Resting state EEG delta-beta coherence in relation to anxiety, behavioral inhibition, and selective attentional processing of threatening stimuli

Int J Psychophysiol. 2011 Apr;80(1):63-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2011.01.011. Epub 2011 Jan 25.


Variability in human resting state electroencephalography (EEG) may reflect emotion regulation processes (for a review, see Knyazev, 2007). For instance, it has been suggested that correlation between slow (1-3 Hz) and fast (13-30 Hz) activity (or δ-β coherence) may reflect functional synchronization between limbic and cortical brain systems. Indirect support comes from several studies reporting relationships between δ-β coherence and subjectively reported behavioral inhibition and state anxiety. The present study sought to extend this work and tested the prediction that objectively, experimentally, measured threat-selective attention should also be related to δ-β coherence. EEG frequency band power and dot probe task performance were assessed in forty healthy women and results demonstrated a negative association between delta-beta coherence and automatic, anxiety-driven attentional avoidance of threatening pictorial stimuli. These first reported objective measures for cognitive-emotional behavior obtained in relation to delta-beta coherence provide additional support for the hypothesis that this EEG parameter may reflect emotion regulation processes and supports suggestions that δ-β coherence may be a useful tool in the experimental study of affect and psychopathology. In addition, results showed an unexpected negative association between δ-β coherence and self-reported trait anxiety (but no association with behavioral inhibition).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Beta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Delta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Rest / psychology
  • Young Adult