Electrophysiological measurements of anterior cingulate function
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Based on recent findings from various areas of brain research the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) within the prefrontal cortex is increasingly considered as a brain region activated during tasks requiring conflict-monitoring and allocation of attention. In the present study with event-related potentials (ERPs) the question has been addressed, whether the NoGo-condition of the Continuous Performance Test is associated with enough conflict-monitoring and allocation of attention in order to activate the ACC in healthy controls. Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA), a new three-dimensional source localization method, revealed significantly increased brain electrical activity during the NoGo-ERP as compared to the Go-ERP with its maximum located exactly within the ACC in four independent samples of healthy subjects. These results relate the conflict-monitoring requirements associated with inhibition of a prepared motor response (NoGo-condition) to a powerful brain electrical ACC-activity. This non-invasive, easy to perform and inexpensive electrophysiological measurement, therefore, provides a new method for the assessment of ACC-function in healthy subjects.
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