The relationship between measures of executive cognitive function and P3 amplitude and latency in the auditory perseveration task.
This study examined the relationship between measures of executive cognitive function (ECF) and P3 amplitude and latency elicited by Dr. Lance Bauer’s Auditory Perseveration (AP) Task. Participants were 66 adults (12 men, 54 women) who were undergraduate students at Baylor University. Participants completed the study in two sessions: (1) a 2.5 hour researcher-administered interview to collect demographic, psychological and executive cognitive functioning data and (2) a 1.5 hour EEG session completed within seven days of the interview. The purpose of the current study was to clarify if the P3 elicited by the AP task should be used as an indicator of general impulsivity, or if it is actually a more finely-tuned neurophysiological indicator of deficits in specific executive function abilities. Employing topographical analysis, the study examined whether the P3 ERP elicited by the AP task was a more frontal P3a or a more parietal P3b ERP. The most significant finding of the study was that the AP task elicited a fronto-central P3a ERP. Significant correlations suggested that that more attenuated P3a amplitude was correlated with ECF measures indicative of perseveration caused by problems with the allocation of attentional resources. Longer P3a latency was correlated with ECF scores indicating errors of omission (or failing to respond). Shorter P3a latency was correlated with ECF scores indicative of perseverative response patterns. The main findings from this study reaffirm the usefulness of the P3a as a marker for deficits of executive cognitive function.