />40 differentiation between attended (relevant) and unattended (irrelevant) tones than the lower-SES<br />41 group. EEG power analysis revealed a cross-over interaction, specifically, lower-SES<br />42 adolescents showed significantly higher theta power when ignoring rather than attending to<br />43 tones, whereas, higher-SES adolescents showed the opposite pattern. Significant theta<br />44 asymmetry differences were also found at midfrontal electrodes indicating left hypo-activity in<br />45 lower-SES adolescents. The attended vs. unattended difference in right midfrontal theta<br />46 increased with individual SES rank, and (independently from SES) with lower cortisol task<br />47 reactivity and higher boredom. Results suggest lower-SES children used additional<br />48 compensatory resources to monitor/control response inhibition to distracters, perceiving also<br />49 more mental effort, as compared to higher-SES counterparts. Nevertheless, stress, boredom and<br />50 other task-related perceived states were unrelated to SES. Ruling out presumed confounds, this<br />51 study confirms the midfrontal mechanisms responsible for the SES effects on selective attention<br />52 reported previously and here reflect genuine cognitive differences.

Keywords: Socioeconomic status, event-related potentials (ERPs), EEG power, EEG 58 asymmetry, auditory selective attention, salivary cortisol and executive control and self-regulation.

Publication type: Original Research

Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2012; XX(XX):XX.

Share 0
Like 0

© 2007 - 2014 Frontiers Media S.A. All Rights Reserved