Neural and behavioral measures of error-related cognitive control predict daily coping with stress

Emotion. 2011 Apr;11(2):379-390. doi: 10.1037/a0021776.


This study tested the hypothesis that individual differences in cognitive control can predict individual differences in emotion regulation. Participants completed color-word and emotional Stroop tasks while an electroencephalogram was recorded, and then they reported daily stressful events, affect, and coping for 14 days. Greater posterror slowing in the emotional Stroop task predicted greater negative affect in response to stressors and less use of task-focused coping as daily stressors increased. Participants whose neural activity best distinguished errors from correct responses tended to show less stress reactivity in daily self-reports. Finally, depression levels predicted daily affect and coping independent of cognitive control variables. The results offer qualified support for an integrated conception of cognitive and emotional self-regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological* / physiology
  • Affect / physiology
  • Cognition* / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrooculography
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Reaction Time
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stroop Test