Executive control in obsessive-compulsive disorder: event-related potentials in a Go/Nogo task

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2007;114(12):1595-601. doi: 10.1007/s00702-007-0779-4. Epub 2007 Jul 5.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been related to a hyperactive cortico-striatal-pallidal-thalamic circuitry resulting clinically in an impaired inhibition of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. We examined thirteen patients with OCD and thirteen age-, sex-, and education matched healthy controls using event-related potentials (ERPs). Participants performed a hybrid flanker-Go/Nogo task while multichannel EEG was recorded. Our study focused on two ERP components: the Nogo-N2 and the Nogo-P3, which have been discussed in the context of response inhibition and response conflict. Artifact-free EEG-segments were used to compute ERPs on correct Go trials (button press) and correct Nogo trials (no button press), separately. Patients with OCD showed enhanced (more negative) Nogo-N2 amplitudes than controls, and a significant difference in amplitudes between Nogo-N2 and Go-N2 trials (more negative for Nogo trials) at central midline electrode positions. However, groups did not differ with regard to the Nogo-P3 and Go-P3. The present study replicates and extends previous findings of altered executive control processes in OCD patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology