Discrepant target detection and action monitoring in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Sönke Johannes*, Bernardina M. Wieringa, Wido Nager, Dominik Rada, Reinhard Dengler, Hinderk M. Emrich, Thomas F. Münte, Detlef E. Dietrich

*Corresponding author for this work
138 Citations (Scopus)


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been related to altered mechanisms of action monitoring and target detection, and it has been hypothesized that hyperactive striatal-cortical circuits constitute the underlying pathophysiology. This study used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to explore this hypothesis. A choice reaction time experiment was carried out in a group of OCD patients and a normal comparison group. The P3b component of the ERP to targets was taken as an indicator of the target-evaluation process and the response-locked error-related negativity (ERN) served as an indicator of action monitoring. We hypothesized that the OCD group would show a shortened P3b latency and an amplitude-enhanced ERN. Consistent with our expectations, the P3b latency was shorter and the ERN amplitude was higher in the OCD group. Unexpectedly, we also observed a prolonged ERN latency in the OCD group and a more posterior topography of this component. The data provide partial support for the hypothesis of a hyperactive neural network in OCD. In addition the disorder must involve pathophysiological processes that are presumably related to other aspects of its complex and heterogeneous clinical hallmarks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 30.11.2001

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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