“What if…?” An EEG-sLORETA Study Investigating Episodic Future Thinking in Subclinical Anxiety

Ardolino, Jolian (2019) “What if…?” An EEG-sLORETA Study Investigating Episodic Future Thinking in Subclinical Anxiety. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

The first EEG-sLORETA study to investigate the cognitive and neurophysiological differences between High (Subclinical) Anxiety participants and (Low Anxiety) Controls during Episodic Future Thinking (EFT) tasks. Anxiety disorders are characterised by a negative attentional bias towards future thoughts. Specifically, prospections are perceived as more threatening and personally impactful. Episodic Future Thinking (EFT) is the cognitive process that allows humans to think prospectively about events rich in personally significant and affective detail. Neurocognitive research has posited a neural network (Episodic Core Network) that is recruited during EFT. This study provides the first empirical evidence that regions of the Episodic Core Network are recruited differently between High Anxiety (Subclinical) and Low Anxiety (Control) groups. A quasi-experimental design was used; GAD-7 and PSWQ scores divided participants into groups. Participants (N = 16; 8 Male, 8 Female) completed a series of EFT tasks while electroencephalographic (EEG) data was obtained (N = 11; 4 Male, 7 Female) using a dense-array 128-sensor EEG net. Two time windows of interest were identified for EEG analyses – approximately correlating to event-related potentials (ERPs) P300 (275-325ms) and the Late Positive Component (LPC; 775-825ms). Mean amplitude at electrode sites of interest during both 50ms time windows was statistically analysed using ANOVA. Source estimation was then completed using sLORETA during both 50ms time windows. sLORETA results at P300 and LPC time windows were analysed using ANOVA. There was no statistically significant difference in participants’ ratings of episodic detail between High Anxiety and Low Anxiety groups for any EFT-Valence condition. The results indicate that High Anxiety participants demostrated significantly higher positive mean potential at Left Temporal and Left Posterior regions; and significantly negative mean potentials at Frontal regions 275-325ms after cue word onset (P300) during EFT tasks. High Anxiety participants demostrated significantly higher mean positive potential at Left Temporal and Left Posterior regions; and significantly negative mean potentials at Frontal, Occipital and Right Posterior regions 775-825ms after cue word onset (LPC) during EFT. Analyses of sLORETA results at P300 indicate that High Anxiety participants demonstrated significantly higher recruitment of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and medial temporal lobe (MTL) regions during EFT. Analysis of sLORETA results at LPC indicate that High Anxiety participants demonstrated significantly higher recruitment of PFC, mPFC, lateral temporal and MTL regions during EFT. Analyses of sLORETA results at LPC indicate that High Anxiety participants demonstrated significantly higher recruitment of the insular cortex and middle temporal gyrus (MTG) during negative EFT. In conclusion, High Anxiety participants generated negative prospections utilising more visuospatial, socioemotional, introspective and schematic information than Controls. This study provides the first set of neurophysiological correlates to anxiety’s prospective and anticipatory negative threat-bias and how this relates to EFT.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Baker, Stevensbaker1@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/academic-schools/natural-and-social-sciences/staff-profiles/pages/s2108819-steven-baker.aspx
Edgar, Grahamgedgar@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/academic-schools/natural-and-social-sciences/staff-profiles/pages/s2101501-graham-edgar.aspx
Uncontrolled Keywords: High (Subclinical) Anxiety; Episodic Future Thinking (EFT); Anticipatory negative threat-bias; EEG-sLORETA; Negative prospections
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry > RC346 Neurology. Diseases of the nervous system > RC435 Psychiatry
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2019 16:11
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2019 16:11
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/7136

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